The Latina Gurlesque vs. Everyone Else: A Preface to a Reading Against the White House of Enlightened Poets (this Friday in NYC!)
by Lucas de Lima on Jul.09, 2014
AMIGAS, get ready for the World Cup of all poetry readings! The throw-down featuring Jennifer Tamayo, Monica McClure, and me will be in NYC this Friday, 7:30pm, at the Bureau of General Services-Queer Division (details here).
Me and my superstar fellow readers, I must point out, are not battling each other as opponents. Far from it, we’re joining forces as the one and only LATINA GURLESQUE, a luminous, feminist, outrageous decolonial parade. Taking a SPICY, CALIENTE line of flight south of the original Gurlesque anthology, our aesthetic already throbs in contemporary performance art. Consider the mystic genitalia and unholy queer ‘spictacles’ of La Chica Boom:
Just as La Chica Boom creates “spectacles of degeneracy and power that are both against and engaged in the colonial gaze,” Colombian artist La Nadia Fulminante shows how the Latina Gurlesque’s racy and racializing dissidence is capable of targeting the neoliberal nation-state. Adding to our pile of foreign and immigrant debt, we Latinas say GRACIAS to gringos for training us in such necronationalist erotics:
La Fulminante’s anti-presidential speech in tongues raises a number of questions, demanding a pause in our theorization of the Latina Gurlesque. As Sandy Florian asks, can the Latina poet have access to a language of parody and spectacle? Or does she, like the thousands of Central American children currently being detained and refused at the border, not even exist?
The last question, especially, is one I’ve been pondering in light of recent commentary by poet-critics Stephen Burt and Kenneth Goldsmith. Readers of this blog will recall how, in his article “Nearly Baroque,” Burt sadly US-Americanizes the femme baroque by leaving out Latin American and Latin@ poets who write from a 500-year-old tradition (AY DIOSA, is that Sor Juana rolling around in her grave?). I’d say Goldsmith’s argument in “Displacement is the New Translation” is also guilty of provincialism. As Goldsmith feminizes translation in favor of a hypermasculine notion of displacement, he oversimplifies the diaspora experience as well as today’s market-driven erosion of borders/the planet at large. Of course, a clever twist masks this conceptualist provincialism. In using precisely the figure of a LATINA by making an example of the poet Mónica de la Torre, Goldsmith champions her exposure of just the hypocritical multiculturalism that his article itself ends up deploying…
OK OK, MIS AMORES, I’d love to go on but you’ll have to come to the reading for the rest!