Author Archive

Calling all contammo-fiends & beauty brats! TYTTI HEIKKINEN is in the house!

by on Jan.14, 2014

Johannes Göransson is in the cryer this morning because not enough ppl are reading Tytti Heikkinen’s THE WARMTH OF THE TAXIDERMIED ANIMAL + + + + + How can this be, ppl??? I SLEEP DROOLING ALL OVER THIS BOOK, WHICH I NIGHTLY CRAM IN MY MOUTH. + + + + + These wild, search engine-based poems make Flarf look sooooo totally last decade.

Because I feel morose when Johannes weeps and because I think Tytti Heikkinen is the best thing since radioactive fat lozenges, I’m putting up a sampler of her poems here.

All translations by the amazing NIINA POLLARI! You can buy the book here.

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ON PAR WITH WHALES

Fuck i’m a fatty when others are skinny.
Also Im short, am I a fatty or short? Wellyeah
I’m such a grosss fatty that it makes no sens…
My Woundedness has let the situation get
this way tht the fat squeezes out etc. Now I’m
putting distance btwn me and everything, because I’ve been so
disappointed in my self, cause from the word “greedy”
I think of a greedy fatty and then I get mad. Panic
rises in my chest, a tremor. Everything is so terrible
, outside its wet and icy , It’s cold when I
lay here and im an undisciplined fatty. Continue reading “Calling all contammo-fiends & beauty brats! TYTTI HEIKKINEN is in the house!” »

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DONALD DUNBAR reviews POP CORPSE! for OCTOPUS

by on Jan.11, 2014

Pop Corpse

“Much has been written of Glenum’s poetics’ politics. Essentially, they’re radical. ‘Feminine’ identity is corrupted. Nostalgia stapled to the mass graves. Tastefulness surviving with Shepard Fairey’s ‘HOPE’ poster as a human centipede. The pastoral bukkake-d. Not nearly enough has been written about Glenum’s poetic innovations, partly because they are, like any innovation, difficult, and partly because it’s so fun to riff on such an “avantcore” language space…

This is the mark of a Shenzen-manufactured, third-party-licensed, private-equity-firm-owned piece of future trash…

They are not novelties, or shocks, or experiments. They are of an originality that is less a call to imitation, and more a shout to keep up.”

Read more of Donald’s x-ray insight here!

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A Open Letter from RACHEL BURNS on the NYDN Controversy

by on Jan.11, 2014

 

[Guest post by Rachel Burns.]

 

regarding the new york daily news article, i have, ultimately, taken from this experience that i am supposed to be soft, so i’ve omitted all capital letters, i’m speaking in a soft monotone.

as a twenty two year old editor/poet without any sort of degree, my initial experience was a sense of empowerment, pride & excitement about this huge publication that wasn’t exclusive to the literary realm. i knew some of these poets & their work, others i was unfamiliar with, the chance to experience all of these women & their love of the craft in one article was empowering to me as a women & a poet.

seeing the unflinching negative responses to the article confused me. the mass of negativity went beyond any single article and has made me completely uncomfortable being involved in the literary world. seeing these women i look up to being attacked by other individuals whom i also look up to is heart-breaking. & the scrutiny placed on female bodies absolutely revolting, triggering, and completely fucking unacceptable.

i am now scared to voice my opinion & have found myself questioning my involvement in our community. i’m scared to respond because i’ve got photos of myself in short dresses and tank tops. that is your impact.

a mentor once told me there is more than one way to be intrusive, rape isn’t always physical, unwanted penetration is just as damaging when it’s done without physicality. in this regard, the backlash directed towards a perceived feminine aesthetic has been a vile misuse of power/voice & has created an intrusive hyperawareness surrounding female bodies. if some of these comments were catcalled from the street it would be harassment/body shaming/misogyny, creating an situation where someone feels unsafe.

as an extremely body conscious person, these responses have made me feel apologetic for having a body. is my dysmorphic interpretation of myself a positive? if i’m covered will i be successful? if i decide to wear an article of clothing i feel accentuates my torso, should i apologize? i bought this velvet skirt to wear to a reading at awp, now i want to return it & i googled ‘semi-fitted slacks’ last night because the message I’m receiving says ‘i will be taken seriously if i hide my body in ill fitting khaki.’

i am seeing feminists responding with degrading remarks, then following up with their stature as a feminist. it’s comparable to someone saying something racist & following up with ‘not to sound racist.’ had someone made a racist or homophobic remark, there would be a complete uproar. had someone who does not identify as a feminist made a sexist remark, there would be an uproar.

attacking someone because, in your opinion, they have sexed up the art, is slut shaming & justifying that with feminism is disgusting.

i’ve used the phrase ‘it was my fault’ too many times in my life, after connecting with the feminist aspect of the literary community, i believe my body is my own & no one has that right to make me feel shame. as an unknown individual in the writing community, i’m wishing my body prepubescent to maybe avoid impending ridicule. Your message is ‘don’t be the woman you want to be’.

all individuals have a right to fulfill basic human rights of self-expression & body autonomy. fashion is an art everyone , to some extent, dabbles in, as an art it has endless interpretations.

i don’t want to be in a situation where i have to be a woman poet in a dress or i have to be a woman poet in sweatpants, i want to be a woman poet writing poetry that affects readers.

i spoke with Monica a few days ago & she told me this was like being told to smile when you didn’t want to. all of these woman have presented themselves gracefully & respectfully throughout this unwarranted backlash & i admire all of them. i want to apologize to them for anyone who is using clothing as indicator for class & over-sexualizing a situation that is not intended to be remotely sexual. the terrifying part of this ordeal is it’s not specific to the new york daily news article.

i deleted my manuscript the other night because something that empowered me so much was just shit on.

i’m embarrassed by a lot of individual actions & the petty part of me wants to name specific instances where shaming was justified or blamed on the article. i’m now terrified to continue writing, but this is not okay. i really love to write, i really love being an editor & i really love connecting with poets. the absolute kindness, acceptance & willingness to mentor. i’m not suggesting any fix, i am suggesting that the current trend of combative communication, using positions of identification as weapons and shields, is creating a toxic environment for emerging writers.

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Poets in The New York Daily News Article Respond: LISA MARIE BASILE

by on Jan.04, 2014

[I asked the women featured in the New York Daily News article if I could interview them about the public response to the article. I asked them each the same set of five questions. Some of the women preferred to answer specific questions; others chose to write their own essays. I’ll be posting their responses here serially over the next 24 hours.]

 

LISA MARIE BASILE

1) What was your approach to presenting yourself in the photo? And was it actualized?

I am someone who likes to flirt with the camera, even if it is a little uncomfortable. Presenting as a culturally recognizable image of “sexy” has been empowering. Fun. Really.

The photo was taken at the Annual NYC Poetry Festival where I was dressed to perform at the Poetry Brothel. I admit that the Poetry Brothel group has also been viewed as problematic because of the way it presents poetry. My views on it aside (and my views are always changing), I was dressed to perform.

However! No man, no woman, no photographer has ever disassembled my agency, commanded me or bullied me. If he had, I’d be the first to admit it. It was as actualized as it could have been.

 

2) Is visual cultural important to your poetry? if so, in what way?

My poetry is guided by aesthetic. I often create worlds of things–collectables, fabrics, decorum, objects, era-specific items of beauty. There is a strong feminine (stereotypical and subverted) thread throughout it.

My upcoming book, APOCRYPHAL, uses fabrics, designers and brands from the 60s and 70s as a character. I love playing on a visual field. Sometimes it influences my own style. It’s all an exercise in expression. Sometimes it’s misinterpreted and dirtied by the Public.

 

3) Do you consciously cultivate a public image that refracts, troubles, or adds to your poetry in some way?

I believe that the ways in which we present ourselves are quite deliberate, emotionally calculated and in sync with who we are as people and maybe as poets, consciously or subconsciously so.

I like to wear clothes that make me feel sensual. It feeds my creativity as a writer.

More simply, I dress in a way that makes me happy. I surely hope everyone also does.
I think, though, that whenever a woman does anything–specifically something that calls attention to her body in any fashion–there is the undeniable risk that it will complicate, reduce, silence or kill her accomplishments and ideas.

 

4) What have been your thoughts and feelings around the uproar over the article?

I want to be so over it, but it’s bigger than me.

& I really appreciate you asking this, Lara, because as many people as there were saying, “great poem,” “I’m glad to see women gaining attention,” or, “I am fucking happy the literary arts are being represented” (albeit the icky tabloid medium) there were also a lot of people deconstructing the photographs in a such a way that they blamed the poets for presenting as “sexy” or for somehow, like, acquiescing to the male gaze.

People should totally be wary of how women are presented in the media, but without being reductionist toward the agency of women…which is, ironically, what they’re fighting for to begin with.

A part of me knew this would happen. I think I even mentioned it to Lawrence. It doesn’t surprise me, because the way poets are presented is often not in this context–in a major tabloid, or “dressed up.” I’m ashamed (again, not surprised) that some people focused on this element more than the writing.

 

5) Has your experience with the article (and its reception) changed your thinking around poetry, media and/or celebrity?

It’s showed me how shit journalism can really reroute the discussion at hand. The NYDN article was inherently problematic.

While people’s support and love for writers is really so fantastic, the piece also confirmed how sexist portions of even the smallest, smartest and most creative communities can be.

When my magazine, Luna Luna (www.lunalunamag.com) published a reaction to the “uproar” it got thousands of hits in two days. That certainly said something. People have serious feelings about it, or they just love gossip.

xo, LMB

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Poets in The New York Daily News Article Respond: ANA BOZICEVIC

by on Jan.04, 2014

[I asked the women featured in the New York Daily News article if I could interview them about the public response to the article. I asked them each the same set of five questions. Some of the women preferred to answer specific questions; others chose to write their own essays. I’ll be posting their responses here serially over the next 24 hours.]

 

ANA BOZICEVIC

#beautiful #ugly #women #feelings

Having become distressed by Things in Life, I came to the conclusion that I needed wholly to change up my imaginarium. The picture book Myself that had become unbearable to me had to be replaced with something other, perhaps its opposite. But behold: the stranger I wished to become was me; I had so alienated myself from my history that the strangest person I could now become was myself.

This sense of integration with the other of oneself – the state in which one perceives one’s changing physical characteristics, remembers the societies of people and the microcultures which passed through one’s life, to make an impact and/or never to be seen again – the smell of pigeon-grey ozone on a Zagreb morning in 1982 and NYC air on New Year’s Eve 2014 – is an experience often denied women in particular, because of the systems of control, the taboos and vetoes attached to their perception and self-perception. We can agree that a great bulk of the bodily-aesthetic dimension of contemporary American culture is filtered through women. How women do and should look in their youth and as they age is, in the style of the film They Live, the consistent theme of so much TV and other media content. The “alternative” art culture and queer culture are no more exempt from this focus on bodily appearance – or the persona aura – than the mainstream.

A poet’s work and performance may manifest this burden in any number of ways. Maybe she enables it, fully plays along, and reaps the benefits and censure of being the submissive in a mainstream script; maybe she ignores it, rejects it, focusing instead on form, materials, technique, or embracing an alternative aesthetic of queerness or ugliness. Maybe she performs it indifferently, or as drag, and maybe through performance ends up playing it off against itself. Such analysis often comes after the art is performed, in the sphere of reaction, because I’d like to think the freedom of engaging in art renders us at least partly unconscious of the effect we, and our work, will have. A didactic poetics is a yawn..

It is this last approach – the performance of femininity, the engagement of its inherent performativity – that provokes perhaps the most ambiguous response, specifically in otherwomen. At its most effective, it can trigger awe or horror, because performing something implies implication, an awareness of the taint, a potency tinged with the ridiculous and the compromised. Picture a man who sees his wife and mistress online at the same time, and his moment of discomfort: are they talking to each other right now? This suggestion that the superego and the id might be in touch directly, provokes more terror than a scenario in which their communication is coded and filtered through the ego.

When poets like Monica McClure and Trisha Low engage with things like fashion, the propaganda of glamour, the drama of the teen (that fulcrum of idic energy that must especially be controlled so that it may be sexualized on someone else’s terms), they promote discomfort; when their practice is promoted by the New York Daily News, in an article written in the language of a fairground crier – the distress, for some women in the audience, deepens. Moreso, perhaps, if they’re artists themselves. They demand an explanation:

You mean to say these poets acknowledge openly, via playing with its code (which is after all a language), the terror imposed on women by a culture that demands women mirror its desires, sculpting them back into pre-transformation Galateas, often with the use of what could be art materials, like silicone? That they claim awareness without seeming fully to reject the dominant by fully embracing an alternative aesthetic? Are they collaborators?

The largely correct assessment of the Daily News as an unlikely (and do we ask why?) and somehow funny venue for such a piece, the caveats of “supporting the poets but being disturbed by the context/treatment” already indicate that we all know what is going on: cultural propaganda that still opens up a genuine window for these poets’ work and performance to be viewed. So what is really beautiful or ugly in this picture: the culture, the poets or the feelings? The response of some of the incensed commenters verges on sexual terror: because by appearing to collaborate (while maybe subverting – or maybe not), provocative, implicatory poetics – and that includes performance – tugs at the umbilical cord that ties women of all ages, including women artists, together to the culture’s aesthetic and libidinal economy. The terror stems from the sense of implication: of course this tug hurts. The performances, the press, the selfies, the online and public personae we all navigate; the promise-threat of attention or the lack of it; the praise, violence or indifference we can increasingly hardly imagine our“selves” without, wherein I’m a currency, therefore I am… Quel horreur – but also – quelle réalité, and what a game. Whether you’re a young woman poet thinking of how to dress for a reading, or a mature artist considering your legacy as icon or iconic abstainer from iconography – the struggle is real, la lutte continue.

Terrorized, uncomfortable readers and poets in the audience look to the featured poets themselves for the source of own discomfort by microanalysing their appearance, weighing it against the context, etcetera, as though lodging a complaint will produce a solution to the insoluble problem. But after this probably unavoidable and not wholly unjustified gestalt plays itself out, the place to look for a way is one’s own practice, where the aesthetic meets aesthetics.

If it’s true that I’m split by the demands and expectations made on me as a woman-within-culture, do I care? Do I practice abjection by fetishizing and writing a fractured self/split subject? Do I ape the culture back at itself indifferently or subversively? Do I occlude or reject self altogether and let in other selves through appropriative techniques? Do I obstinately continue to write down the words in my head? How does my practice integrate me, when practice is the only power many of us have at our disposal for this task? Do I give a fuck about cultures, dominant or alternative, that expect me to be this way or that – do I reject personal integration vis a vis culture altogether? Why focus only on the appearance of the poets, on the journalist, the photographer, rather than on the culture(s) we share, and the way these poets’ work and our own interacts with culture? Only the work can inquire deeply and answer questions – and the work will hopefully do so through its own medium rather than some didactic explanation, which, let’s admit it, never satisfies, and is really the fucking death of art.

We want the questions of our desire and others’ desire (or lack thereof) for us and our work to be explained to us in the language of public discussion: but to understand what’s going on, and remain in that realm, is not enough. The language that does not explain but does one better – offers the only avenue to freedom through its processes of mirroring, transposing or transforming – is that of art. *

 

* I respond specifically to the nature of public discussion and reactions to the New York Daily News piece, because the controversy is why I understand we are discussing the piece now. In the interest of simplicity I refuse to drop any names other than the poets’ own, though clearly I use some psychoanalytic terms, because I find these tools fun. So few of the discussions on this piece engaged the actual work printed; few commented on the less-controversial photos (including my own, which interests me insofar as I look unlike I do now). I would like to take an in-depth look at the performative practices of all the other poets featured – Lisa Marie Basile, Alina Gregorian, and Camille Rankine – and perhaps that’s a piece for the future.

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Poets in The New York Daily News Article Respond: CAMILLE RANKINE

by on Jan.03, 2014

[I asked the women featured in the New York Daily News article if I could interview them about the public response to the article. I asked them each the same set of five questions. Some of the women preferred to answer specific questions; others chose to write their own essays. I’ll be posting their responses here serially over the next 24 hours.]

 

CAMILLE RANKINE

1) What was your approach to presenting yourself in the photo? And was it actualized?

I was just trying to look like myself. And I think I was reasonably successful.

 

3) Do you consciously cultivate a public image that refracts, troubles, or adds to your poetry in some way?

I’ve worked in and around poetry in some capacity for a few years now – I worked Cave Canem Foundation previously, and am now at Manhattanville College’s MFA Program, plus I serve on The Poetry Project board and co-chair the Poetry Committee for the Brooklyn Book Festival – so when I think of a public image, I think of it mostly in the context my work for those organizations, and I try to keep it professional. I tend to be a cautious person, and I often think ahead to all the possible consequences of my actions, so I’m careful about how I present myself and what I say in a public sphere, because I don’t want anything to come back and haunt me or any organization I represent. Other than that, I don’t give much thought to cultivating an image. I’m mostly just trying not to embarrass myself.

 

4) What have been your thoughts and feelings around the uproar over the article?

Frankly, I anticipated there would be some grumblings over this before the article even came out. And once I saw the photos, I guessed what would follow. But I wasn’t paying much attention to the internet when it was published, because I was home with my family for the holidays and there was much food to be eaten and many movies to be watched and general fun to be had by all, so I missed whatever nuance there may have been to the conversation. Is the issue with what the poets are wearing? If so, I’m fairly sure all these women left their homes with those outfits on because that’s what they wanted to wear that day, and weren’t necessarily even aware that they’d be photographed—this was true in my case. So if someone wants to take a photo of you while you are wearing the clothes you happen to have on at that moment, what’s the problem there, exactly? Or are people upset that some of these women are in positions that appear possibly to be sexy or have looks on their faces that are suggestive of possible sexiness? If so, I know that these women are all adults and most likely in full possession of their faculties, and I hope they have chosen facial expressions and/or positions that they are comfortable with, as I did in my own photo. And if that is in fact the case, then isn’t it kind of their business how sexy they want to appear in a photo? Or is the concern that these women were selected because they are all reasonably attractive? Perhaps there could be an argument made on that front, but that argument also minimizes these women’s accomplishments as poets, which we can all learn about for ourselves through the bios and excerpts from their work that were printed alongside the photos.

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Poets Featured In The New York Daily News Feature Respond: MONICA MCCLURE

by on Jan.03, 2014

[I asked the women featured in the New York Daily News article if I could interview them about the public response to the article. I asked them each the same set of five questions. Some of the women preferred to answer specific questions; others chose to write their own essays. I’ll be posting their responses here serially over the next 24 hours.]

 

MONICA MCCLURE

1) What was your approach to presenting yourself in the photo? And was it actualized?

I can’t tell you how refreshing it is for my agency to be acknowledged, as much of the reaction to these photos has characterized us as passive subjects, naive or attention-seeking enough to be exploited by a male photographer out for his own recognition and profit.

I think it’s important to note that this wasn’t a planned, costumed photoshoot intended for the NY Daily News article.

I wore a crop top bustier thing on a miserably hot day to attend the NYC Poetry Festival, which is like Coachella for poets. Lara, you’re right to detect annoyance in my expression. My thighs are sticking to an inflatable couch while I try to look somewhat elegant. For who? Oh, anyone on facebook, including myself. I’m suspended in that gap between photographed object (aware that I’m being singled out for the way I look) and an empowered subject who agreed, and even enjoyed, being photographed out of my own curiosity to see my image on that little camera screen moments later.

Is that vain? The idea of vanity has always smacked of sexism to me. It’s a word that men have used for centuries to distinguish women’s interest in adornment and self-actualization from their own and make it seem frivolous, so it’s really disheartening when women presume that a sliver of midriff is a cheap shot for attention that can somehow be cleverly redirected at our poems, or that we’re too stupid to realize when and how the male gaze shines upon us. When Becca Klaver sent me the tumblr link to womenpoetswearingsweatpants I was pleased that its humor equivocated the lightness of the article and I said, “Great! We all know what we were doing in that article anyway.”

The publication, which is meant for easy consumption on the subway, constructs the article around novelty. It’s the news, after all. It invented a reason for its existence: a gender power shift in poetry based on newfound empowerment for women to talk about their bodies and sex. The article is (and I don’t mean to slam the writer, who did her job succinctly) amounted to a joke. My posing, somewhat classically on an inflatable couch amounts to a joke. Of course, anytime I’m on the other side of a man’s camera, I feel ambivalent. I can’t say it was my idea to languish on a blow-up couch, but I certainly wasn’t coerced or duped. I was thought-fodder for the camera as well as myself. I was considering myself being considered.

 

2) Is visual cultural important to your poetry? if so, in what way?

When mostly white women on facebook were policing the appearance of the brown bodies in the NYDN article, I was watching Beyonce’s visual album and noticing similarities in how white, academic detractors were responding to the overt sexiness of her performances and the traditional heteronormativity of her lyrics and public statements. While, personally, I aim to dismantle gender norms and the institution of marriage, I would think twice before slamming another woman for celebrating her marriage and family life in her art.

So many images of women in the media do disturb me as much as they mesmerize me, and my poetry tries to air out both sides of that. I cringe at Miley Cyrus’ twisted performance of a manufactured sexuality, the pro-patriarchal garbage spewing from the mouths of Fox News blondes, the ubiquitous battered, raped body of the black woman in 12 Years A Slave, and on and on.

On the other hand, there’s power in the images of themselves that girls put online, even when they’re highly decorated or their flesh is on display. Does that mean they are in collaboration with the culture that hurts them? Sure they can’t control whether their image will become an affront or a pleasure object, but they’re beating the culture to the punch anyway.

 

3) Do you consciously cultivate a public image that refracts, troubles, or adds to your poetry in some way?

In college one of my professors asked us to draw our vision of a good feminist. Having felt liberated by the idea of throwing off the accoutrements of femininity as a way to shun cultural fallacies of femininity and resist male oppression as related to the market and its advertising apparatuses, I felt obliged to draw a woman in plain clothes and bare face standing in front of Hull House. Those were the feminists I loved most: the socialists who only dated women and refused to be slowed down by fashion. But I didn’t. I drew myself, who is occasionally attracted to men and short party dresses, because it was important to see myself represented.

How Should A Woman Look has been a huge question for me, especially because one reason I wanted to write came from a desire to disappear behind mind’s labor and be recognized for my intellect. Therefore, I do understand the discomfort that a midriff in an article purportedly about poetry might cause.

In truth, I’m glad there was a cringe response. It’s just too bad that that gut response was articulated as a patronizing lament from my older feminist sisters.

When I perform my poetry- and I purposely say perform instead of read– I understand that I’m going to be measured against my looks no matter what, and I want that to be part of the critical discourse around my poetry. I know full well that my validity as an artist is undermined if I seem attractive, or worse, aware of my attractiveness, so I try to do my own beating to the punch by playing the target and the archer, thus hopefully making the audience aware of the patriarchy inside them.

The truth is, patriarchy is an insidious discourse, and both men and women tend not to expect much from a youthful, female body. I have to resist that kind of, um, resistance to a pretty genius all the time. It was so refreshing to read it confessed in Stephanie Young’s Ursula or University, which acknowledges the culpability of men and women in poetry “scenes” in reducing young women poets to bodies. I think my performances would like to dare the audience to do try.

Not too long ago, I was privy to one woman’s response during a discussion in an MFA visual art class who, when shown a video of the brilliant poet and performance artist Bunny Rogers, immediately, and without any qualms, questioned whether interest in her work stemmed from her talent or her appearance.

Because I’m both repulsed and enchanted by this deep paradox that is our regard for the woman artist, I will sometimes taunt my audience by alternating between beguiling and vulgar affectations to create discomfort. Discomfort heightens self-awareness. It’s the feeling you get watching stand-up comedy.

I’d like people to feel complicated about how they’re viewing me, especially as they’re being entertained or, at least, distracted. I ventriloquize some nasty cliched girl-on-girl jealousy in my poems because that voice is with me. She’s my twin, like it or not. She is the same as me just as I am all that she is not. The way we women regard each other is strange enough to call poetry. But I would never organize myself as a real woman around those thoughts.

 

4) What have been your thoughts and feelings around the uproar over the article?

It all felt misplaced. My poetry is nothing if not a reproach to the male gaze.You have to enact feminism on inclusionary terms because it’s too intersectional to be done correctly.

My thought is that the uproar was a rehash of second wave white feminist politics in what Becca aptly called Poetryville. As strange as this analogy is, an example that always pops up when I ponder the impossibility of really escaping one’s body: when Kanye West interrupted a pretty white girl at the Grammy’s and the white supremacist world rejoiced because he’d just proved them right: he really was a jack ass. Yet if he had always minded his manners, he would have been another part of the myth of post-racism and the American Dream.

To be an image accessible to publicity, a story in yourself, is, as odd as it sounds, a way to keep the death of the author alive. This whole thing made me ultra aware that it’s the strength of the work that keeps us from becoming cyphers. This is not an apology for the pretty girl in poetry. It could work just as well as a theory of the ugly girl in the poetry world. This is just to say it was important.

I’ve got a younger sister whose body I wish to protect. I can’t snatch it from her when she posts an instagram picture of herself on the beach. I can’t tell her not to enjoy it. She already knows the toll it takes to be looked at and must navigate it for herself.

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Poets Featured In The New York Daily News Feature Respond: TRISHA LOW

by on Jan.03, 2014

[I asked the women featured in the New York Daily News article if I could interview them about the public response to the article. I asked them each the same set of five questions. Some of the women preferred to answer specific questions; others chose to write their own essays. I’ll be posting their responses here serially over the next 24 hours.]

 

TRISHA LOW

I’m not interested in defending, devoting myself to any agenda, extolling the virtues of any manifesto or dogma or explaining what’s already been speculated about more than enough. The article was unfortunate for itself in many ways, simply a bit of fun for those who agreed to be in it, and unexpectedly painful for others, which I am sorry for. But let’s not place and replace the burdens of representation in such a specified locus or drown one or two of us or those in the vicinity of by noosing any rocks to any necks. In the immortal words of Etta James, like every other part of life, it’s man’s world. Let’s not make any lies to each other about how poetry’s a land of security and opportunity for women or that we can all get on the same page without bitterness or vitriol; unbound to our own personal histories of abuse (and experiences with) in and beyond poetry.

I feel lucky there’s been a very diverse set of practices and work that’s grown out of a shared set of feminist concerns and it’s an exciting time to be involved in that conversation. I think that woman to woman relationships continue to be really complicated in what’s essentially still a boys’ club, that there’s sometimes still a sense of ‘there can only be one [woman]’ syndrome. But also like, whatever, we can continue be to be honest with each other about our affinities, competitions, jealousies, bitternesses &c&c&c. with respect – all the complexities of real relationships between people with ambitions and stakes and desires rather than any trite insistence on ‘sisterhood for a cause’. My work doesn’t function without an opposing feminist/marxist/materialist critique from others whom I love and respect for counterbalance and I would hope vice versa. Anyway, let’s not reduce, but i mean let’s, especially when we want to make a point. Ultimately, just like how they said at last comi-con, our work isn’t done, so nobody sit down, but jesus, nobody start screeching about how you can’t sit with us either. “Do you have a utopian vision of the future? you ask me. i got a fucking utopian vision of the present”, Dorothy Allison says here: http://inthesetimes.com/article/728/notes_to_a_young_feminist/ and sure, yes, it looks a shit ton like my bratty nihilism and her melancholic attachment and someone else’s grief and your disenchantment and our effusiveness and everything in between and that’s all, that’s everything kthnxbai xoxo

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SOMEONE IS IMPERSONATING ME ONLINE

by on Feb.23, 2013

Dear All:

Someone is impersonating me online and also using email and social media to spread malicious rumors about me. This is not someone I know personally or have had any interaction with, but I’m told this person has a history of stalking and alleged violence.

If you receive any unexpected or unusual correspondence from or about me, please *do not respond* to the email and, instead, please alert me at lglenum@lsu.edu (the LSU server should be secure).

Likewise, if you see my name surface on any blogs or in any chatrooms (I’m not currently active in either), please send an alert to the same email address.

Thanks a million for your help.

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Paul Legault: Cannibalizing Emily Dickinson

by on Sep.04, 2012

[Note: I should mention that I’ve moved this post/convo to MV after I originally posted it on my fb page, where there are oodles of interesting responses.]

In an interview at The Measure, Paul Legault discusses his new project, The Emily Dickinson Reader: An English-to-English Translation of Emily Dickinson’s Complete Poems. In the interview, Paul describes Dickinson’s work as “extremely dry comedy—like a taxidermic clown left out in the sun,” which is completely lovely & awesome. Like Paul himself.

This passage troubles me, tho: “Why Emily Dickinson? For any American poet, Emily Dickinson is sort of a monolith… Why Dickinson? I guess she was asking for it.”

I want to read this generously. But. Our one (?) female monolith. Was “asking for it.” For me, this plugs into all kinds of cultural language about the humiliation, violation, & punishment of women.

Help me out. Montevidayans, you know my deep disorientation around these things. How I vomit out alarm bells. And also how fond I am of Paul & want to be a generous (not paranoid) reader.

If this project is supposed to be a performative act of violence, I’m conceptually ok with that in many ways (though I wonder, as ever, about the gender dynamics). But the book appears to be being passed off as homage or zany, occasional humor or contemporary remixing. It’s not exactly being marketed as a fucked-up compulsion to rewrite/erase ED–which would be ultra-fascinating indeed!

Help me wrap my brain around this! I find Paul a very generous & compelling person, poet, and presence in the poetry world, and I suspect there may be a lot of interesting things to unpack around his thinking/feelings around this project. And about translation in general. In particular, I’m thinking of translation as an act of cannibalism (Haraldo de Campos), with all of its radical connotations.

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The Spitter (or Snow White, by Camille Rose Garcia)

by on May.10, 2012

The Spitter (or, She Deserves It)

This Is What I Will Not Fucking Do

Goodbye All U Rodents

My Cunt Is Now In The Hands Of The Zombie Hoardes & Their Pop-up Pain Boutiques

 

 

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HOT DELICIOUS BOY WEEK: Day 5!

by on Apr.16, 2012

Claude Cahun! (nee Lucy Renée Mathilde Schwob, 1894-1954)

“I Am In Training! Don’t Kiss Me!”

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HOT DELICIOUS BOY WEEK! Day 4 (NSFW)

by on Apr.15, 2012

After a turn thru Bradley Soileau, Japanese Vogue, and trangender models (and a Nota Bene), it’s time for the playaz (specifically, Rick Day’s series, Players)! I like how these men look totally undone by their props. So much for the invisibility of the phallic order!


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