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In praise of the never straight: Cheryl Clarke

In praise of the Cheryl Clarke! Her landmark poetry and activism inspired generations.

the wrong bathroom

“I name myself “lesbian” because this culture oppresses, silences, and destroys lesbians, even lesbians who don’t call themselves “lesbians.” I name myself “lesbian” because I want to be visible to other black lesbians. I name myself “lesbian” because I do not subscribe to predatory/institutionalized heterosexuality. I name myself lesbian because I want to be with women (and they don’t all have to call themselves “lesbians”). I name myself “lesbian” because it is part of my vision. I name myself lesbian because being woman-identified has kept me sane. I call myself “Black,” too, because Black is my perspective, my aesthetic, my politics, my vision, my sanity.”

(“New Notes on Lesbianism” (1983)  in The Days of Good Looks: The Prose and Poetry of Cheryl Clarke, 1980 to 2005)

Cheryl-Smiling.jpg.scaled500

“I am calling upon bulldaggers, dykes, faggots, feminist femmes, fierce sissies, and other outrageous progressive queers to have a major multicultural sexual liberation…

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Lesbianic Authors in Portland OR July 9-13

G. L. Morrison

ChiaroscuroKissesFront

Lesbianic Authors, author-itative lesbians. Whatever you wanna call ’em. They’ve arrived. (Except for those of us who were already here. We were ahead of the curve.)

The Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS)  holds an annual conference for writers and readers. Last year was the first I had heard of it. This year is the first I’ve attended. The fact that they are literally bringing the conference to me was definitely a plus.

If you’re a fan of lesbian writers (and I am!) it’s a party with a celebrity guest list. If you’re a writer (that too!) it’s an opportunity to network, to swap tips, conversation and spit (wait no, that’s a different party) with your sheroes.  And maybe sell a few books and enjoy knowing that the people you love reading are reading you!

Book Fair. Autograph sessions. An Author auction. Karin Kallmaker.  Anne Bannon. Katherine Forrest. And ice cream.

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Alternate Visions: Some Musings on Diversity in SF

Vandana Singh’s essay on travel, otherness and the need for diversity in speculative fiction becomes essential reading when you consider the links included. Linking to articles such as Nisi Shawl’s “Transracial Writing for the Sincere”, Jim Hines “Diversity, Appropriation and Writing the Other” and Samuel Delany’s “Escaping Ethnocentricity” creates an educational journey for every writer. And every reader. If you stay on the train for the next article, the next station stop, you’ll find sign-posts to new brilliant destinations; travelogues filled with writerly advice and possibilities and hope.

Antariksh Yatra

I was recently in the remote Alaskan town of Barrow for an academic project.  Barrow is profoundly different from any place I have been: at 71.3 N latitude, it perches at the edge of the Arctic Ocean.  During April, when I visited, the ocean is frozen as far as you can see.  The tundra is white and flat, and there is no vegetation.  Most of the people who live there are Inupiat Eskimos.  It is as far removed as you can imagine from Delhi, where I grew up, or for that matter, Boston, near which city I now reside.

I was wandering through the bright hallways of Ilisagvik college in Barrow, looking for someone with whom I hoped to speak, when I found an efficient young administrative assistant.  She assured me she would find the person I was seeking, and took my name down.  As is usual in…

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PSA: Your Default Narrative Settings Are Not Apolitical

Foz Meadow’s advice for writers and readers is worth repeating.

shattersnipe: malcontent & rainbows

Victorian Women SmokingImage taken from tumblr.

Recently, SFF author Tansy Rayner Roberts wrote an excellent post debunking the idea that women did nothing interesting or useful throughout history, and that trying to write fictional stories based on this premise of feminine insignificance is therefore both inaccurate and offensive. To quote:

“History is not a long series of centuries in which men did all the interesting/important things and women stayed home and twiddled their thumbs in between pushing out babies, making soup and dying in childbirth.

History is actually a long series of centuries of men writing down what they thought was important and interesting, and FORGETTING TO WRITE ABOUT WOMEN. It’s also a long series of centuries of women’s work and women’s writing being actively denigrated by men. Writings were destroyed, contributions were downplayed, and women were actively oppressed against, absolutely.

But the forgetting part is vitally important. Most historians and…

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Summer Poetry Roundup

Out in Print: Queer Book Reviews

On the Midnight Stage/High Ground Valley Flashback – Walter Beck (Writing Knights Press)

Dialectic of the Flesh – Roz Kaveney (A Midsummer Night’s Press)

Deleted Names – Lawrence Schimel (A Midsummer Night’s Press)

Fortunate Light – David Bergman (A Midsummer Night’s Press)

What happened to the Spring Poetry Roundup, you ask? Time got away from me, I finished my novel, I started an editing business, we moved the blog — shit, as they say, happened. So, my apologies to Walter Beck and Lawrence Schimel who sent these pieces to me a long time ago. The length of time between when they came out and when this review appears, however, has nothing to do with their quality. And there is some quality here, indeed.

4009-MIDNIGHT-STAGE_zps59e50f58First up is a two-fer from Walter Beck, On the Midnight Stage and High Ground Valley Flashback. On the Midnight Stage contains one or two of…

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Does She Love You?

I have mixed reactions to the very idea  of video trailers for books.*

But this one for Rachel Spangler’s novel “Does She Love You?” gets my unconditional love. Well, affection. Well, my unconditional… hey is that a unicorn?

*Mixed Reactions defined:

Mixed, adjective, \ˈmikst\ including or accompanied by inconsistent, incompatible, or contrary elements

In the mix:

  • ambivalence
  • surprise
  • outrage
  • befuddlement
  • and the unanswerable question “why?” As in why would I want anyone to cast a movie of the pictures in my head before I had even put pictures in my head… isn’t that one of the reasons movies are more disappointing than books?

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Disappeared

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