Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Special Interest: LGBT panels @ Split This Rock 2014

To help you plan your festival schedule, we broke down panels, workshops, and group readings by special interest. Check out those dealing with LGBT topics below!


    Thursday 3/27:

11:30am-1pm – Human Rights Campaign, Rm 105C
Citizen Poet Queer: Building a Blueprint for LGBTQ Cultural Activism

Reginald Harris, Julie Enszer, David Groff, Donika Ross

Storytelling and personal witness in poetry—as well as personal essays, op-eds, articles, blogs and advocacy journalism—are potent tools for cultural transformation. How can you find your voice and then raise it in the movement for social justice? This panel explores how the power of your poetry—and the informed passion of your prose—can challenge the norms of the LGBTQ community and the larger culture and help engender a more honest and authentic society. Offering specific strategies, guidelines, and venues for reaching readers both queer and straight, this panel will give poets the adaptable blueprint we need to engage in activist cultural citizenship through our poems—both performed and on the page—our poetry activism, and our literary, social, narrative, and political writing, as we seek to make art that opens hearts and changes lives.
2-3:30pm – Human Rights Campaign, Rm 105A
Beauty, Disability, Queerness & Body Politic
L. Lamar Wilson, Kathi Wolfe

Two LGBT poets who also have a disability read from their work, which focuses on the intersection of disability, queerness, race, peace, class, and other cultural/social/political issues.  Discussion follows.  The panelists will respond to each other’s work and discuss such questions as: How have disability, queerness, and other issues such as race intersected for you in your own life?  How do images of beauty, the body, queerness, and disability intersect in the body politic–in our culture–in cultural stereotypes/myths?  Audience members are encouraged to ask questions of the poets – to talk about their own images of beauty, disability, queerness, and the body.

    Friday 3/28:

11:30am-1pm -  Human Rights Campaign, Rm 105A
Gathering Forces: A Living Anthology of Black LGBTQ Poetry
Tisa Bryant, Reginald Harris, John Keene, Kevin Simmonds

We will perform and discuss selected works by notable black LGBTQ poets from the Harlem Renaissance era to the 1990s (e.g., Ai, Essex Hemphill, Langston Hughes, June Jordan, Audre Lorde, Claude McKay, Pat Parker, Reginald Shepherd). Discussion will consider the poets, their choices, experiments, ideas, contexts, and structures. The session will conclude with a Q&A that addresses the key role that black LGBTQ authors have, and continue to play, in expanding our sense of the possibilities of literature and the arts, (re)shaping canons and transforming contemporary politics via the poetic.

4-5:30pm – Human Rights Campaign, Rm 105B
This Assignment Is So Gay: LGBTQ Poets on the Art of Teaching -A Group Reading 

Rebecca Lynne Fullan, D. Gilson, Gordon Lang, Kenneth Pobo, Joseph Ross, Yermiyahu Ahron Taub, Daniel Nathan Terry

The classroom remains an essential, and often neglected, front in the struggle against homophobia. Bullying and bashing are widely prevalent in schools and, all too often, result in emotional and physical trauma, and even suicide. This Assignment Is So Gay: LGBTIQ Poets on the Art of Teaching (Megan Volpert, editor; Sibling Rivalry Press, 2013) is a groundbreaking anthology of poems by seventy-five queer poet-teachers from around the world that will serve as a pedagogical tool in the movement to help LGBTIQ youth in crisis. Contributors will read selections from the anthology and discuss their own LGBTIQ educational work.

    Saturday 3/29:

2-3:30pm – Human Rights Campaign, Rm 105B
   Struggle, Resilience & Transformation: Queer Arabs in the Diaspora
           Amir Rabiyah, Amirah Mizrahi, Janine Mogannam, Andrea Assaf

As queer Arabs / Arab Americans, many people and institutions attempt to speak for us. The act of sharing our stories, as they are and as our full selves, becomes provocative. When your identity itself is provocative (not necessarily intending to create political work, but by simply being a politicized body), what does it mean to write poetry and “witness” from that position? As people with a broad spectrum of identities within the Arab community, including different religions, nationalities, and migration stories, we often move through society with parts of ourselves made hyper-visible, and others invisible. What happens to us when we compartmentalize aspects of our identities in order to gain acceptance? How do we continue to create transformative work in the context of intersecting systemic oppressions? Join us as we share our poetry and invite the audience to engage these questions and more, through creative writing and dialogue.

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