Wednesday, March 23, 2016

#SplitThisRock2016 Sessions: Gender & Sexuality

We are pleased to present a selection of sessions on themes of gender and sexuality at Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2016: Poems of Provocation & Witness. For the full festival program, please visit the program page here.
And hey: Pre-registration is open now until March 31.
Black Ladies Brunch Crew Presents "Not Without Laughter"
Saida Agostini, Anya Creightney, Teri Cross Davis, celeste doaks, Niki Herd
Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives Room 102 [Map]
Thursday, April 14, 11:30am – 1:00pm

Of late, racially charged controversy and violence has pervaded American media. From an attack on young children at a Texas pool party, to a race-bending NAACP president, to the massacre of nine churchgoers in Charleston, disheartening news seems ever-present. However, the African American community has always battled sorrow with laughter. This reading offers solace through humor during these difficult times. The Black Ladies Brunch Crew will share light-hearted work of their own or by others, with the attempt towards healing. As we work through tough issues of police brutality, gender biases and economic inequality, what offers us light and hope? What poetic words of levity provide inspiration for us and others? Some topics these women will explore include romantic relationships, family, work, and a celebration of female identity. This is an invitation for temporary shelter from the storm.

Celebrating the Poetry of Pat Parker
Kazim Ali, Cheryl Clarke, Julie Enszer, Bettina Judd
Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives Room 300 [Map]
Thursday, April 14, 11:30am – 1:00pm

Pat Parker (1944-1989) was an influential poet and activist in feminist publishing, whose work as a poet and activist reflects the intersection of a variety of feminist and alternative publishing practices during the 1970s and 1980s. Parker’s poetry grapples with the multiple, intersecting oppressions that she experienced as an African-American woman and lesbian who both experienced and witnessed violence. Her work lends powerful words to these experiences. For example, in “Progeny” Parker writes, “It is difficult/to teach my child/the beauty of flowers/in a field/at the same time/I warn her about/the dangers of/open spaces.” Plain-spoken, but rhythmic and musical, Parker’s verse brings humor and pathos to readers and listeners. During her lifetime, Parker’s work circulated as widely as the work of Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, and Judy Grahn. Revered as poet, Parker also was a member of the Women’s Press Collective, the first lesbian-feminist publishing collective in the United States, founded in 1969. Today, Parker’s contributions as a publisher and a poet have fallen into obscurity, but a new edition of The Complete Works of Pat Parker will be released in April 2016.

The New Black Femininity
Elizabeth Acevedo, Tafisha Edwards, Dawn Lundy Martin, Katy Richey, Venus Thrash
Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives Room 300 [Map]
Thursday, April 14, 2:00pm – 3:30pm

Photo by Kristin Adair.
Borrowing its name from the 2014 festival session “The New Black Masculinity,” this session will discuss the redefinition of Black Femininity in a modern context. What is Black Femininity? How is it personified and by whom? How can Black women subvert monolithic archetypes of Black womanhood in mainstream imagery? If hetero-white constructs represent the standard of feminine persona, how do black women understand and illustrate their own feminine identity? How do innovation, multi-ethnicity, gender performance, and vulnerability influence these evolving identities? Panelists will share their work and discuss their own relationships to and identifications of Black femininity.

Bois in Color – A Reading on Queerness & Race
Cameron Awkward-Rich, Chen Chen, Hieu Minh Nguyen, Danez Smith
University of California Washington Center (UCDC) Auditorium [Map]
Friday, April 15 11:30am – 1:00pm

In moments like ours, when the fact of racist violence “re-emerges” everywhere we look, there is an understandable tendency to retreat into single-issue politics--to claim Audre Lorde as black but not lesbian, or to strip Bayard Rustin of his homosexuality--which nonetheless participates in the murderous flattening of poc lives. Against this impulse, our work as queer bois of color asks: what can queerness teach us about race, about resistance, about productive masculinities, about flourishing? This event will consist of each presenter offering a brief account of how their work fits into this larger conversation, followed by a reading, and will conclude with time set aside for a Q&A.

Can You See Us? Policed Black Womanhood
Destiny Birdsong, April Gibson, Kateema Lee, Katy Richey, Nafissa Thompson-Spires
Institute for Policy Studies Conference Room [Map]
Friday, April 15 11:30am – 1:00pm

This reading will feature the work of black women writers who employ a range of craft approaches to writing the policed black woman's body, particularly when it is complicated by identity constructs such as poverty, (mental) illness, differing abilities, and addiction. Recent media coverage of the murders of black men has raised awareness about the vulnerability of black male bodies. However, the dehumanizing effects of policing are not treated with the same urgency for black women, whose multiple subjectivities place them in a constant police state. Everyone from police officers to doctors are trying to control, cure, or (as is the case in pop culture) reduce black women to commodified parts. In response, four poets and one fiction writer at various stages of their careers will read work that explores how such bodies are policed, how this policing informs our writing lives, and how we respond in ways that signal empowerment and rearticulation. The audience will be asked to participate in an interactive art project, and we will host a Q&A after the reading.
Photo by Kristin Adair.

Physical Bodies and Poetic Bones
Diana Smith Bolton, Marlena Chertock, Leeya Mehta, Sarah Sansolo, Tyler Vile
Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives Room 101 [Map]
Friday, April 15 11:30am – 1:00pm

This panel will discuss body image and bodily integrity through the lens of female experience. Poetry carves a space that is inclusive and experimental, while still acknowledging and respecting poetic tradition and heritage. As poets, we contain multitudes beyond the straight, white, male experience. This panel will attempt to address the complex realities of the female body and identification (or rejection) of it as lived through poetry. Further, there are social and political implications for individuals whose bodies do not conform to the dominant media standard, such as through disability, racial identity, and gender identity. In recognition of emerging social justice for LGBT individuals and the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, this panel will explore how poets can channel the physical body into their poems to explore the physical and non-physical. This panel includes group discussion, poetry readings, and take-home workshop materials.

Attention! Women At Work: Madwomen in the Attic
Tess Barry, Sheila Carter-Jones, Celeste Gainey, Emily Mohn-Slate, Maritza Mosquera
Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives Room 300 [Map]
Friday, April 15 2:00am – 3:30pm

In an era when women still struggle to find open and diverse spaces to write and share their work, the fostering of grassroots poetry communities for women has never been more necessary. Four diverse poets from Pittsburgh’s Madwomen in the Attic writing community, directed by Jan Beatty at Carlow University, will speak to the importance of Madwomen in their lives personally and politically. We will discuss the ways Madwomen acts as an inclusive community for women writers, and as a force for empowerment in the larger community, and how we continually strive to improve in this area. Through its creative writing workshops, annual print anthology, local and national reading series, and mentorship program — Madwomen has built an inclusive community in which words are channeled into challenging and powerful art. This roundtable will be interactive. Each presenter will speak briefly about her experience as a member of the Madwomen in the Attic, while highlighting dynamic and essential aspects of the program. Using Madwomen as a model, we will involve participants in a discussion about how to enact, in their own localities, artistic and grassroots community-building, by and for women of all ages, ethnicities, and classes, through the medium of poetry.

Queer Pan-Latinidad: A LBGTQ Latina/o Poetry Reading
Rosebud Ben-Oni, Nívea Castro, Denice Frohman, Rigoberto González, Darrel Alejandro Holnes, Ruben Quesada
Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives Room 102 [Map]
Friday, April 15 2:00am – 3:30pm

Queerness and Latinidad both offer spaces to explore the complex, messy, and undefined parts of LGBTQ Latino/a poets. To combine both is to honor the queerness in Latinidad, and the Latinidad in queerness. Five Latina/o poets explore the diversity of Queer Latinidad, representations of marginalized communities such as Afro-Latino and Central American, and queer issues of racism and class. A question and answer session will follow the poetry reading, in order to engage with the audience on the rich complexities and nuances of Queer and/or Latino/a identity in 21st century poetry and poetics.

Talk Back to Clobber Texts – in Poetry!
Phyllis Meshulam, Tracy Gold
AFL-CIO Murray Green Conference Room [Map]
Friday, April 15 2:00am – 3:30pm

“Clobber passages” is a term referring to verses in the Bible used to justify discrimination against gay people. These verses are a rich source of inspiration for talk-back poems, and there are many other sources that should be reclaimed and challenged via poetry. In this session, we will use poetry to talk back to messages from any source promoting racism, sexism, militarism, environmental degradation, or inciting domination, exclusivity, and intolerance. Maybe we’ll re-tell the story, interrupting it with our own thoughts, characters. Maybe we’ll use erasure to chisel at the text until a story of acceptance or empowerment emerges. Maybe we’ll use a passage as an epigraph/introduction, then take off, fleshing out our own sensory visions of a better world. There’s beautiful language in many of these texts, and their familiar narratives hold some authority. We can leverage that language or respond in our own voices. The workshop leaders will provide texts (and sample poems), but you can also bring your own – from scripture, myths and folktales to campaign literature, pop music, propositions, statutes and advertisements. Then we’ll make kick-ass poetry!

Increasing Queer Visibility through Independent Publication: A Reading and Discussion
Mónica Teresa Ortiz, Miguel M. Morales, Sarah Maria Medina, Raquel Gutiérrez, César Ramos
Institute for Policy Studies Conference Room [Map]
Friday, April 15, 4:00pm – 5:30pm

The representation of the queer Latina/Latino community in mainstream imagery is limited to a vision lacking depth and complexity. Usually fixating on a cultural stereotype or a pre-conceived notion of sexuality, often marginalized if it does not adhere itself to exploitation. Contemporary queer Latina/Latino poets, editors, and publishers are creating their own spaces that allow for the exploration of other messages such as; identity, organizing, writing, family, and social justice. Through the discussion of these fundamental themes we hope to increase visibility, foster solidarity, and raise awareness of diverse representations of the queer Latina/Latino community. Featured authors of Raspa Magazine, a queer Latino literary magazine, will read and discuss their work, their experience with independent publications, and the challenges faced in order to maintain such mediums viable.

Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workspace
Sandra Beasley, Jan Beatty, Rosebud Ben-Oni, Susan Eisenberg, Bonnie Morris, Marianne Szlyk, Cindy Williams Gutiérrez, Laura Madeline Wiseman, Carolyne Wright
Beacon Hotel
Saturday, April 16 9:30am – 11:00am

In January 2009, after President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, his first legislative act after taking office, poet Carolyne Wright wanted to hear from women about their workplace experiences—not just pay and promotion inequity, or workplace harassment and intimidation, but all matters relevant to women and work in an increasingly globalized world, including the ever-widening range of occupations in which women are engaged. Wright and her co-editors set out to edit an anthology of poetry about women in the workplace, knowing that it would be a daunting, yet important task. “Raising Lilly Ledbetter” brings together voices of women poets in the work-spaces they occupy: from cotton rows to corner suites, trawlers to typing pools, nursing stations to space stations, factory floors to faculty offices. These voices bear witness to women’s workplace lives, and act to re-envision and re-figure the world of work for women.

Fracture: Reading & Discussion by Contemporary Korean American Female Poets
Marci Calabretta, Anna Maria Hong, Arlene Kim, EJ Koh
Human Rights Campaign Room 105 C [Map]
Saturday, April 16 2:00pm – 3:30pm

Muriel Rukeyeser asked, “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” Award-winning poets discuss difficult truths about struggling with the complexities and responsibilities of identifying themselves as Korean American female poets, seeking to answer practical and political issues that arise from living on the hyphen between “Asian” and “American.” Presenters also examine how their work is situated in the fractured identities they claim.

Out Shout! Lesbian Poets Praise Arktoi Books
Elizabeth Bradfield, Ching-In Chen, Celeste Gainey, Rita Mae Reese, Verónica Reyes
Human Rights Campaign Room 105 AB [Map]
Saturday, April 16 2:00pm – 3:30pm

In 2006, feminist activist and queer poet, Eloise Klein Healy, established Arktoi Books, an imprint of Red Hen Press, for the sole purpose of publishing literary works of high quality by lesbians. Arktoi’s mission is to give lesbian writers more access to “the conversation” that having a book in print affords. Over the past 10 years, Arktoi has published eight books, five of them full-length poetry collections by first-time lesbian authors. Empowered by Arktoi, these poets have all gone on to national attention and acclaim, their poetry and singular points of view a part of the provocative global conversation on gender, sexual identity, and queer culture. In celebration of Arktoi’s tenth anniversary, all five poets will read from their Arktoi collections as well as from work published more recently. As well, each poet will speak briefly about the ways in which publication by Arktoi has influenced and supported their choice of personal and artistic identity within the chaos of a burgeoning gender-fluid culture. This reading will be interactive, with time set aside for audience questions and open dialogue.

No comments: