Friday, April 27, 2012

Chicana writer credits immigrant women with crucial leadership Raised in a barrio of Phoenix, author Christina López learned about racial bigotry when strangers would tell at her to go back to Mexico -- despite the fact her family has roots in the Southwest that predate U.S. borders. Her mother encouraged her to stand up, be proud of her heritage and always fight for what's right. Taking these words to heart, López began a lifetime of community organizing. As part of MEChA, a Chicana/o student group, she campaigned against the passage of a racist English-only law in Arizona. In 2005, López became the president of Seattle Radical Women, a socialist feminist organization, where she helped lead the chapter in defense of immigrant rights, union campaigns, and reproductive justice, and in opposition to police brutality, U.S. wars, and budget cuts targeting the most vulnerable. López is currently the U.S. vice-presidential candidate on the Freedom Socialist Party slate. She is also the author of a newly published work on the struggles of immigrant women. Pairing careful research with personal passion, Estamos en la Lucha: Immigrant Women Light the Fires of Resistance examines the fighting spirit that immigrant women bring to social movements despite formidable barriers. The 40-page, highly readable pamphlet offers a poignant look at the specific conditions faced by both documented and undocumented immigrant women. It explores the role of xenophobia, economic reliance on immigrants, the military-industrial-prison-border complex, and how female militancy impacts the labor movement. Estamos en la Lucha also addresses roadblocks to an effective defense of immigrant rights, including what López calls a "go slow, aim low…recipe for limited gains," "dead-end" reliance on the Democratic or Republican parties, and sexism. López offers concrete examples of women "actively creating dynamic strategies of resistance and solidarity" between Latina/o immigrants, newcomers from other regions of the world, and U.S. residents of all races. According to López, "Immigrant women have the power and need to form a united multi-issue movement to confront xenophobia, violence, labor abuses and free trade." "Ultimately," says the author, "the issue of immigrant rights is a problem of ethnic, racial and gender justice for the world's most oppressed workers. Foreign-born and native-born workers share a common class interest." Estamos en la Lucha: Immigrant Women Light the Fires of Resistance can be purchased from or from # # # Estamos en la Lucha: Immigrant Women Light the Fires of Resistance By Christina López Publication date: March 30, 2012 * Radical Women Publications * $5.00 * 40 pages ISBN: 978-0-9725403-9-1 For a review copy or to arrange an interview with Christina López call 206-722-6057 or email From: Radical Women, 5018 Rainier Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98118 206-722-6057 * *
THE EIGHTH ANNUAL GOLDEN CROWN LITERARY CONFERENCE JUNE 13-17, 2012 MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA Register now to prepare for the upcoming Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) Conference Lambda Award winning author Jewelle Gomez will be the keynote speaker for the 2012 Eighth Annual GCLS Literary Conference. Gomez is a writer and activist who is also the recipient of a literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, two California Arts Council fellowships and an Individual Artist Commission from the San Francisco Arts Commission. She is the author of the award-winning novel, The Gilda Stories, which has been in print since its publication in 1991 and is taught in classrooms across the country. Her fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in numerous periodicals, among them: The San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, The Village Voice; Ms Magazine, ESSENCE Magazine, The Advocate, and Black Scholar. Anthologies have included Home Girls, Reading Black, Reading Feminist, Swords of the Rainbow, The Best Lesbian Erotica of 1997 and Dark Matter. Her other publications include three collections of poetry-- The Lipstick Papers, Flamingoes and Bears and Oral Tradition. She is also the author of a book of essays called Forty-Three Septembers and a collection of short fiction, Don’t Explain. Gomez was born and raised in Boston. Her background is Native American, African American and Cape Verdean and her writing has always meaningfully explored ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality. This year’s conference will offer author panels, seminars/workshops for readers and writers and social events such as pool parties, karaoke night and special activities for new attendees. The final night of the event will be presentation of the Goldies, the annual Golden Crown Literary Awards. Since the first Goldies were awarded in 2005, the categories have expanded from three to twelve. This year, more than three dozen book awards will be given, along with the Trailblazer Award, the Directors’ Award and the Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award. The Golden Crown Literary Conference is the best opportunity for readers, authors, editors, publishers, aspiring writers, and media to learn about and meet colleagues as they explore lesbian literature. Membership in the GCLS is not required to attend. For more about the conference, as well as a schedule, please visit the GCLS website at Registration is currently underway. The Mission of the Golden Crown Literary Society The Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) is a literary and educational organization for the enjoyment, discussion, and enhancement of lesbian literature. Our goals are to support and strengthen quality lesbian literature by providing places for readers and writers to interact, to encourage and assist new writers and established authors, and to recognize and promote lesbian work ###

Monday, March 12, 2012

Robin Becker Chapbook Prize Submissions Open

Announcing the Robin Becker Chapbook Prize, awarded annually to two LGBTQ poets. The submission period is currently open until April 16 (since the 15th falls on a Sunday this year). This series began in 2008 with Judith Barrington's Lost Lands; the most recent titles, selected last year by Barrington, are slated for release in March and April: Ellen Goldberg's Each Perfect One and D. Gilson's Catch & Release.

Complete details and guidelines about the Robin Becker Chapbook Series, and all Seven Kitchens Press titles, can be found at the Seven Kitchens Press site:

Ron Mohring does amazing work as a publisher at Seven Kitchens Press. Check out his books (including my chapbook, Sisterhood!) and submit to the contest to support his important work.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2012

Just two more days for the advance registration rate for the Split This Rock Poetry Festival!

From the Split This Rock website:
Poetry by and for the 99%!
March 22-25, 2012
Washington, DC

Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness invites poets, writers, activists, and dreamers to Washington, DC for four days of poetry, community building, and creative transformation. The festival features readings, workshops, panel discussions, youth programming, parties, activism—opportunities to speak out for justice, build connection and community, and celebrate the many ways poetry can act as an agent for social change.

As people’s movements ignite here at home and throughout the world in response to economic inequality, political repression, and environmental degradation, the festival will consider the relationship of poets and poetry to power and to the challenges to power. We will also celebrate the life and work of poet-essayist-teacher-activist June Jordan on the 10th anniversary of her death.

Split This Rock calls poets to a greater role in public life and fosters a national network of socially engaged poets. Building the audience for poetry of provocation & witness from our home in the nation’s capital, we celebrate poetic diversity and the transformative power of the imagination. Please join us in March!

I'll be presenting with Eryca Kasse and Bonnie Morris on the collection, Milk & Honey: A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, 22 March 2012. You can see the schedule for that day here.

Easily register online here

Please join us for this panel and all of the great happenings at the festival!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Call for Poems for Anthology edited by Megan Volpert and published by Sibling Rivalry Press

Sibling Rivalry Press is seeking submissions for an anthology scheduled for publication in August 2013. This assignment is so gay: LGBTIQ Poets on the Art of Teaching, edited by Megan Volpert, will be the first-ever anthology to feature an international roster of LGBTIQ poets writing about and from the teacher's perspective. Whether elementary or collegiate, public or private, the school is an institutional battleground for representations of queer culture. This book will examine the joyous burden that is the experience of LGBTIQ teachers, an inherently valuable and until now relatively invisible piece of the educational puzzle.

Submit up to five previously unpublished poems.
Poems must engage some aspect of teaching, but need not be explicitly queer-themed.
Author must identify as LGBTIQ.
Submission period is open January 1 through June 1, 2012.
Authors can expect reply by July 1, 2012.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Barbara Grier, A Life Of Lesbians and Books

I was at NWSA when I saw an email about Barbara Grier dying. I was in shock for most of the conference and now today it is just slowly sinking in that she has left us. I am deeply saddened.

There is an excellent piece by Victoria Brownworth over at Lambda Literary:

Victoria gives a good overview of Barbara's life and work. Here are some other tidbits:

Jeannette Howard Foster wrote and published Sex-Variant Women in Literature in 1956 which is really the first book that defines a canon of lesbian literature. Foster was a librarian and read three other languages so she included all of those in her review of literature with lesbian themes. (For a delightful biography of Foster, see Joann Passet's book Sex Variant Woman). Grier searched out Foster and the two became good friends. Grier advocated for the republication of Sex-Variant Women in Literature by Diana Press and when Diana Press ceased publishing it, Grier republished it at Naiad Press.

Grier kept all of her notes about books on note cards. There are about 30 linear feet of note cards on lesbian literature at the SFPL. It is mind-blowing to me how organized she was with cataloging lesbian literature.

Grier was also a regular reviewer of books with lesbian themes in them. Many of these reviews were published in The Ladder and she collected them in a book called Lesbiana published in the early 1970s.

Grier could sniff out a lesbian from a book anywhere. Grier wrote about Mary Oliver's first book in 1967 (I think) that it would be sensuous and interesting to lesbians. Oliver didn't formally come out until 2002.

Grier was a prodigious letter writer. She estimated that she wrote 300 letters a week. At a typewriter or by hand. Astonishing.

Grier worked in a variety of jobs - generally so that she could have access to a free long distance telephone line. (Some remember that in the old days, we paid by the minute for long distance phone calls; barbaric, I know). The job that she was especially good at was bill collection. She could whip through her calls, collect the money (she apparently had extraordinarily high collection rates - this is by her account and she does have a bit of braggadocio, so take that for what it is worth), and then make her calls to organize lesbians.

She was a voracious reader and her literary tastes ran the gamut. I don't think it is an understatement to say that Gertrude Stein has popularity among lesbians in part because of Barbara Grier. She published a stand alone edition of Tender Buttons which before that was by and large unavailable to common readers. She also brought out an edition of Renee Vivien's work which sparked the scholarship on lesbians in France between the wars. Literary poetry though in Grier's mind and life was on the same shelf as mystery and romance. In the end, I think Grier's tastes were both profoundly ecumenical and strategically profitable.

She was savagely attacked for selling a serialization of Lesbian Nuns to Penthouse Forum in 1985. Yet, she insisted that she wanted to reach lesbian readers wherever they were, including readers of Penthouse and in fact there are a number of letters to her condemning her for including the serialization in Penthouse from women who said they saw it there because they were subscribers and find it erotically satisfying (my words at the end there, not theirs!)

She was an extraordinarily savvy business woman. She sold books profitably. She recognized by the mid-1980s that lesbians were going to buy movies on VHS and sold those profitably.

In addition to being a savvy business woman, she was extraordinarily principled. Many disagreed with her principles, but they really shine through in all of her work. Lesbians first. Real images of lesbians. Real images of lesbian sexuality. Debate and engagement as a part of community.

I am extraordinarily sad about her death. She was a literary giant. No one quite fills her shoes in the lesbian community right now and I hope that we won't look back and write that Grier was the end of an era because there still is more work to do. I hope that wherever Barbara Grier is tonight she is finding it a place filled with good lesbian books and plenty of time to read them.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lambda Literary Foundation Announces
New Guidelines for Lambda Literary Awards Submissions

CONTACT: Dr. Judith Markowitz, LLF Co-Chair
(773) 769-9243,

For its first 20 years, the Lambda Literary Foundation accepted submissions for the Lambda Literary Awards based solely on a book's LGBT subject matter. That policy changed in 2009 to restrict the awards to self-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer authors. After two years of implementing the LGBT-only policy, the queer book community remains sharply divided about limiting Lammy nominations to LGBT authors only.

In its review of the LGBT-only policy, the LLF Board of Trustees took into consideration LLF's mission statement

The Lambda Literary Foundation nurtures, celebrates, and preserves LGBT literature through programs that honor excellence, promote visibility and encourage development of emerging writers.

and core provisions in its Bylaws. The Board also noted that the large majority of finalists and winners of the Lambda Literary Awards have been LGBT authors, but not all of them. There have also been a small number of outstanding books about LGBT lives written by our heterosexual allies.

In addition, the LLF Board solicited opinions from individuals in the LGBT book community, including publishers, authors, important donors, readers, and casual supporters. Those opinions represented both sides of the issue and were, in many cases, intensely held.

After careful consideration of all these factors, the Board crafted a new policy designed to honor excellence in writing about LGBT lives. The new policy has three components:

LGBT authors will be recognized with three awards marking stages of a writer's career: the Betty Berzon Debut Fiction Award (to one gay man and one lesbian), the Jim Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize (to one male-identified and one female-identified author), and the Pioneer Award (to one male-identified and one female-identified individual or group)
Awards for the remaining Lambda Literary Award categories will be based on literary merit and significant content relevant to LGBT lives. These awards will be open to all authors regardless of their sexual identity
All book award judges will be self-identified LGBT
"We fully understand the importance of this issue and the extent to which it has divided our community," said LLF Board Co-Chair, Dr. Judith Markowitz. "Resolving these strongly-held differences was not easy. We worked carefully keeping in mind the best interests of LGBT people, writing, and writers."

She continued, "The policy we've crafted recognizes that those opposing viewpoints are actually contained in LLF's mission. We hope that the result of our deliberations promotes healing and strengthens LGBT writers and literature."

The revised guidelines appear on the LLF website. They are effective immediately in preparation for the 24th Annual Lambda Literary Awards to be held in New York City in early June 2012.


The Lambda Literary Foundation nurtures, celebrates, and preserves LGBT literature through programs that honor excellence, promote visibility and encourage development of emerging writers. LLF's programs include: the Lambda Literary Awards, the Writers' Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices, and our comprehensive website, For more information call (213) 568-3570.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Milk and Honey Schedule of Reading Events

Milk and Honey -- A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry! West Coast Book Launch! Join contributors Joan Annsfire, Ellen Bass, and Elana Dykewomon in moving us toward a new year and new inspirations
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 6:30 p.m.
James C. Hormel Center at the San Francisco Public Library
Co-Sponsored by Keshet and the East Bay JCC
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA

Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 10:30 p.m. EST
Radio Interview with Lara Zelinsky on BlogTalkRadio
For more information and to tune in, go to:

Monday, October 10th, 7:00 p.m.
Reading at Bluestockings

172 Allen
New York, NY
Featuring Joanna Hoffman and Eleanor Levine
All other contributors are invited to join us and read at this event!

Tuesday, October 11th, 6:30 p.m.
Reading at The City College of New York, sponsored by The Simon H. Rifkind Center

160 Convent Avenue
New York, NY 10031
Featuring Sandra Tarlin, Hilary Lustick, Rose Fox, and Sima Rabinowitz

Saturday, 12 November 2011 Time TBD
Reading at Charis Books & More in Atlanta, GA

Megan Volpert has graciously coordinated this event which will be held in Atlanta during the National Women's Studies Association Conference. I will be attending and reading with Megan, Lisa Dordal, and Batya Weinbaum. All other contributors are invited to join us for this event.

Sunday, 13 November 2011 Time TBD
Reading at Location TBD in Atlanta, GA

Sunday, 18 December 2011 at 5 p.m.
Sunday Kinds of Love Reading Series
Busboys & Poets

14th & V. Street
Washington, DC
Eryca Kasse and I are the featured readers for half the program; Ahron Taub is the other featured reader.

Reading/Celebration of Milk and Honey at Split This Rock! - March 22-25, 2012

Eryca Kasse secured a reading and celebration for Milk and Honey in conjunction with the 2012 Split This Rock conference, March 22-25. We don't have the time and location yet, but when we do, I'll let you know. Meanwhile, feel free to make plans to join us.
More information about Split This Rock here: