Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lesbian Print Culture, 1969-1989: Class Presentation

Read “A History of Lesbianism” by Judy Grahn.
(I’m not putting this on the blog because if you are reading this, please go to www.redhen.org and purchase Grahn’s new collection, love belongs to those who do the feeling. The poem is in the book.)
This poem first appeared in Edward the Dyke and Other Poems, Grahn’s “first, woman-produced, mimeographed book.” In reflecting in 1984 on why she titled the collection, Grahn wrote, “for two reasons: first, by insisting that Edward was a poem, I was telling myself that women must define what our poetry is. I believe this about every other aspect of our lives also. Secondly, it meant people had to say the word dyke.”
Grahn’s self-reflections on her work begin to open up some of the inquiries that my project considers. Edward the Dyke and Other Poems is an early example of a print product from the Women’s Liberation Movement – and the poems appear in multiple other publications during the time period of my concern. Grahn notes that she is with her poems engaged in defining what women are – and what lesbians are.
One of the challenging things in my project is how to define lesbian, feminism, and lesbian-feminism. The usage of these terms in the archive is fluid; they are being defined and negotiated through the poetry and by the people within my inquiry. What, besides time, creates the boundaries for my inquiry? What poetry is classified as lesbian, or lesbian-feminist? What is excluded? What activities and print publications are classified as lesbian or lesbian-feminist? And what are excluded? Part of my response to this challenge, in addition to a temporal limitation, is to look geographically. I think this presents a useful framework, though still an incomplete trope for writing and understanding this history.
This grounding in time and location comes not only from standard scholarly practices, but also from the print culture that I am studying. In Amazon Poetry, a collection of lesbian poetry published in 1975, the poets were organized according to the aesthetics of the anthologists. In Lesbian Poetry, published in 1981, the poets are organized chronologically by date of birth and their biographies at the end of the book include their geographic location. It was important to the anthologists in the second iteration of the anthology to organize poets generationally and to situate them geographically. Part of the intention of my research project is to do that not just for the individual poets but for the ‘movement of poets.’
What prompts someone to create and distribute printed material? And why is it important? These are two questions implicit in my work in this project. I’d like to briefly consider them through two items from the time of my concern. The first, a chapbook, published by Out & Out Books, a publisher in Brooklyn, NY, is the reprint of a speech given by Adrienne Rich at the New York Lesbian Pride Rally on June 26, 1977. It is titled “The Meaning of Our Love for Women Is What We Have Constantly to Expand.” This is the second printing and corresponds with the revised text that was published in Rich’s On Lies, Secrets, and Silence. The first printing had original text and was published within weeks of the pride rally. The publisher, on the back of the chapbook, prints, “This is the first in a series of pamphlets documenting ideas important in the evolution of lesbian/feminism.” Perhaps that tells us what we need to know about this document.
The fifth issue of Sinister Wisdom, published in 1978 from Charlotte, North Carolina, contains an essay by one of the founders Harriet Desmoines, titled “READING and WRITING and PUBLISHING: Retrieved from Silence.” The essay, about Daughters, Inc. Press, recounts Desmoines’ discovering that she is a lesbian by reading lesbian novels, particularly ones by June Arnold and Rita Mae Brown. Through the essay, Desmoines explores how “reading about, writing about, talking about, listening to what might save wymyn as a class.” She concludes with this passage,
What is it I so want? Only this: the witch’s doing. The power to transform energy. The power to juggle spheres of sound, the power to keep them in the air, the power to transmute the tumbling words into mirrors, crystal spheres glinting in the sun, reflecting doe wymyn, panther wymyn, gazelle wymyn. . . . .
Desmoines intentions for her writing and her publishing are florid in relief to the intentions of Out & Out Books. Yet both want to communicate between and among women interested in these ideas. I suppose at a most basic level, I want to do the same. Within this reading and close examination of archival materials and print and cultural products, there lies some knowledge to be excavated and produced. I hope that by listening and documenting, this knowledge will tells us all a bit more about how we lived then, how we live today, and how we might live in the future.
Grahn noted about Edward the Dyke, “What would Amy Lowell say to this? She would probably offer me a cigar.” Someday, I hope to join the two of them in that celebration.

Cool Things: Flashlight Worthy Books

An old internet buddy of mine is one of the geniuses (genii?) behind Flashlight Worthy Books. I adapted two lists from my blogs for them. Check them out:

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Oh Leonard, I owe all the happiness of my life to you.

It was on this day in 1941 that the novelist Virginia Woolf drowned herself in the river Ouse, near her country home in Sussex in southeast England. She suffered from periods of depression for many years, and modern scholars believe she may have been manic depressive, also known as bi-polar.
Woolf, (books by this author) wrote in her diaries about her volatile mood swings. She would often be thrown into depression by her conviction that her writing wasn't good enough. But then she would get herself out of the depression by thinking of a new idea for a book.
She was relatively healthy for most of the 1920s, when she published Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927). But she struggled with her book The Years (1937). She wrote in her diary, "Seldom have I been more completely miserable than I was ... reading over the last part of The Years. Such feeble twaddle — such twilight gossip — it seemed; such a show up of my own decrepitude."
Her mood grew worse as WWII broke out in 1939. She and her husband moved to their country house, which was under the flight path of the German bombers. By March of 1941, she was writing in her diary that she had fallen into "a trough of despair." She wrote, "It's difficult, I find, to write. No audience. No private stimulus, only this outer roar."
Finally, she wrote three letters, possibly as much as 10 days before she committed suicide. The longest letter was to her husband, Leonard. She wrote: "I feel certain that I am going mad again ... I shant recover this time ... I cant fight any longer. ...What I want to say is that I owe all the happiness of my life to you. ... I dont think two people could have been happier than we have been."
Woolf left the letters where her husband would find them and walked a half mile to a nearby river and put a heavy stone in the pocket of her fur coat before jumping into the water.
The novelist Elizabeth Bowen visited Woolf just a month before her death. Bowen wrote about Virginia: "I remember her kneeling back on the floor ... and she sat back on her heels and put her head back in a patch of sun, early spring sun. Then she laughed in this consuming, choking, delightful, hooting way. And that is what has remained with me."
From The Writer’s Almanac.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Queer Art/Queer Action (Politics of Possibility) Conference Asheville, NC

Tomorrow afternoon, the beloved and I get into our little buggy and head down to Asheville, NC for the Queer Art/Queer Action conference. It promises to be a great gathering of queer artists and scholars from throughout the region. You can see the full conference agenda here.

I’ll be presenting on the Lesbian Poetry Archive on Friday morning at 9 a.m. If you are reading this an near Asheville, come along! It will be fun and, well, we always need a bigger audience at 9 a.m.

If you are not near Asheville, I’ve linked my presentation here for you to review.


You can always go to the Lesbian Poetry Archive and see what is happening there. I know my weekend will be fabulous. I hope yours will be, too.

WMST 621: Light the World Afire

“The Root of Oppression is the Loss of Memory: The Iroquois and the Early Feminist Vision” from The Untold Story of the Iroquois Influence on Early Feminists by Sally Roesch Wagner.

In this chapter, Wagner is working through a number of projects. First, and foremost from the title, she is working to demonstrate the ways that Iroquois thought influenced early feminists. She does this by showing how Matilda Joslyn Gage and Elizabeth Cady Stanton studied and were influenced by the Iroquois confederation near where each of them lived. Wagner quotes extensively from published articles by Gage who was also “an amateur ethnologist.” Wagner demonstrates how property rights, the right to children, and a broader sense of rights within a society were given to women in the Iroquois nations. Another of Wagner’s project in this article is to demonstrate the centrality and primacy of Gage to nineteenth century feminism. Earlier in the article Wagner refers to a triumvirate of Stanton, Anthony, and Gage, but in fact as the article expands, Gage takes the center stage and a quick search of Wagner’s scholarly interests indicates that Gage is a central historical character of concern for her.

“ReRooting American Women’s Activism: Global Perspectives on 1848” by Nancy A. Hewitt.

Nancy Hewitt is making two intellectual moves in thinking about the Seneca Falls Convention in this article. First, she is putting the convention and the historical moment of the convention in a framework that extends beyond what is happening in the United States. For instance she talks about revolutions happening in Europe, the publication of The Communist Manifesto that year, and the arrival of Chinese immigrants to California for the first time. Second, she centers Lucretia Mott as an intellectual leader of the movement and by doing that is able to trace a different intellectual genealogy for the women’s movement thereafter and the impact of the Seneca Falls Convention.

Words of Fire, edited by Beverly Guy-Sheftall.

Guy-Sheftall positions Words of Fire as a remedy to “the history of American feminism” as “primarily a narrative about the heroic deeds of white women” mentioning Schneir’s Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings as a prime example of the issue. In response to this history, Guy-Sheftall assembles a gathering of voices of African-American women from 1831 until the present. She divides the anthology into seven parts. “Beginnings: In Defense of Our Race and Sex, 1831-1900” includes writings of Maria Miller Stewart, Sojourner Truth, Frances E. W. Harper, Anna Julia Cooper, Julia A. J. Foote, Gertrude Bustill Mossell, Mary Church Terrell, and Ida Wells-Barnett. “Triumph and Tribulations: Defining Black Womanhood, 1920-1957” includes writing from Elise Johnson McDougald, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Amy Garvey, Sadie Tanner Mosell Alexander, Florynce “Flo” Kennedy, Claudia Jones, and Lorraine Hansberry. “Civil Rights and Women’s Liberation: Racial/Sexual Politics in the Angry Decades” the third chapter includes Frances Beale, Mary Ann Weathers, Linda La Rue, Patricia Haden, Donna Middleton, Patricia Robinson, Pauli Murray, Angela Davis and Michele Wallace. “Beyond the Margins: Black Women Claiming Feminism” includes the statement from the Combahee River Colletive, Cheryl Clarke, Barbara Smith, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Deborah K. King, Jacquelyn Grant, and Patricia Hill Collins. “The Body Politic: Sexuality, Violence, and Reproduction” is the fifth chapter with contributions from Barbara Omolade, Darlene Clark Hine, Shirley Chisholm, Beth E. Richie, June Jordan, Paula Giddings, Pearl Cleage, and Evelynn Hammonds. “Reading the Academy,” the sixth chapter, includes three contributors, Margaret Walker Alexander, Gloria Joseph, and Elizabeth Higginbotham. Finally, the seventh chapter, “Discourses of Resistance: Interrogating Black Nationalist Ideologies” with contributions from Pauline Terrelonge, E. Frances White, Barbara Ransby and Tracye Matthews, and Alice Walker. An epilogue is provided by Johnnetta B. Cole, then President of Spelman College.

So besides correcting a historical wrong, what is Guy-Sheftall doing with this anthology? First, she is constructing an intellectual history for herself and for Black feminism. The recuperative work that she does in this anthology is important and the way that she is doing it within a community of scholars is evident within the anthology as well. I think of how she writes about the work that Nell Painter is doing on Sojourner Truth’s biography within this text. Not only is that discussion a gesture to scholarly transparency of how things are and will continue to evolve, but it also demonstrates the embedded community of scholarly inquiry in which Guy-Sheftall is as well as the community that she wants to construct for her own intellectual history – and for others to access.

The second thing that Guy-Sheftall is doing is creating a more complicated and nuanced understanding of African-American feminist thought. On one hand, Guy-Sheftall is producing a narrative about black feminist thought in which race and gender are embedded and inseparable characteristics, something that was a consensus position by the time this anthology was first published, but on the other hand she is extending and further nuancing black feminist thought. By recovering histories of radicals like Claudia Jones and putting them in dialogue with critiques of black nationalism for instance, Guy-Sheftall is pressing conversations forward for greater depth and new understandings.

The third thing that Guy-Sheftall is doing is producing an anthology for teaching purposes. This is after all an anthology for women’s studies classrooms and for African-American studies classrooms. It gathers disparate texts that define critical issues in both disciplines for consumptions by undergraduate and graduate students.

Finally, I think that Guy-Sheftall is organizing some lines of inquiry and thinking for further engagement. In the anthology she definitely produces a historical narrative that generates new valences for historians and other scholars to consider. For instance, there is still recovery work to be done from this anthology in spite of the publishing that has been done in African-American history and literature. The full biography of Jones has been published within the past two or three years; a full biography of Lorraine Hansberry has yet to be produced (to my knowledge at least – if others know of one, I’d love to hear about it. I’ve only seen young adult biographies of her.) I read the fourth chapter as a major contribution to thinking of feminism as a movement in which Black women were central. The chapter on the body raises additional issues for scholarly engagement as well.

Questions to consider:

  • What historical and contemporary narratives is Guy-Sheftall interrupting with this anthology? How effective is her intervention? What new conversations does the book open or invite people to participate in?

  • What is the function of poets and creative writers in this text? She consciously includes a number of major poets and creative writers with pieces that are not within their genre work, but that are theoretical engagements. Is she making a statement with those inclusions?

  • What can we say about the form of theory that we have read both in this anthology and in the Schneir anthology? What forms and structures does feminist theory use? Where does it appear? What material and print conditions need to exist for it to be produced?

  • What about the polemic in feminist theory? What feeds it and what thwarts it?

  • Wagner builds her argument with extensive quotations from Gage, primarily. This is a very geeky, scholarly sort of question, but what do you make of it? On one hand with Wagner’s projects in the article, it is interesting to read the long quotations of Gage and it almost makes it so that Gage has a voice in the article, which I think is intentional. On the other hand, I find the excessively long quotations without contemporary analysis and reflection to be inadequate. I want Wagner to do a bit more with Gage’s words and to bring other complementary information to them. Another way of asking this question is, what in Wagner’s scholarly practice do you like and want to replicate and what might you eschew?

  • Wagner’s article raises for me those thorny questions about white women writing histories of communities of color. Wagner makes some moves that I am sympathetic to and appreciative of. For instance, she works to frame what the Iroquois people might have thought of the white people living among them. At the same time, I feel like there is an element of cultural appropriation to her argument. How is Wagner using Iroquois history in this article? What assumptions about native people does she make in building her argument and using the history? What value can we ascribe to it and what concerns or critiques does it raise?

  • What intrigued me about this chapter is the basic framework that Wagner is using, i.e. she is tracing the intellectual roots of Gage and Stanton in the Iroquois nation. What can we say about this framework that locates it in feminist epistemology that is tied to various historical strands of the Women’s Liberation Movement?

  • Am I too far along in graduate study to still be blown away by the power of reframing history? I probably am, but I was might intrigued and impressed by the work that Nancy Hewitt did in her article and the implications that such an argument has for changing how I think about history. I’m interested in two related questions: what other things might be “centered” in the nineteenth century that would change how we think about women’s rights in the nineteenth century and what changes might that create for our thinking and scholarship today? Secondly, what was the impact of the Stanton, Anthony, Gage publication on centering themselves? (For me this is interesting in terms of thinking about how print culture affects configurations of feminist movements and histories.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Blogger GRRRLS: New Textualities and Knowledge Building

I'll be presenting on a panel on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. at NYU at the 15th Biennial International Interdisciplinary Conference of the Society for Textual Scholarship. The panel is chaired by Martha Nell Smith from the University of Maryland and includes Katherine Franke of Columbia University School of Law, Marilee Lindemann of the University of Maryland, Lisa Honaker of Stockton St. University, and Meredith McGill of Rutgers University. Professor Franke's address is titled "'The Most Important Must be Spoken': Feminist Law Professors Blogging." You can read Dr. Franke's collective blog of feminist law professors here: http://feministlawprofessors.com/. Professor Lindemann's talk is titled "Queer Adventures of an English Professor in the Blogosphere;" she blogs here: http://roxies-world.blogspot.com/. Lisa Honaker will speak on "Musings on Teaching with/through Blogs."

My presentation and the accompanying powerpoint are here:




(N.B. The power point includes some small animation. It is also saved as a PDF if you'd like it in that format instead.)
Lesbian Herstory Archives

My mind is swimming from the six hours that I spent at the Lesbian Herstory Archives this week. In total, I've probably spent a scant twenty hours there over a number of trips to New York this year, but I love being there and doing research there. Some of the interesting things about the archive:

1. It is in a Brooklyn brownstone near Prospect Park. So approaching it, it feels more like going into someone's house (and indeed it was in Joan Nestle's home for many years) as opposed to going into an institutional location. I think this makes a difference in how to approach the work. Today, for the first time, I ate my lunch there. Yup, just popped open the peanut satay, mixed it up in the kitchen, microwaved it, and noshed. It was like taking a break at home.

2. All of the books are alphabetical by the author's first name. Yes, that's first name. It's a bit confusing at first. They are also sorted by category - poetry, novels, international. There is an element of randomness to it, but I like that because it's not randomness actually it is the result of years of thought and care by hundreds of lesbians operating as a collective. The files on individuals are also alphabetical by first name.

3. There are three boxes of material from Adrienne Rich.

4. Today I reviewed all of the issues of The Ladder. It's interesting to see how the issues and ideas about being a homosexual, homophile, lesbian, feminist change and evolve from 1956 until 1972 when the journal published. There is also a fascinating article or dissertation on lesbian comics. There are line drawings on the cover of The Ladder and comics inside. This would be an interesting topic and would of course include Alison Bechdel and the artist that draws Hothead Paisan (which is in the kitchen next to the photocopier at the LHA). If I didn't have enough to write already, I would write that.

5. You can make tea while you do your work at the Lesbian Herstory Archives.

6. I have more notes and copies and ideas than I'll ever be able to do anything with. This is the challenge of research - can't I just read it all and then never write about any of it?

If you haven't been to the Lesbian Herstory Archives and are around Brooklyn, make a plan to go. The hours are somewhat erratic, but posted monthly on their website. It's worth the trip. If you have material to donate, do it now. If you haven't made a gift, make a gift. Include them in your will and/or estate plan. We all need this institution!
Publishing Triangle Finalists: Bechdel, Ebershoff, Greer, Taylor

Winners will be announced in a ceremony at The New School on May 7.

LGBT Fiction
Alison Bechdel, The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For
David Ebershoff, The 19th Wife
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
Blair Mastbaum, Us Ones In Between
Ben Taylor, The Book of Getting Even
Ellen Wittlinger, Love and Lies

Lesbian Nonfiction
Regina Kunzel, Criminal Intimacy
Nancy Polikoff, Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage
Andrea Weiss, In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain

Gay Nonfiction
Linas Alsenas, Gay America
Bob Morris, Assisted Loving
Kai Wright, Drifting Toward Love

Lesbian Poetry
Elizabeth Bradfield, Interpretive Work
Maureen McLane, Same Life
Elaine Sexton, Causeway

Gay Poetry
Jericho Brown, Please,
Mark Doty, Fire to Fire
Ely Shipley, Boy with Flowers

Debut Fiction
Evan Fallenberg, Light Fell
Alistair McCartney, The End of the World Book
Shawn Stewart Ruff, Finlater

Lifetime Achievement
Martin Duberman

Monday, March 16, 2009


This year, 105 finalists representing 72 publishers are competing for awards in 22 categories.  Winners will be announced on Thursday, May 28, at a gala awards ceremony in New York. For tickets and more information, go to Awards Ceremony.


  • Open, Jenny Block, Seal Press

  • Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Love & Desire, Lisa M. Diamond, Harvard University Press

  • The Bishop's Daughter, Honor Moore, W.W. Norton

  • Kinsey Zero Through Sixty: Bisexual Perspectives on Kinsey, Ron Jackson Suresha, Taylor & Francis

  • Rimbaud, Edmund White, Atlas & Company


  • 10,000 Dresses, Marcus Ewert & Rex Ray, Seven Stories Press

  • Intersex (For Lack of a Better Word), Thea Hillman, Manic D Press

  • Two Truths and a Lie, Scott Schofield, Homofactus Press

  • Boy with Flowers, Ely Shipley, Barrow Street Press

  • Transgender History, Susan Stryker, Seal Press


  • A Casulty of War: Gay Short Fiction, Peter Burton, Arcadia Books

  • Live Through This, edited by Sabrina Chapadjiev, Seven Stories Press

  • Love, West Hollywood, edited by Chris Freeman and James J. Berg, Alyson

  • Our Caribbean, edited by Thomas Glave, Duke University Press

  • Big Trips: More Good Gay Travel Writing, edited by Raphael Kadushin, University of Wisconsin Press


  • Hit the Road, Manny: A Manny Files Novel, Christian Burch, Simon and Schuster

  • Out of the Pocket, Bill Konigsberg, Dutton

  • How They Met & Other Stories, David Levithan, Knopf Children's Books

  • Mousetraps, Pat Schmetz, Carolrhoda Books

  • What They Always Tell Us, Martin Wilson, Random House Children's Books

  • Love & Lies: Marisol's Story, Ellen Wittlinger, Simon and Schuster


  • Phi Alpha Gamma, Dan Bernitt, Sawyer House

  • Radical Acts: Collected Political Plays, Martin Duberman, The New Press

  • The Second Coming of Joan of Arc, Carolyn Gage, Outskirts Press

  • Two Truths and a Lie, Scott Schofield, Homofactus Press

  • Vile Affections, Vanda, Original Works Publishing


  • Me as Her Again, Nancy Agabian, Aunt Lute Books

  • If I Could Write This in Fire, Michelle Cliff, Univ of Minnesota Press

  • Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America 1861-2003, William N. Eskridge Jr, Penguin Group

  • Beyond (Straight & Gay) Marriage, Nancy Polikoff, Beacon Press

  • Loving The Difficult, Jane Rule, Hedgerow Press

  • Drifting Toward Love, Kai Wright, Beacon Press


  • The Archer's Heart, Astrid Amara, Blind Eye Books

  • The Magician and the Fool, Barth Anderson, Bantam Del Rey

  • Wilde Stories 2008, Steve Berman, Lethe Press

  • Sea, Swallow Me and Other Stories, Craig Gidney, Lethe Press

  • Turnskin, Nicole Kimberling, Blind Eye Books


  • Tomboys: A Literary & Cultural History, Michelle Ann Abate, Temple University Press

  • The Dividends of Dissent: How Conflict and Culture Work in Lesbian and Gay Marches on Washington, Amin Ghaziani, The University of Chicago Press

  • Criminal Intimacy: Prison and the Uneven History of Modern American Sexuality, Regina Kunzel, The University of Chicago Press

  • Political Manhood: Red Bloods, Mollycoddles, & & the Politics of Progressive Reform, Kevin P. Murphy, Columbia University Press

  • Screening Sex, Linda Williams, Duke University Press


  • Red Audrey & the Roping, Jill Malone, Bywater Books

  • Passing for Black, Linda Villarosa, Kensington

  • Closer to Fine, Meri Weiss, Kensington

  • Love Does Not Make Me Gentle or Kind, Chavisa Woods, Fly by Night Press

  • The Bruise, Magdalena Zurawski, Fiction Collective Two/University of Alabama Press


  • Lipstick on Her Collar, Sacchi Green and Rakelle Valencia, Pretty Things Press

  • Periphery: Erotic Lesbian Futures, Lynne Jamneck, 
Lethe Press

  • In Deep Waters 2: Cruising the Strip, Radclyffe and Karen Kallmaker, Bold Strokes Books


  • The Slow Fix, Ivan E. Coyole, Arsenal Pulp Press

  • The Sealed Letter, Emma Donoghue, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

  • Map of Ireland, Stephanie Grant, Scribner

  • All the Pretty Girls, Chandra Mayor, Conundrum Press

  • Breaking Spirit Bridge, Ruth Perkinson, Spinsters Ink


  • Wrestling with the Angel of Democracy, Susan Griffin, Shambhala Publications

  • Intersex (For Lack of a Better Word), Thea Hillman, 
Manic D Press

  • Sex Variant Woman, Joanne Passet, Da Capo

  • Sex Talks to Girls, Maureen Seaton, University of 
Arkansas Press

  • Case of a Lifetime, Abbe Smith, Palgrave Macmillan


  • Blind Faith, Diane and Jacob Anderson-Minshall, 
Bold Strokes Books

  • Whacked, Josie Gordon, Bella Books

  • Sweet Poison, Ellen Hart, St. Martin's Press

  • Losers Weepers, Jessica Thomas, Bella Books

  • Calling the Dead, Ali Vali, Bold Strokes Books


  • Interpretive Work, Elizabeth Bradfield, Arktoi / Red Hen Press

  • Kissing Dead Girls, Daphne Gottlieb, Soft Skull Press

  • love belongs to those who do the feeling, Judy Grahn, Red Hen Press

  • Same Life, Maureen N. McLane, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

  • Two Minutes of Light, Nancy K. Pearson, Perugia Press


  • Finding Home, Georgia Beers, Bold Strokes Books

  • A Pirate's Heart, Catherine Friend, Bold Strokes Books

  • The Kiss That Counted, Karin Kallmaker, Bella Books

  • Hotel Liaison, JLee Meyer, Bold Strokes Books

  • The Lonely Hearts Club, Radclyffe, Bold Strokes Books


  • Shuck, Daniel Allen Cox, Arsenal Pulp Press

  • Light Fell, Evan Fallenberg, Soho Press

  • The Screwed-Up Life of Charlie The Second, Drew Ferguson, Kensington

  • The Steve Machine, Mike Hoolboom, Coach House Books

  • Finlater, Shawn Ruff, Quote Editions


  • Best Gay Erotica 2009, Richard Labonte & James Lear, Cleis Press

  • The Secret Tunnel, James Lear, Cleis Press

  • Hard Working Men, William Maltese, Victor J. Banis, Jardonn Smith, & J.P. Bowie, MLR Press


  • Stray Dog Winter, David Francis, Macadam/Cage Publishing

  • The Torturer's Wife, Thomas Glave, City Lights Publishers

  • We Disappear, Scott Heim, HarperCollins

  • The Conversion, Joseph Olshan, St. Martin's Press

  • The Boomerang Kid, Jay Quinn, Alyson


  • Bringing Him Home, Aaron Cooper, Late August Press

  • Swish, Joel Derfner, Broadway Books

  • Assisted Loving, Bob Morris, HarperCollins

  • Edward Carpenter:  A Life of Liberty and Love, Sheila Rowbotham, Verso Books

  • King of Shadows, Aaron Shurin, City Lights Publishers


  • The Fisher Boy, Stephen Anable, Poisoned Pen Press

  • Sundowner Ubuntu, Anthony Bidulka, Insomniac Press

  • Mahu Fire, Neil Plakcy, Alyson Books

  • First You Fall, Scott Sherman, Alyson Books

  • Spider Season, John Morgan Wilson, St. Martin's Press


  • Want, Rick Barot, Sarabande Press

  • Please, Jericho Brown, New Issues

  • Fire to Fire, Mark Doty, HarperCollins

  • Now You're the Enemy, James Allen Hall, University of Arkansas Press

  • My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer, edited by Peter Gizzi & Kevin Killian, Wesleyan University Press


  • Mexican Heat, Laura Baumbach & Josh Lanyon, MLR Press

  • Got 'til it's Gone, Larry Duplechan, Arsenal Pulp Press

  • The Protector, N.L. Gassert, Seventh Window Publications

  • SAVE THE DATE: MAY 28, 2009

    Lambda Literary Foundation and the Center for Lesbian & Gay Studies (CLAGS)

    The 21st Annual Lambda Literary Awards
    Thursday, May 28, 2009
    Proshansky Auditorium
CUNY Graduate Center
Fifth Avenue at 34th Street
New York, NY 10016
    6:00 pm Cocktail Reception
7:00 pm Award Ceremony
9:30 pm After Party
    Hosted by Scott Nevins
Directed by Joseph Hardy
    Host Committee
    Jonathan Burnham, HarperCollins 
David Gale, Simon & Schuster Children's Books 
Mitchell Ivers, Pocket Books 
Karla Jay, Pace University 
Thomas Keith, New Directions
Heidi Kilgras, Random House Children's Books 
Eric Myers, Joseph Spieler Agency
Julia Pastore, Harmony Books 
Gayatri Patnaik, Beacon Press
Eric Price, Grove/Atlantic
Rakesh Satyal, HarperCollins 
Amy Scholder, The Feminist Press of CUNY 
Ira Silverberg, Sterling Lord
Mitchell Waters, Curtis Brown, Ltd. 
Rob Weisbach, Rob Weisbach Creative Management 
Don Weise, Alyson Books
    Lambda Literary is working with a local hotel for a guest package, and details will be announced as soon as possible.
    For more information, contact awards@lambdaliterary.org.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

WMST 621: All the Women Followed Her with Drums and Dancing

Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took the drum in her hand, and all the women followed her with drums and dancing.
                                Exodus 15:20

Miriam Schnier’s Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings was first published in 1972 and then republished twenty-two years later after over 100,000 copies had been sold. (N.B. this means the book sold about 5,000 copies a year, which is a nice clip for book sales.) Schnier divides the writing into the following categories:

  • •Eighteenth-century Rebels (Adams, Wollstonecraft)

  • •Women Alone (Wright, Sand, Grimke, Robinson, Hood, Fuller, Married Women’s Property Act)

  • •An American Woman’s Movement (Declaration of the Sentiments and Resolutions Seneca Falls, Douglass, Garrison, Letter from prison of St. Lazare Paris, Truth, Mott, Stone, Stanton, Married Women’s Property Act, Rose, Truth, Anthony, Woodhull & Claflin, Stanton)

  • •Men as Feminists (Mill, Ibsen, Engels, Bebel, Veblen)

  • •Twentieth-Century Themes (Gilman, Putnam, Senate Report—History of Women in Industry in the United States, Spencer, Catt, Pankhurst, Bread and Roses, Goldman, Sanger, Zetkin, Woolf, Beard)

The book is a gathering of original writings from a wide array of eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth century writers and thinkers about women, women’s rights, and issues affecting women. In addition to the original works, there is an introduction for each written by Schnier.

While it is easy to critique this book, I don’t want to do that (partially because it is so easy and partially because I don’t think it’s going to increase my understanding of the book.) What I want to do instead is grapple with what this book tells us in response to two questions posed by Dr. Moses. Why did the women’s liberation movement need a history? How does history get constructed? And, finally, my question, what does Miriam Schnier want us to learn and know from her history as constructed here by the reprint of these original documents?
So let me consider each of these questions. First, why did the women’s liberation movement need a history? Or to ask the question in a different way, what does Schnier want her readers to do with this history? I think Schnier wanted the movement to have a history for people who are engaged in looking backward to understand the current moment. Moreover, I think that Schnier wanted to mobilize a history to inspire women and engage them and channel their energy in particular ways, most notably toward achieving objectives of equality. So history for Schnier is tied to a political practice that she wants to produce.
In this way, I think that she selected and edited items so that they would demonstrate a particularly direct voice. She selected speeches, for instance by Frances Wright and Lucretia Mott. These demonstrate a particular function of motivating an audience. In addition, though, Schnier selects a fair amount of personal, more intimate writing, particularly letters. The counterpoint of these two is to demonstrate a voice that can move between the public and private sectors, an action that Schnier wanted her audiences to take.
How does Schnier’s history get constructed? Well, like most anthologies, and at the most basic level this is an anthology of Schnier’s attentions at a particular moment. It is a compendium of writing that was available to her either through her own reading or through the attention of other’s reading that was directed to her. This is something I always try to remember in reading other’s anthology and in thinking about my own writing and attentions: they are limited, necessarily, by time (both in the amount of time and the historic moment of time) and my intellectual capacities of the moment and interests. At the same time, I can work to countervail that by reading outside and seeking others reading outside. That makes me ask the question, did Schnier do this? Well, I don’t know. I think she probably did, but was limited by the moment in which she was writing. I was looking for evidence around this while reading, but don’t have much to contribute on this point.
Finally, what does Miriam Schnier want us to learn and know from her history as constructed here by the reprint of these original documents? Well, I think that the first thing that Schnier wants us to know is that there is a history and that it exists to be discovered and explored. I don’t think that Schnier had any idea or expectation that this would be the only book read by women, nor was it. So, that to me is the first thing she wants us to do with the book. The second thing that I think she wants us to do is draw ideas from the past. I was particular struck by the attention to marriage and the problems of marriage for women. Recent reforms to marriage make those less visible to me so reading this history felt very important. The third thing that I think she wants us to do is to draw inspiration from these women of the past.

Questions that I’m interested in thinking about and discussing in class:

  • •In what ways do women and men get co-constructed in this text? In what ways are women constructed more independently and autonomously? What prompts these questions is that at some points in reading the book and thinking about its construction, I was struck by its sense of woman-focus; for example, the creation of a separate section for “Men as Feminists.” At other times, I was struck by how connected men’s and women’s narratives are in the books; for example, the editorial by Frederick Douglass immediately after the Seneca Falls Declaration. In the introduction, Schnier tells us, “No historical survey of feminist writings would be complete without the works of the men included in this anthology” (p. xv.) What does this tell us about Schnier’s construction of feminism in the nineteenth century and more important what was she transmitting to her contemporary readers about men, women, and feminism?

  • •The related question to this is, so many of these women were queer, in the sense of having primary emotional, intellectual, and lifetime commitments to women, yet that is nearly invisible in the text. Why?

  • •What do Schnier’s diversions from Liberalism tell us about her feminism and things she felt were important for feminists in 1972? I think in particular of her inclusion of Frances Wright, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Emma Goldman, Victoria Woodhull and Clara Zetkin. What did Schneir find important for contemporary women to know from them?

  • •How does an editor wield power, both over a reader and over a larger community if the work is taken up and used by a community of people? This struck me in particular when reading Schnier’s extraction of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. I’m really familiar with this text and so I could see the way it was constructed by Schnier as an editor and how, while she created an argument that is congruent with Woolf’s overall argument in the book, it is extracted to make the argument stronger and less tentative, in some ways, as well as to make it appear more synthetic. Moreover, Schnier gives minimal indication to the reader about how she creates this extract. For instance, she doesn’t indicate which parts, or chapters, of the book are extracted. Realizing that an editor wields this sort of power, what are the obligations that an editor has? Are there particular obligations for editors who think of themselves as feminists?

  • •What do we make in light of these editorial issues of the way that the racism, even while acknowledged by Schnier in her introduction to the collection is largely edited out in the selections from various authors?

From The Writer's Almanac: The Birthday of Sylvia Beach

It's the birthday of the woman who opened Shakespeare & Company bookstore, Sylvia Beach, (books by this author) born in Baltimore, Maryland (1887). Sylvia Beach moved to Paris, and there she met a woman named Adrienne Monnier. Monnier was one of the first women in France to open a bookstore, which was called La Maison des Amis des Livres (which translates as "The House of Friends of Books"). It was a store, a lending library, and a place to promote Modernist writers.
Sylvia Beach was so inspired by Monnier and her vision that in 1919 she opened her own English-language bookstore, Shakespeare & Company, on the Left Bank of Paris. Shakespeare and Company became a gathering place for the expatriate writers living in Paris — writers like Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemmingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and James Joyce. Sylvia Beach met James Joyce in 1920, just as he was finishing Ulysses. He couldn't get it published because all the big presses thought it was too obscene, so she offered to publish it for him, even though she'd never published a book before. To fund the project, she got people to buy advanced copies. She had no editors, so she edited the huge manuscript herself, and she published it on James Joyce's birthday, February 2, 1922.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

DC Queer Studies Symposium, April 17-18, 2009

Dear Colleagues,

I write on behalf of DC Queer Studies, a group of faculty from schools in the Washington, DC area working in LGBT/Queer/Sexuality Studies, to bring you up to date on plans for the second annual DC Queer Studies Symposium, to be held April 17-18, 2009 at the University of Maryland.  Attached to this message is a registration form, which I invite you to fill out and return to lgbts-dcqueers@umd.edu at your earliest convenience.  The symposium is free, but we need you to register for Saturday's events for catering purposes and because of space limitations in the room.  Our hope is that all requests for registration will be accommodated, but we do need to know how many to expect.

For those of you who attended last year's inaugural symposium, this year's will be similar but even more grand.  We have a full two-day schedule this time around.  The graduate symposium will take place Friday morning and will feature papers by students from American, Georgetown, George Washington, and Maryland.  Friday afternoon, thanks to the efforts of Maryland poet and PhD student Julie Enszer, we will have a poetry reading featuring Regie Cabico, Reginald Harris, and Richard McCann placing their work in conversation with writers from pre-Stonewall queer literary history.  At 4:30, Judith Halberstam will deliver the symposium's keynote address, "Queer Negativities."  The day will conclude with a reception.  Saturday will be a full day of faculty paper sessions on a broad range of subjects (titles and presenters below).  The symposium will conclude with an evening of celebration and conviviality at my home in Takoma Park.  We'll have a reception and dinner and, if we're lucky, some quality time under the stars.

We hope you will be able to join us for any or all of these festivities.  A condensed version of the schedule is below.  We will have a more complete version up on the symposium web site in the next couple of weeks.  For those of you not familiar with the Maryland campus, rest assured the web site will have detailed information about parking and building locations.

On behalf of DC Queer Studies and LGBT Studies at Maryland, we look forward to seeing you in April and wish you a happy early spring in the meantime.

All best,
Marilee Lindemann

The DC Queer Studies Symposium
A Two-Day Conference at the University of Maryland
April 17-18, 2009, College Park, MD

Free and open to the public

Friday, April 17, 2009
Riggs Alumni Center and McKeldin Library, University of Maryland

9:30 – 10:00 AM   
Registration and Welcome (Riggs Alumni Center)

quickanddirty V:  A Graduate Queer Studies Symposium
Presentations by graduate students from American University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, and University of Maryland

10:00 – 11:15 AM
Concurrent Graduate Symposium Sessions

Speaking Truth to Power:  Lesbian Performances, Politics, and Production (Chaney Library)

Deviant at the Core:  Reading Queerness in Iconic Texts (AAI Conference Room)

11:30 – 12:45 PM
Concurrent Graduate Symposium Sessions

Heteronormativity:  Seductions and Subversions (Chaney Library)

Paranoia, Trauma, and Laughter:  Combating Queer Invisibility in the 1960s and 1970s (AAI Conference Room)

1:00 – 2:15 PM
Lunch on own

2:30 – 4 PM
Queer Writers Read
McKeldin Library 6137, Special Events Room

Regie Cabico, Reginald Harris, Richard McCann

4:30 – 6:30 PM
Keynote Address and Reception
McKeldin Library 6137, Special Events Room

Queer Negativities
Judith Halberstam, University of Southern California, English/Gender Studies

Saturday, April 18, 2009
Benjamin Banneker Room, Adele Stamp Student Union, University of Maryland
(Seating for Saturday events is limited, so pre-registration is required.  Contact lgbts-dcqueers@umd.edu for information.)

9:30 – 10:00 AM
Registration and Coffee

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Faculty Paper Session:  Queer Pasts

Falstaff’s Fairies: Queer Ravishment in Shakespeare’s Windsor, Holly Dugan, George Washington University
History as Quick Cash: The Female Husband and the Pregnant Man, Mandy Berry, American University

What It Feels Like for a Grrrl: Susan and Emily Dickinson, Martha Nell Smith, University of Maryland

“Where’s That Partner of Mine?”: Ethel Waters and the Management of Black Queer Desire, Samantha Pinto, Georgetown University

12:00 – 1:00 PM
Buffet Lunch

1:00 – 2:30 PM
Faculty Paper Session:  Constructing Queer Knowledges

Period Cramps, Madhavi Menon, American University

My Love for Hip Hop Is In Its Queerness, Jeffrey McCune, University of Maryland

Queer Transdisciplinarities, Katie King, University of Maryland

2:30 – 3:00 PM

3:00 – 5:00 PM
Faculty Paper Session: Sex, Sexuality, Politics

Creating Kenyan Intimacies, Keguro Macharia, University of Maryland

Men Get Lean and Mean, Women De-Clutter: Weight Loss, Heteronormative Temporality, and the Thin Contract, Abby Wilkerson, George Washington University

LAUREL: The Irony of Lesbian Identity?, Christina Hanhardt, University of Maryland

Left Melodrama, Elisabeth Anker, George Washington University

7:00 – 10 PM
Reception and Dinner
(Off campus.  Please RSVP, by April 3, for the dinner when you register for the symposium.)

DC Queer Studies is a group of faculty from schools in the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area formed in 2006 to discuss new works in the field and to exchange, support, and cultivate new ways of engaging with LGBT/Queer/Sexuality Studies across the disciplines and across institutions.

Sponsored by: University of Maryland (Comparative Literature Program, Departments of American Studies, English, and Women’s Studies, Nathan and Jeanette Miller Center for Historical Studies in the Department of History, LGBT Studies Program, Office of Undergraduate Studies); American University (College of Arts and Sciences); Georgetown University (Department of English, Graduate School); the George Washington University (Departments of American Studies and English, University Writing Program)

For detailed program and event information, visit the Symposium web site:

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Queer Writers Read: Regie Cabico, Reginald Harris, Richard McCann

Save the date! Mark your calendars!

Queer Writers Read: Regie Cabico, Reginald Harris, Richard McCann

Friday, April 17, 2009
2:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.
6137 McKeldin Library

Join Regie Cabico, Reginald Harris, and Richard McCann reading from their work and reflecting on the impact of Stonewall on contemporary queer writing.

Books will be available for sale and signing following the program.

Reading held in conjunction with the 2nd Annual DC Queer Studies Symposium
and 69/09 The Queer Afterlives of Stonewall

Writers' biographies:

Regie Cabico has appeared on two seasons of HBO's Def Poetry Jam and is a spoken word pioneer having taken top prizes in the National Poetry Slam and winning the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam. He is the first Asian American and openly Queer poet to come from the Poetry Slam movement taking top prizes in the 1993, 1994 & 1997 Natioal Poetry Slams and was named Bust Magaizne's 100 Men We Love. His work appears in over 30 anthologies including Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe & The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. Awards include 2 Larry Neal awards and fellowships from the DC Commission for the Arts, A Future Aesthetics Grant form The Ford Foundation and Hip Hop Theater Festival, 3 New York Innovative Theater Award Nominations. He is the artistic director of Sol & Soul, a Washington, DC arts & activist organization.

Recipient of Individual Artist Awards for both poetry and fiction from the Maryland State Arts Council, Reginald Harris is Help Desk and Training Manager for the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. Co-complier of Carry The World: A Bibliography of Black LGBTQ Books (Vintage Entity Press, 2007), his first book, 10 Tongues (Three Conditions Press, 2001) was finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and the ForeWord Book of the Year. A graduate of the Cave Canem: African American Poetry Workshop / Retreat, his poetry, fiction, reviews and articles have appeared in numerous journals and websites, including 5 AM, African-American Review, Beltway, Blithe House Quarterly, Black Issues Book Review, Gargoyle,  smartish pace, Sou'wester; the Best Black Gay EroticaBest Gay Poetry 2008, Bum Rush the Page, Voices Rising: Celebrating 20 Years of Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Writing and The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South anthologies; and is a contributor to LGBTQ America Today: An Encyclopedia (John C. Hawley, editor) and Encyclopedia of Contemporary Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Literature of the United States (Emmanuel S. Nelson, editor; forthcoming 2009).

Richard McCann is the author of Mother of Sorrows, a work of fiction, and Ghost Letters, a collection of poems (1994 Beatrice Hawley Award, 1933 Capricorn Poetry Award). He is also the editor (with Michael Klein) of Things Shaped in Passing: More 'Poets for Life' Writing from the AIDS Pandemic. His fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in such magazines as The Atlantic, Ms., Esquire, Ploughshares, Tin House, and the Washington Post Magazine, and in numerous anthologies, including The O. Henry Prize Stories 2007 and Best American Essays 2000. He is currently working on a memoir, The Resurrectionist, which explores the experience and meanings of illness and mortality through a narrative exploration of his experience as a liver transplant recipient. For his work, Richard McCann has received grants and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, on whose Board of Trustees he served from 2000-2008. He earned his MA in Creative Writing and Modern Literature from Hollins University and his Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, where he was a Rockefeller Fellow. He grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, and he has lived in numerous places, including Sweden, Germany, and Spain. He now lives in Washington, DC, where he teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at American University. He also serves the Board of Directors of the PEN Faulkner Foundation and is a Member of the Corporation of Yaddo.

DC Queer Studies is a group of faculty from schools in the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area formed in 2006 to discuss new works in the field and to exchange, support, and cultivate new ways of engaging with LGBT/Queer/Sexuality Studies across the disciplines and across institutions.  The complete program for the April 17-18 symposium is available at http://www.lgbts.umd.edu.

The DC Queer Studies Symposium is sponsored by:  University of Maryland (Departments of English and Women's Studies, the Nathan and Jeanette Miller Center for Historical Studies in the Department of History, LGBT Studies Program, Office of Undergraduate Studies); American University (College of Arts and Sciences); Georgetown University (Department of English, Graduate School); the George Washington University (Departments of American Studies and English, University Writing Program).

Friday, March 06, 2009

Please join me, two editors of Letters to the World and other contributors for a fantastic reading and celebration of this anthology.

Appellations and Interpellations - or, the very odd paper that I submitted for a graduate class

For people following me on Twitter or Facebook, the odd paper I talked about this week is now available here:


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

WMST 621 - Post-modernism

Po-mo Homos and Wel-Res*

Steven Epstein in his article is examining the different ways that gay and lesbian people understand their sexual orientation in relationship to prevailing theories of identity construction, particularly essentialism and social constructionism. I find this article fascinating for the time period that it was written and circulated and what happened subsequently in the gay and lesbian movement. I think that the analogies he draws with ethnic communities does provide some foundation for the shaping of the movement in the next decade. I’m interested though in the parallels we might think about between the complexities of lived identities between gay and lesbian people and between women, for instance, or the complexities that emerge for multi-racial people about identity and how that relates to these different theoretical valences of essentialism and social constructionism.

Fraser and Gordon, a historian and a philosopher, provide a history of the word “dependency” as a key word in contemporary debates about welfare. They then use this to look at how the word is influencing various policy solutions. Their intervention is primarily historicizing the contemporary debate, contextualizing it in relationship to language and the historicity of language, and widening the lens of analysis. How effective is this? What are the strengths and weakness of such an intervention for activists and advocates?

Judith Butler is discussing how the terms of the gay marriage debate are framed in the United States and in France and how those frames affect the constructions and limitations of identity categories. In the lecture, Claire said that Butler’s analysis is less taken up by the contemporary movement, which I don’t entirely agree with, but I am interested in what elements have been taken up and what haven’t and what are reasons we might conjecture for that.

I'm interested also in talking about what makes the Epstein and Fraser and Gordon articles post-modern. If I were constructing a genealogy, I would put them both as Marxist/socialist/materialist texts. Certainly, they respond to post-modernism/post-structuralism, but I see their roots more in Marxism, socialism, and materialism. Perhaps I'm not thinking about it in the right ways, but particularly in relationship to the Fraser and Gordon where the theoretical framework really comes more from Raymond Williams than Foucault in my reading of it, it seems to me that it is not a post-modern article. All to say, I'm interested in talking about what post-modern investments these articles have.

I'm interested also in what investments these articles have in activism, action, and different social movement formations. How do they dialogue with these different locations? What makes their dialogues effective or not effective? In what ways are race and gender, and particularly the enmeshment of race and gender, made visible in each of these articles and how are they made invisible? Does that indicate anything about post-modernism?

* Post-modern Homosexuals and Welfare Recipients

Monday, March 02, 2009

Women Poets and Mentorship

A rousing discussion over at the blog Harriet initiated by a blog posting from Annie Finch. Read the full discussion here:


And an interesting post at Lemon Hound here: