Monday, March 22, 2010

The Production of Lesbian Spaces in the 1970s

Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) Lesbians in the 70s Series:
The Production of Lesbian Spaces in the 1970s

March 19th | Friday, 6-8 PM
Room 9205 at The CUNY Graduate Center (NYC) 
365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

Participants: Madeline Davis, Deborah Edel, Julie Enszer, Joan P. Gibbs, Stina Soderling
Moderator: Jen Gieseking

"The Production of Lesbian Spaces in the 1970s" panel and reception is part of CLAGS’s year-long series, “In Amerika They Call Us Dykes: Lesbian Lives in the 1970s.”  The panel will discuss the production of lesbian space and place in the 1970s, both urban and otherwise and within and without lesbian feminism, with a reception to  follow from 8-10pm.  We hope to touch on such topics as the roles of concepts of public and private, the politics, experiences, and uses of visibility and invisibility, and shifts in lesbian-feminist, butch-femme, and other dynamics throughout this period.  Participants include Madeline Davis (founder and director of the Madeline Davis GLBT Archives of Western NY, and co-author of _Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold_--winner of the 1993 Lambda Literary Award), Deborah Edel (activist and co-founder / long-time treasurer of the Lesbian Herstory Archives), Julie Enszer (poet and founder of the online Lesbian Poetry Archives), Joan Gibbs (co-founder of Azalea and Dykes Against Racism Everywhere), and Stina Soderling (Ph.D. candidate at Rutgers University studying lesbian separatist spaces in the 1970s).  The event will be recorded and archived on the CLAGS site for future viewing, while the conversation itself will continue in an online mapping venue that those in New York City and beyond can contribute their own place markers with accompanying stories to record lesbian spaces over time throughout the world

Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) Lesbians in the 70s Series:

The Production of Lesbian Spaces in the 1970s

March 19th | Friday, 6-8 PM

Room 9205 at The CUNY Graduate Center (NYC)

365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

Presentation by Julie R. Enszer

In thinking about space, I returned to Gaston Bachelard on the Poetics of Space. He writes, “[A]n empty drawer is unimaginable. It can only be thought of. And for us, who must describe what we imagine before we know, what we dream before what we verify, all wardrobes are full” (Bachelard, xxxvii-xxxviii.)

From my perspective, lesbians in the 70s were describing what they imagined and what they dreamed and then writing and publishing those dreams and imaginings in lesbian print culture. They were creating spaces and finding “all wardrobes full.” When I think about lesbian and lesbian-feminist print culture in the 1970s, I think of four “spaces”:

  • •Poems (like Adrienne Rich’s “The Floating Poem” “whatever happens with us, your body/will haunt mine—tender, delicate” or Pat Parker’s “For Straight Folks who don’t mind gays but wish they weren’t so blatant” or E. Sharon Gomilion’s lines, “We’re doing it in our books/history, poetry, and song/We’re doing it every chance/we get/Right on—further on!” Judy Grahn’s “A History of Lesbianism” “The subject of lesbianism/is very ordinary; it’s the question/of male domination that makes everybody/angry.”)

  • •Poetry books, chapbooks, broadsides and other printed materials

  • •Journal, newspapers, newsletters, and periodicals like Sinister Wisdom, Conditions, The Furies, Azalea.

  • •Small presses like Violet Press, Out & Out Books, Women’s Press Collective, Diana Press, Persephone Press, and Easter Day Press.

I think of these “spaces” like Bachelard conceptualizes the poetics of space, as rooms in a house – and probably a collective group house with regular meetings to discuss process and politics. Each of these “spaces” created, produced, and reproduced new spaces, such as

  • •Physical objects – the things that are in libraries: books, chapbooks, journal issues

  • •Shared communities of concerns – collectives of women producing the work and communities of readers

  • •Institutions with economic, cultural, and political impacts

  • •Shared spaces, physical and metaphorical, for and array of activities including identity creation, community building, political strategizing, theory generation and a variety of other political, social, economic, and cultural mobilizations.

Some of these formations endure today (Sinister Wisdom for example), but many are now in memories, archives, and histories. The desire to understand what happened in the cultural and literary spaces that were created and to contribute to strategies for preserving this history motivated me to start the Lesbian Poetry Archive. The Lesbian Poetry Archives is an online archive that is my way of thinking about the spaces and the objects that were created by lesbians between 1969 and 1989 in print culture. I am interested in beginning to translate these objects into the new publishing culture of our contemporary moment. Online at the Lesbian Poetry Archive you will find samples of chapbooks published during the 1970s, the introductions and tables of contents from Lesbian Poetry and Amazon Poetry, two anthologies that have been central to my thinking about the time – and to me personally as a lesbian who came out AFTER the 1970s – and a variety of bibliographies that represent my continued attempts to preserve and not forget.

I am appreciative deeply of the organizers of this panel for inviting me; my presence here is a testament to the power of lesbian spaces—I met Jen Gieseking at the Lesbian Herstory Archives. I thank CLAGS and Sarah Chinn for the important work on the series In Amerika They Call Us Dykes. Finally, I just want to leave you with the final four lines from Rich’s “The Floating Poem.” Rich evokes a particular type of space in this poem; one that is crystallized by touch. It is a space that was central in the writing of lesbians in the 70s and so I want to remind us of this space as another in our considerations this evening. The last four lines of Rich’s “The Floating Poem:”

your touch on me, firm, protective, searching
me out, your strong tongue and slender fingers
reaching where I have been waiting years for you
in my rose-wet cave -- whatever happens, this is.

Thank you. I am very much looking forward to the conversation.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lambda Literary Awards Finalists Announced!

2009 Lambda Literary Awards Finalists


LGBT Anthologies

  • Gay American Autobiography: Writings from Whitman to Sedaris, edited by David Bergman (University of Wisconsin Press)

  • Moral Panics, Sex Panics: Fear and the Fight Over Sexual Rights, edited by Gilbert Herdt (NYU Press)

  • My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them, edited by Michael Montlack (University of Wisconsin Press)

  • Portland Queer: Tales of the Rose City, edited by Ariel Gore (Lit Star Press)

  • Smash the Church, Smash the State! The Early Years of Gay Liberation, edited by Tommi Avicolli Mecca (City Lights)


LGBT Children's/Young Adult

  • Ash, by Malinda Lo (Little, Brown)

  • How Beautiful the Ordinary, edited by Michael Cart (HarperCollins)

  • In Mike We Trust, by P.E. Ryan (HarperCollins)

  • Sprout, by Dale Peck (Bloomsbury USA)

  • The Vast Fields of Ordinary, by Nick Burd (Penguin Books)

LGBT Drama

  • The Beebo Brinker Chronicles, by Kate Moira Ryan & Linda S. Chapman (Dramatists Play Service)

  • The Collected Plays Of Mart Crowley, by Mart Crowley (Alyson Books)

  • Revenge of the Women's Studies Professor, by Bonnie L. Morris (Indiana University Press)


LGBT Nonfiction

  • The Golden Age of Gay Fiction, edited by Drewey Wayne Gunn (MLR Press)

  • The Greeks and Greek Love, by James Davidson (Random House)

  • I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde, edited by Rudolph P. Byrd, Johnnetta Betsch Cole & Beverly Guy-Sheftall (Oxford University Press)

  • Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences, by Sarah Schulman (The New Press)

  • Unfriendly Fire:How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America, by Nathaniel Frank (St. Martin's Press)


LGBT SF/Fantasy/Horror

  • Centuries Ago and Very Fast, by Rebecca Ore (Aqueduct Press)

  • Fist of the Spider Woman, by Amber Dawn (Arsenal Pulp Press)

  • In the Closet, Under the Bed, by Lee Thomas (Dark Scribe Press)

  • Palimpsest, by Catherynne M. Valenta (Bantam/Spectra Books)

  • Pumpkin Teeth, by Tom Cardamone (Lethe Press)


LGBT Studies

  • Metropolitan Lovers: The Homosexuality of Cities, by Julie Abraham (University of Minnesota Press)

  • Moving Politics: Emotion and ACT UP's Fight Against AIDS, by Deborah B. Gould (University of Chicago Press)

  • The Queer Child, or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century, by Kathryn Bond Stockton (Duke University Press)

  • The Resurrection of the Body: Pier Paolo Pasolini from Saint Paul to Sade, by Armando Maggi (University of Chicago Press)

  • The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth Century America, by Margot Canaday (Princeton University Press)


Bisexual Fiction

  • Arusha, by J.E. Knowles (Spinsters Ink)

  • Holy Communion, by Mykola Dementiuk (Synergy Press)

  • The Janeid, by Bobbie Geary (The Graeae Press)

  • Love You Two, by Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli (Random House Australia)

  • Torn, by Amber Lehman (Closet Case Press)


Bisexual Nonfiction

  • Byron in Love: A Short Daring Life, by Edna O'Brien (W. W. Norton)

  • Cheever: A Life, by Blake Bailey (Alfred A. Knopf)

  • Leaving India: My Family's Journey From Five Villages to Five Continents, by Minal Hajratwala (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

  • Map, by Audrey Beth Stein (

  • Vincente Minnelli: Hollywood's Dark Dreamer, by Emanuel Levy (St. Martin's Press)



  • Bharat Jiva, by Kari Edwards (Litmus Press)

  • Lynnee Breedlove's One Freak Show, by Lynn Breedlove (Manic D Press)

  • The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You, by S Bear Bergman (Arsenal Pulp Press)

  • Transmigration, by Joy Ladin (Sheep Meadow Press)

  • Troglodyte Rose, by Adam Lowe (Cadaverine Publications)


Lesbian Debut Fiction

  • The Creamsickle, by Rhiannon Argo (Spinsters Ink)

  • The Bigness of the World, by Lori Ostlund (University of Georgia Press)

  • Land Beyond Maps, by Maida Tilchen (Savvy Press)

  • More of This World or Maybe Another, by Barb Johnson (HarperCollins)

  • Verge, by Z Egloff (Bywater Books)


Gay Debut Fiction

  • Blue Boy, by Rakesh Satyal (Kensington Books)

  • God Says No, by James Hannaham (McSweeneys)

  • Pop Salvation, by Lance Reynald (HarperCollins)

  • Shaming the Devil: Collected Short Stories, by G. Winston James (Top Pen Press)

  • Sugarless, by James Magruder (University of Wisconsin Press)


Lesbian Erotica

  • Flesh and Bone, by Ronica Black (Bold Strokes Books)

  • Lesbian Cowboys, edited by Sacchi Green & Rakelle Valencia (Cleis Press)

  • Punishment with Kisses, by Diane Anderson-Minshall (Bold Strokes Books)

  • Where the Girls Are, by D.L. King (Cleis Press)

  • Women of the Bite, by Cecelia Tan (Alyson Books)


Gay Erotica

  • Rough Trade: Dangerous Gay Erotica, edited by Todd Gregory (Bold Strokes Books)

  • Impossible Princess, by Kevin Killian (City Lights)

  • I Like It Like That: True Tales of Gay Desire, edited by Richard Labonté  & Lawrence Schimel (Arsenal Pulp Press)

  • The Low Road, by James Lear (Cleis Press)

  • Eight Inches, by Sean Wolfe (Kensington Books)


Lesbian Fiction

  • Dismantled, by Jennifer McMahon (HarperCollins)

  • A Field Guide to Deception, by Jill Malone (Bywater Books)

  • Forgetting the Alamo, Or, Blood Memory, by Emma Pérez (University of Texas Press)

  • Risk, by Elena Dykewomon (Bywater Books)

  • This One's Going to Last Forever, by Nairne Holtz (Insomniac Press)


Gay Fiction

  • Lake Overturn, by Vestal McIntyre (HarperCollins)

  • The River In Winter, by Matt Dean (Queens English Productions)

  • Said and Done, by James Morrison (Black Lawrence Press)

  • Salvation Army, by Abdellah Taia (Semiotext(e))

  • Silverlake, by Peter Gadol (Tyrus Books)


Lesbian Memoir/Biography

  • Called Back: My Reply to Cancer, My Return to Life, by Mary Cappello (Alyson Books)

  • Mean Little deaf Queer, by Terry Galloway (Beacon Press)

  • My Red Blood: A Memoir of Growing Up Communist, Coming Onto the Greenwich Village Folk Scene, and Coming Out in the Feminist Movement, by Alix Dobkin (Alyson Books)

  • Likewise: The High School Comic Chronicles of Ariel Schrag, by Ariel Schrag (Simon & Schuster/Touchstone Fireside)

  • The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith, by Joan Schenkar (St. Martin's Press)


Gay Memoir/Biography

  • Ardent Spirits: Leaving Home, Coming Back, by Reynolds Price (Scribner Books)

  • City Boy: My Life in New York During the 1960's and 70's, by Edmund White (Bloomsbury USA)

  • Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division, by Jon Ginoli (Cleis Press)

  • Once You Go Back, by Douglas A. Martin (Seven Stories Press)

  • The Pure Lover: A Memoir of Grief, by David Plante (Beacon Press)


Lesbian Mystery

  • Command of Silence, by Paulette Callen (Spinsters Ink)

  • Death of a Dying Man, by J.M. Redmann (Bold Strokes Books)

  • From Hell to Breakfast, by Joan Opyr (Blue Feather Books)

  • The Mirror and the Mask, by Ellen Hart (St. Martin's/Minotaur)

  • Toasted, by Josie Gordon (Bella Books)


Gay Mystery

  • All Lost Things, by Josh Aterovis (P.D. Publishing)

  • The Killer of Orchids, by Ralph Ashworth (State Street Press)

  • Murder in the Garden District, by Greg Herren (Alyson Books)

  • Straight Lies, by Rob Byrnes (Kensington Books)

  • What We Remember, by Michael Thomas Ford (Kensington Books)


Lesbian Poetry

  • Bird Eating Bird, by Kristin Naca (HarperCollins)

  • Gospel: Poems, by Samiya Bashir (Red Bone Press)

  • Names, by Marilyn Hacker (W.W. Norton)

  • Stars of the Night Commute, by Ana Bozicevic (Tarpaulin Sky Press)

  • Zero at the Bone, by Stacie Cassarino (New Issues Poetry & Prose)


Gay Poetry

  • Breakfast with Thom Gunn, by Randall Mann (University of Chicago Press)

  • The Brother Swimming Beneath Me, by Brent Goodman (Black Lawrence Press)

  • The First Risk, by Charles Jensen (Lethe Press)

  • Sweet Core Orchard, by Benjamin S. Grossberg (University of Tampa Press)

  • What the Right Hand Knows, by Tom Healy (Four Way Books)


Lesbian Romance

  • It Should Be a Crime, by Carsen Taite (Bold Strokes Books)

  • No Rules of Engagement, by Tracey Richardson (Bella Books)

  • The Sublime and Spirited Voyage of Original Sin, by Colette Moody (Bold Strokes Books)

  • Stepping Stone, by Karin Kallmaker (Bella Books)

  • Worth Every Step, by KG MacGregor (Bella Books)


Gay Romance

  • Drama Queers!, by Frank Anthony Polito (Kensington Books)

  • A Keen Edge, by H. Leigh Aubrey (iUniverse)

  • The Rest of Our Lives, by Dan Stone (Lethe Press)

  • Time After Time, by J.P. Bowie (MLR Press)

  • Transgressions, by Erastes (Running Press)

Sunday, March 07, 2010

S as in Sam, Z as in Zebra

The periodic email newsletter from Julie R. Enszer

Dear Friends,

My First Book: Handmade Love

I am thrilled to announce the publication of my first book of poetry, Handmade Love.

This is from the publisher's website:
In her first collection, Julie R. Enszer offers poems that are as unabashedly erotic as they are unabashedly feminist. Whether responding to queer cultural icons, fantasizing about sex, or mourning illness and loss, these poems are sweet and sultry, fierce and tender.

From demonstrations on the streets to bedroom romps, these smart and sexy poems interweave narrative and lyrical moments with the political and the sensuous.

Handmade Love renders a world that delights in the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and tells queer life stories sublimely and generously.


by Julie R. Enszer

Body Language 05

ISBN-13: 978-0-9794208-5-6
ISBN-10: 0-9794208-5-7

Poetry/Lesbian Studies
64 pages/perfect bound
Pub Date: 1 April 2010


The book is already available and shipping. You can order it directly from A Midsummer Night's Press with free shipping here:

It will also ship from Amazon beginning April 1st. Here is the Amazon page (you can also leave comments/reviews on the book for Amazon readers and users):

If you prefer to support independent distributors, think about ordering it from Small Press Distribution here:

Finally, I have very snazzy postcards of the book cover. I'm happy to mail you one or many. Just drop me a line and let me know.

New Essay: On Friendship

An essay of mine titled, "On Friendship," appeared in the Packingtown Review this winter. The essay is about friendship and in particular the friendship of Maxine Kumin and Anne Sexton. If you are interested in reading it, you can order copies of the journal here:

I also have a new column from the CIVILesbianIZATION series on the Edge Network. It is titled, "Let's Say I Do to Universal Health Care," and is available online here:

I post many links to Twitter and Facebook (and try to be relatively engaging on these new media) so let's connect there if we haven't.

Today it finally feels like spring here in Maryland after a longer than usual, more snowy than usual, and colder than usual winter. We're all happy about it, including the newest member of our family, Emma, a giant and lovable St. Bernard. She joined us on Halloween 2009 and has been growing ever since - about two pounds a week on average! She's a delight and keeping us all busy.

I hope this email finds you happy and thriving.

All best,


Julie R. Enszer