Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How I am Going to Spend New Year's Eve

From David Allen of Getting Things Done

I mean, what have you actually finished, completed, and accomplished? If you haven't made a list in the last year, I would highly recommend that you take a few minutes and capture that.
It has always intrigued me how much a less-than-conscious part of me can still have energy wrapped up around activities and projects, until I acknowledge that they're done, to myself. Kathryn and I have made an annual exercise, at year-end, of making the list of major completions and accomplishments. We've even been saving that list in a Lotus Notes database for the last few years. It's really quite a healthy, cleansing completion in itself. It includes everything that we can think of—from projects like launching a new product, to adding new staff, to trees planted, to new places visited, to family deaths handled, to old business completed, to new skills and tricks learned.
I've noticed that there is likely some resistance to doing that process as well. I had an attorney (client) recently say in all sincerity that it was quite scary initially to go through the workflow coaching process with me, precisely because he was afraid to declare some of his projects "done"! (I mean, what if they weren't perfect yet?!)
I suggest you give yourself a treat and review the year that just past and look forward to the year ahead.
"Celebrate any progress. Don't wait to get perfect."
-Ann McGee Cooper
For those of you who want more form and structure, here are some questions that can guide you in your 2009 review and 2010 goal setting. When I go through these kinds of questions I like to consider my answers in several areas:

  1. Physical

  2. Emotional

  3. Mental

  4. Spiritual

  5. Financial

  6. Family

  7. Community Service

  8. Fun / creativity / recreation


Review the list of all completed projects
What was your biggest triumph in 2009?
What was the smartest decision you made in 2009?
What one word best sums up and describes your 2009 experience?
What was the greatest lesson you learned in 2009?
What was the most loving service you performed in 2009?
What is your biggest piece of unfinished business in 2009?
What are you most happy about completing in 2009?
Who were the three people that had the greatest impact on your life in 2009?
What was the biggest risk you took in 2009?
What was the biggest surprise in 2009?
What important relationship improved the most in 2009?
What compliment would you liked to have received in 2009?
What compliment would you liked to have given in 2009?
What else do you need to do or say to be complete with 2009?
What would you like to be your biggest triumph in 2010?
What advice would you like to give yourself in 2010?
What is the major effort you are planning to improve your financial results in 2010?
What would you be most happy about completing in 2010?
What major indulgence are you willing to experience in 2010?
What would you most like to change about yourself in 2010?
What are you looking forward to learning in 2010?
What do you think your biggest risk will be in 2010?
What about your work, are you most committed to changing and improving in 2010?
What is one as yet undeveloped talent you are willing to explore in 2010?
What brings you the most joy and how are you going to do or have more of that in 2010?
Who or what, other than yourself, are you most committed to loving and serving in 2010?
What one word would you like to have as your theme in 2010?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

New Essays

I have two essays in this collection. One, "What We Celebrate," is about gay and lesbian couples during these moments of transitions around marriage recognition. The other, "Getting In: Reflections on the Milestone of Acceptance," is about my sister and I both getting accepted to college programs at different times in our lives.

I haven't received my copy yet, but am very much looking forward to the collection.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Steal This List (From Amy King)

Grow this list – Proliferate! Redistribute!

I initially started this list as one for contemporary queer poets, but it has grown to include the living and the dead, the post-poet, the fiction and non-fiction, the bent, the bendable, and more. Thanks to all who’ve contributed so far! Please feel free to add names in the comments as we are growing, blooming, and busting the borders!

In no particular order, except as added:

Akilah Oliver +++ Tisa Bryant
Nathaniel Siegal+++ Ching-In Chin
Julian Brolaski +++ Cynthia Sailers
Kathryn Pringle+++ E. Tracy Grinnell
Tim Peterson +++ Jill Magi
Brenda Iijima +++ Stacy Szymaszek
Erica Kaufman +++ Truck Darling
R. Erica Doyle +++ Wayne Koestenbaum
Ana Bozicevic +++ Trish Salah
Robert Glück +++ Rachel Zolf
Cedar Sigo +++ Scott Rex Hightower
Jen Benka +++ Carol Mirakove
Caroline Bergvall +++ Eileen Myles
Marilyn Hacker+++ John Ashbery
Mark Doty +++ Timothy Liu
D. A. Powell +++ Kay Ryan
Reginald Shepherd+++ Mark Bibbins
Mark Wunderlich +++ Magdalena Zurawski
Julie R. Enszer +++ Merry Gangemi
Nicki Hastie +++ Gwyn McVay
Michelle Tea +++ Ben McCoy
Alex Dimitrov +++ Michael Tod Edgerton
C. Dale Young +++ Betsy Wheeler
Megan Volpert +++ Deborah Poe
Gabrielle Calvocoressi+++ Joy Harjo
Gloria Anzaldua+++ Elena Georgiou
Elise Ficarra +++ Paul Foster Johnson
Robin Reagler +++ Rachel Levitsky
Richard Siken +++ Kazim Ali
Micah Ballard +++ Jeffery Beam
Gregg Biglieri +++ Nicole Brossard
Regie Cabico +++ David Cameron
Guillermo Castro +++ Abigail Child
Allison Cobb +++ Jen Coleman
Kyle Conner +++ Dennis Cooper
Jim Cory +++ Phil Crippen
Del Ray Cross +++ Rachel Daley
Almitra David +++ Tim Dlugos
kari edwards +++ Maria Fama
Michael Farrell +++ Alex Gildzen
Guillermo Gómez-Peña
Alexandra Grilikhes+++ Chris Gullo
Jeremy Halinen +++ Rob Halpern
Julia Hastain +++ Yuri Hospodar
Kevin Killian +++ Dodie Bellamy
Bill Kushner +++ Lori Lubeski
Filip Marinovich +++ Janet Mason
Sina Queyras +++ Camille Roy
Jocelyn Saidenberg +++ Trish Salah
Jack Spicer +++ Christina Strong
Roberto Tejada +++ Karl Tierney
Jay Thomas +++ David Trinidad
Tony Towle +++ R. Dionysius Whiteurs
Eli Shipley +++ Kary Wayson
Carl Phillips +++ Jeremy Halinen
Betsey Warland+++ Jen Currin
Christine Leclerc +++ Charles Jensen
Carol Guess +++ Elizabeth Colen
Chocoalte Waters +++ Mary Oliver
Judith Witherow +++ Judy Grahn
Jan Clausen +++ Dorothy Allison
Robin Morgan +++ Willyce Kim
Frank Kelly +++ Kevin Wisher
Meredith Pond +++ Janet Mason
Fran Winant +++ Audre Lorde
Paula Gunn Allen +++ Allen Ginsberg
Walt Whitman +++ W.H. Auden
Frank O’Hara +++ Cyrus Cassells
Elizabeth Bradfield+++ Rafael Campo
Robin Becker +++ Truong Tran
William Burroughs+++ Carol Ann Duffy
Pat Parker +++ Elsa Gidlow
H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) +++ Amy Lowell
Elizabeth Bishop +++ Olga Broumas
Sapphire +++ Cheryl Clarke
Jewelle Gomez +++ Joan Larkin
Fran Winant +++ Minnie Bruce Pratt
Adrienne Rich +++ May Sarton
Muriel Rukeyser +++ Cherrie Moraga
Lesléa Newman +++ Mark Doty
Mark Wunderlich +++ D.A. Powell
Randall Mann +++ Peter Covino
Rigoberto Gonzalez +++ David Groff
C. Dale Young +++ Walter Holland
Eric Gamalinda +++ Michael Montlack
Charles Jensen +++ Gregg Shapiro
Stephen McLeod +++ Spencer Reece
Ron Mohring +++ Michael Broder
Richard Tayson +++ Dean Kostos
Aaron Smith +++ Ron Drummond
Guillermo Filice +++ Jon Nalley
Steven Covdova +++ Steven Turtel
Jason Scheiderman +++ Stephen Motika
T. Cole Rachel +++ Christopher Davis
Greg Hewett +++ David Casto
Billie Merrill +++ Alex Dimitrov
Wren Tuatha +++ Marge Piercy
Lawrence Schimel+++ Robin Kemp
Tee Corinne +++ Tory Dent
Elizabeth Bishop +++ Gertrude Stein
Muriel Rukeyser +++ Kay Murphy
Hart Crane +++ Harold Norse
James Schuyler +++ Robert Duncan
John Wieners +++ William Bronk
Stephen Jonas +++ Joseph Legaspi
Richard Howard +++ Renee Vivien
Natalie Barney +++ Stephanie Byrd
Nathalie Stephens +++ Ellen Marie Bissert
Karen Brodine +++ Maureen Seaton
Jane Miller +++ Olga Broumas
Elizabeth Bradfield +++ Samiya Bashir
Gerry Gomez Pearlberg
Judith Barrington +++ Eloise Klein Healy
James Merrill +++ Brent Goodman
Ben Grossberg +++ Darius Antwan Stewart
Franklin Abbot +++ Thom Gunn
Liz Ahl +++ Jonathan Alexander
Cynthia Rausch Allar +++ Shane Allison
Mark Ameen +++ Ken Anderson
Maggie Anderson +++ Hanna Andrews
Duncan Armstrong +++ Rane Arroyo
Geer Austin +++ Kim Baker
John Barton +++ Ellen Bass
Dan Bellm +++ David Bergman
Erin Bertram +++ Tamiko Beyer
Jonathan Bracker +++ Michael Broder
Dustin Brookshire +++ Regie Cabico
Guillermo Castro +++ Terry Kirts
Erigh Leigh +++ Tony Leuzzi
Justin Chin +++ James Cihlar
Ava Cipri +++ Larry Wayne Johns
Rodney Jack +++ CA Conrad
Christina Hutchins +++ Steven Cordova
Alfred Corn +++ Eduardo Corral
Brian Teare +++ James Crews
Holly Day +++ Jeff Mann
Dean Kostos +++ Andrew Demcak
Gavin Dillard +++ Patrick Donnelly
Octavio Gonzalez +++ Rudy Kikel
Ron Drummond +++ Jim Elledge
Steve Fellner +++ Edward Field
Edward Denby +++ Ron Schreiber
Federico Lorca +++ Matthew Hittinger
David Groff +++ Ruth Schwartz
Maureen Seaton +++ Michael Klein
Amanda Laughtland+++ Jill Jones
Michael Farrell +++ Collin Kelley
Cleo Creech +++ Theresa Davis
Turner Cassity +++ Alan Sullivan
Timothy Murphy +++ Jessica Hand
Alice Teeter +++ Maudelle Driskell
Julie Fay +++ Ed Madden
Assoto Saint +++ Reinaldo Arenas
Honor Moore +++ Melanie Braverman
Thomas Avena +++ Sam D’Allesandro
Essex Hemphill +++ Paul Monette
Severo Sarduy +++ Ian Stephens
Zaedryn Meade +++ Stacie Cassarino
gabrielle jesiolowski +++ Nancy Kathleeen Pearson
Cheryl Boyce Taylor +++ Ruth L. Schwartz
Achy Obejas +++ Tamiko Beyer
Sunshine Dempsey +++ Cheryl Burke
Laurie J. Hoskin +++ Kristin Naca
Samiya Baskin +++ Staceyann Chin
Niki Herd +++ Julie Porter
Juliet Patterson +++ Jeff Walt
Elaine Sexton +++ Ken Pobo
Richard Tayson +++ Michael Lassell
Greg Hewett +++ Adrian Oktenberg
Stacey Waite +++ Steven Riel
RJ Gibson +++ Jen Perrine
Boyer Rickel +++ William Reichard
Ann Tweedy +++ Ragan Fox
David Trinidad +++ Brad Telford
James Kirkup +++ Kevin McLellan
Ocean Vuong +++ Robert Walker
Henri Cole +++ Scott Wiggerman
Tiffany Wong +++ Peter Pereira
Reggie Harris +++ David Dooley
Frank Bidart +++ Kristy Nielsen
Greg Scott Brown +++ Brian Leary
Holly Painter +++ Vicente Viray
Mark Ameen +++ Beatrix Gates
William Dickey +++ Melvin Dixon
Essex Hemphill +++ James L White
James Schuyler +++ Paul Goodman
Joe Brainard +++ Pam Brown
David Malouf +++ Martin Harrison
joanne burns +++ Keri Glastonbury
Louise Wakeling +++ Martin Harrison
Bel Schenk +++ Angela Gardne
Stephen J Williams +++ Tim Denoon
Jill Jones +++ Maria Zajkowski
Chris Edwards +++ Louise Wakeling
Danny Gentile +++ Denis Gallagher
Kate Lilley +++ Paul Knobel
Andy Quan +++ Jenni Nixon
Miriel Lenore +++ Terry Jaensch
Margaret Bradstock +++ Javant Biarujia
Dîpti Saravanamuttu+++ Nandi Chinna
Wendy Jenkins +++ Peter Rose
Lee Cataldi +++ Carolyn Gerrish
Dorothy Porter+++ Scott-Patrick Mitchell
Susan Hawthorne +++ Tricia Dearborn
Kerry Leves +++ Ian MacNeill
Amanda Katz +++ Corrine Fitzpatrick
Danica Colic +++ Jack Lynch
Martha Oatis +++ James Allen Hall
Jan Heller Levi+++ Jenny Johnson
Jericho Brown +++ Kerry Carnahan
L.B. Thompson +++ Laura Jaramillo
Maya Funaro +++ Miller Oberman
Misty Harper +++ Richard Sime
Suzanne Gardinier+++ Valentine Freeman
Gregg Bordowitz +++ Sarah Dowling
Ari Banias +++ Sophie Robinson
Angie Estes +++ Kathy Fagan
Tommy Peeps +++ Nat Raha
Francesca Lisette +++ Tricia Bayman
Linda Bierds +++ Larissa Lai
Vanessa Huang +++ Soham Patel
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Dulani +++ Rona Luo
Naomi A. Jackson +++ Celeste Chan
Zuleika Mahmood +++ Maiana Minahal
Sharon Bridgforth +++ Joel B. Tan
Griselda Suarez +++ Rigoberto Gonzalez
J.P. Pluecker +++ Kristin Naca
Duriel E. Harris +++ Nickole Brown
Qwo-Li Driskill +++ Deborah Miranda
Aimee Suzara +++ Amy King

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Here is one of the very first articles I published. I've been looking for it for a while and was pleased to find it in a box the other day. Scanned copies showing all of the yellowing of the paper. Rereading it, I realize that my concerns have not changed much in the past twenty years.

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Thoughts on President Barack Obama at the HRC National Dinner

First, I must confess that while the President spoke I was filled with an overwhelming rage thinking about how, if he were to die tomorrow, Michelle, Malia, and Sasha would all receive social security benefits, and if Kim died tomorrow, I would not. I don’t begrudge them the benefits; social security is an important and valuable program in our country. I just want queers to be included in it. We pay in equally, we should receive benefits equally. I was surprised by the amount of anger and agitation that I had thinking about this while listening to him speaking. Now, I won’t be on the street if Kim dies tomorrow, nor would she. We are well-trained lesbians with wills and life insurance policies to protect one another in case of tragedy, but the visible manifestation of this injustice had me beside myself with anger. Hence, I didn’t stand and applaud as much as the masses in the Convention Center. I was more skeptical and suspicious.
Let me say next that we had great seats, including being right behind Lady Gaga, who was fabulous. I’m a new fan. We could see the President very well. He was both comfortable and charismatic. I do feel like he is more comfortable with addressing a gay and lesbian audience than he was a year ago and he is more conversant and passionate about the issues. Do I think that is going to translate into more action at an executive level? No. He will sign legislation that comes out of Congress in support of LGBT people, including the forthcoming Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act. I don’t underestimate the importance of that or the importance of someone who at least in word if not in deed is supportive of the LBGT community. I just want more than rhetoric and more than invitation acceptances as a part of his vision and his legacy. Though, on balance, I’ll take President Obama’s rhetoric over Bush’s active anti-LGBT work. And I’ll vote for President Obama again, though I am unlikely to give money unless he is more proactive on behalf of the agenda of the LGBT community. On one hand, I don’t want to underestimate the power of language to transform our realities; on the other hand, I don’t want to rest on easy rhetoric when there is real work to be done.
Kim found me to be a wet blanket on this issue. She was impressed by the way that he spoke about recognizing relationships between two men and two women and found that to be new and courageous. She also felt like he had come to a place of more understanding, acceptance, and comfort with LBTG people and that should recognized and celebrated. She was inspired by it all and insisted on many picture demonstrating the evening, it’s historical significance, and her proximity to power. The photos are all on Facebook - friend me if you want to see them.
Finally, for me the emotional highlight of the evening was seeing the tribute to Senator Kennedy and the award to Denis and Judy Shepard. Judy Shepard has worked tirelessly for the Hate Crimes act to be passed and seeing that come to fruition is incredible. That made me cry, much more than the President. I expect, though, that at some point in my lifetime, I’ll see a President, and perhaps this one, who will take action and will do things on behalf of LGBT people that make me cry. I hope that day is soon.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I’d like the high of completion without the despair afterward, please.

A number of months ago, a friend of mine who completed his MFA with me at Maryland noted that what he missed most about school after graduation was losing the milestones, the markers along the way. I think I grimaced at the time feeling the pressure of many new milestones ahead of me in the PhD program. I understand today more of what he meant.

At the end of August, I finished one of the first milestones of my PhD program. Honestly, it was exhilarating. I spent the summer reading and annotating a list of books and articles. Then seventy-two blissful hours of writing. Integrating the ideas and information. Playing with them on the screen. Printing the pages, editing, correcting, altering. It was a game for the seventy-two hours to see how many citations I could build in from the larger list within the constraints of the thirty pages allotted for each essay. Then, one Monday at noon, it was over. All printed, sealed with a binder clip and delivered to the university. I came home and cleaned my workroom. I vacuumed. I emptied out the pending emails that I had stored away. I poked around at a new project. I picked up a new book or two. Still, I felt empty and at bit at loose ends. That weekend we whisked off to the Midwest to visit family and I didn’t read at all, or work online. Home. Silence. No looming deadlines (well, a few.) I started new projects, but still there was a particular emptiness, even loneliness, to the completion.

Now, a few weeks later, I’m embroiled in other projects. One nearing completion. One that is a huge and hairy project which exceeds any possibility of completion before the end of my natural lifetime. The despair of those first days after the last milestone is dissipating, slowly, though at this moment as I think about the milestones ahead, I remember the high of completion and honestly, I crave it again, but I know that it comes with the despair, the loss of focus, the silence, the loneliness afterward. I’d like to avoid that, please. I’d like only the pleasure of the driven weeks, days, and hours in advance, the glory of the intense engagement, then, then, I don’t know what, but I know what I don’t want. I’d like to replace it with a satisfied, clear mind. With the revelry of some free time, the restfulness of accomplishment.
It’s like how at the end of a day of writing, the writing seems so perfect, so clear, so accurate, so beautiful. Then the next morning, with a fresh cup of coffee and the computer quickly booting up, the clarity of the previous day vanishes. Edits, slack prose, poor word choices, doubt. They creep in to that mid-morning despair. Can’t we do away with that? Can’t we preserve the high of completion without the despair afterward? Please?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Cotillion Festival for GLBT writers of African descent heads to Austin


August 27, 2009

Contact: G. Winston James

*Cotillion Festival for GLBT writers of African descent heads to Austin*

Registration is underway for Fire & Ink III: Cotillion, a festival for
gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people of African descent, to be
held October 8-11, 2009 in Austin, Texas. Cotillion presenters include
keynote Nikky Finney, poets Samiya Bashir, Staceyann Chin, Lenelle
Moïse, Anton Nimblett, Tim’m T. West, Marvin K. White and avery r.
young; writers Sharon Bridgforth, Laurinda D. Brown, Terrence Dean,
Thomas Glave, and Nalo Hopkinson and Ana Lara; filmmakers M.
Asli Dukan, Thomas Allen Harris, Yoruba Richen and Yvonne Welbon; visual
artists Torkwase Dyson, Zanele Muholi, Wura-Natasha Ogunji and Carl
Pope; and performances by E. Patrick Johnson and Daniel Alexander Jones.
Cotillion will be held at the Hilton Austin, 500 E. 4^th  St. in
downtown Austin, with additional Cotillion events at the Blanton
Museum and the Historic Victory Grill, among others. A complete listing
of presenters can be found at

Early bird registration ($125) for the four-day festival ends Sept. 4,
2009; regular registration ($175) ends Oct. 1, 2009. There is no on-site
registration. Cotillion is open to the public with paid registration.
More information can be obtained at

Featuring more than 40 workshops, panels and roundtables, Cotillion
attendees can expect engaging, thought-provoking discussion in such
panels as “Dash: Metaphor and Connection,” which explores how writers
influence visual artists’ work; “Contemporary Caribbean LGBTQ Writing”;
“Witness to Tradition: LGBT African Media Makers”; “Canaries in the
Mine,” about black queer political theater and social change; and “Pot
Calling Kettle Black: Heterosexism in Homo-Hop.” Cotillion writing
workshops target beginning, intermediate and established writers;
Cotillion also brings a sampling of today’s hottest performance work
with a staged reading of /delta dandi/ by Sharon Bridgforth, /Pouring
Tea/ by E. Patrick Johnson and an intimate cabaret evening with Jomama

Cotillion brings together writers, readers, scholars, students, editors,
publishers, curators, audio and visual artists and media professionals
from around the country. Dr. Dwight McBride of the University of
Illinois-Chicago describes the festival as “one of the few critical
spaces where writers, critics, and publishers interested in literature
by LGBT persons of African descent can come together to have dialogue
about the state of literary culture, important issues in the African
American community addressed in that literature, and to chart new
political and aesthetic directions.”

Fire & Ink, Incorporated is devoted to increasing the understanding,
visibility and awareness of the works of gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgender writers of African descent and heritage. Cotillion is made
possible by major sponsorships from the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for
Justice; the John L. Warfield Center for African and African-American
Studies at the University of Texas at Austin; and ALLGO,
a Texas statewide queer people of color organization. Other sponsors
include the International Federation of Black Prides and the Law Firm of
Francés Jones, P.C.


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Call for Submissions: And Then It Shifted: Women Open Up About Leaving Men for Women (Seal Press, 2010)

Call for Submissions
Working Title:
And Then It Shifted: Women Open Up About Leaving Men for Women (Seal Press, 2010)
2,000-4,000 words
Payment: Upon publication. Amount will vary, depending on experience and other variables ($50 and up). Please include a list of any previous publication credits with your query or submission. Contributors will also receive two copies of the published book.
Deadline: December 1, 2009. That said, we strongly encourage you to send us a query well beforehand, so that we can review it, give you helpful feedback, and have a good sense of what will be coming our way that month. If you are able to submit the piece earlier, we prefer that you do.
Editors: Candace Walsh and Laura André. Candace Walsh is the editor of the recently released anthology Ask Me About My Divorce: Women Open Up About Moving On (
As Dr. Lisa Diamond’s recent groundbreaking book Sexual Fluidity makes clear, women’s sexual desire and identity are capable of shifting. Cynthia Nixon, Carol Leifer, Wanda Sykes, Portia de Rossi, and countless others have left the fold of heterosexual identity to enter into or pursue same-sex relationships.
 Although this book will evolve as we receive submissions, we welcome first-person, literary non-fiction essays from women
1) who were aware that they had always felt robust same-sex desires, but wanted to try to make it work in the straight world, and also
2) who identified as heterosexual at one time, but found that the situation they were in just naturally led to embarking on an intimate romantic relationship with a woman.
We seek a diversity of voices, and welcome submissions from a variety of perspectives.
We also welcome essays from women who don’t fit precisely into the above descriptions.
Here are some questions that we’d like answered in your piece. It may be one of the questions, or you may touch on most of them, and throw in some extra, great stuff that didn’t even occur to us. Please don’t feel like this is an essay question test and that you have to cover them all—we want the format of your essay to feel organic and not be explicitly dictated by our questions.
How did you come to your moment of truth?
Did your perception of yourself change?
Do you feel that others’ perceptions of you changed? Did they surprise you with either an unexpected positive or negative reaction? How did this affect you? Did their reactions change over time?
Do you feel like you surrendered heterosexuality or elements of heterosexual privilege? Do you feel like your new life with a woman has yielded rewards? What were the rewards you expected and which ones were surprises?
What do you miss? What do you not miss? Everything from in the bedroom to out at dinner, at a wedding, as a parent, as a family member, at the gym, in the workplace, on a picnic—whatever comes up for you.
What is this journey like, in general and for you? How did you feel as you were setting out on it and how do you feel now? How do you mark your progress? Were there stages? Illustrative moments? Looking back, do you feel like you went through certain phases?
What is it like to shift your identity? What about you is the same and always will be? What about you has changed or altered?
How did you feel as you began your relationship with a woman? Did you get flak from individuals who second-guessed you? Did you feel like you had to prove yourself? How did you keep your internal balance?
How did your socialization as a straight woman prepare you (ill or well) for pursuing a woman or being in a relationship with a woman?
How did your cultural/religious/racial/ethnic background shape your experience?
Do you like, or are you attracted to certain things that your partner or girlfriend, or gay women do that are traditionally labeled as masculine? Feminine?
How do you define yourself? Do you feel like the current “labels” work for you or that what you are is not yet defined by a word or phrase? What paradigm do you imagine?
Are you still with the woman you left your previous relationship for? Was she just a catalyst, or a rebound, or something else, or “the one”?
As editors, we value specificity, detail, “showing, not telling,” honesty, epiphanies, clean, polished, yet real and un-prettied-up writing, and the sharing of insights.
Please send your submission (Word document, double-spaced), along with a short bio and full contact information to:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Intrigued by this book - Pre-Gay LA

From Gay City News, August 6
By C. Todd White
University of Illinois Press
$25; 280 pages;

Reviewed by DOUG IRELAND
Pioneers With Pens
ONE magazine forged early homosexual visibility in post-war Los Angeles
Published: Thursday, August 6, 2009 9:05 PM CDT
The very first homosexual publication to have appeared with any regularity in the US was Vice Versa, which surfaced in Los Angeles in June 1947. It was produced by a secretary at RKO Studios who called herself Lisa Ben, an anagram for “lesbian,” and it lasted for nine issues. It “fluctuated from 14 to 20 stapled pages consisting of play and film reviews, poetry, fiction, and pointed social commentary through a ‘Queer as It Seems’ department.” Only ten copies were produced and distributed to a close circle of friends who in turn were to pass it on to others.

This is one of the nuggets of largely forgotten gay history to be gleaned from “Pre-Gay L.A.” by C. Todd White, a visiting professor of anthropology at James Madison University, who based the book on his doctoral thesis. The volume’s subtitle is “A Social History of the Movement for Homosexual Rights,” but that is somewhat misleading, because most of the book is a minutely detailed organizational history of ONE, Inc. and ONE magazine.

It may be difficult for young queers of today, who’ve grown up watching “Will and Grace” and surfing the multitude of gay offerings on the Internet, to understand what extraordinary courage it took for the women and men chronicled here to begin organizing associations of homosexuals. White is right to point out the importance to gay organizing of Alfred Kinsey’s famous, best-selling 1948 study of sexuality, which, for the first time, documented a stunning array of same-sex attractions and practices, breaking the sense of isolation in which the sexual dissidents of the 1940s and 1950s lived. There is no better description of the reign of terror under which homosexuals struggled to survive in that dark time than Kinsey’s, for as he wrote then:

“Rarely has man been more cruel against man than in the condemnation and punishment of those accused of the so-called sexual perversions. The punishment for sexual acts which are crimes against persons has never been more severe. The penalties have included imprisonment, torture, the loss of life and limb, banishment, blackmail, social ostracism, the loss of social prestige, renunciation by friends and families, the loss of position in school or in business, severe penalties meted out for convictions of men serving in the armed forces, public condemnation by emotionally insecure and vindictive judges on the bench, and the torture endured by those who live in perpetual fear that their non-conformist sexual behavior will be exposed to public view. These are the penalties which have been imposed on and against persons who have failed to adhere to the mandated customs. Such cruelties have not often been matched, except in religious and racial persecution.”

No wonder that, as White writes, “Homosexual people sensed they had a champion in Kinsey.” And in laying the foundation for an organization of homosexuals that would eventually become the Mattachine Society at the end of 1950, its legendary founder, Harry Hay, and his lover, Rudi Gernreich, when collecting signatures on California’s beaches for the Communist-inspired Stockholm Peace Petition against the Korean War, would initiate discussions with signers by asking, “Have you read the ‘Kinsey Report’?” In this way, they built up lists of names for future use in queer organizing.

One of Mattachine’s seven founding members was Dale Jennings, a World War II combat veteran who, like Hay, was a Communist. When he was arrested on a phony charge of having solicited sex from an undercover cop, Jennings was persuaded by Hay to fight the charge in court, and with the aid of left-wing civil rights lawyer George Shibley — who had come to prominence as the defense lawyer for the Mexican-Americans in the famous 1940s “Zoot Suit” murder case, a fact White doesn’t mention — Jennings eventually had his case dismissed. Mattachine, which had formed a Citizen’s Committee to Outlaw Entrapment to fight the Jennings case, saw its membership boom as a result.

The merit of White’s book is that it rescues from unjust obscurity Jennings, the first editor of ONE magazine, and other founders of ONE, Inc. Another central figure in ONE was William Lambert Dorr Legg — who frequently used the pseudonym Bill Lambert — a professor of landscape architecture and one of ONE’s most erudite figures. Legg and his African-American partner, Merton Bird, in the late 1940s had founded the Knights of the Clock, a small social and mutual aid organization for mixed-race homosexual couples, and several of their fellow Knights joined them when Jennings and Legg led a split from the Mattachine Society to form ONE in November 1952.

The premier issue of ONE magazine, the first pro-gay publication distributed publicly in the US, appeared in January 1953, and was peddled by its creators “from bar stool to bar stool” in the many Los Angeles gay bars for the price of a beer (20 cents). If Jennings was, according to White, “the heart of ONE magazine… during its first year,” the publication’s dominant figure thereafter was another of its founders, Don Slater, a young University of Southern California graduate, thanks to the GI Bill, with a degree in English, who would be supported during his long tenure as the magazine’s editor by his Latino lover, Antonio Sanchez, a musician who also helped start ONE.

By the end of its first year, ONE magazine could boast of nearly a thousand subscribers, with another 1,500 copies distributed through newsstands. Lesbian activists like Stella Rush, Corky Wolf, and Joan Corbin also played an important role in the magazine, seeing to its art work, writing articles, and performing many of the technical and workaday chores needed to publish it.

After three issues, ONE magazine gave birth to ONE, Inc. Legg, who was hired as business manager at the princely sum of $25 a week and thus became the first full-time employee of a homosexual organization in America, increasingly began to conceive of the organization as a broader-reaching institution. In March 1954, Legg engineered what White calls “a closed-door coup” to oust Jennings as the magazine’s editor after a year of increasingly stormy conflicts between the two.

Slater eventually took over as the magazine’s editor, and the next decade of ONE’s history would essentially be centered on the conflict between the short, ebullient, and anarchic editor and the tall, imperious, and authoritarian Legg. It was Legg who spurred the founding of ONE Institute, which sponsored classes on gay culture — which at their height drew an enrollment of some 250 — scholarly studies, and European tours. ONE magazine’s circulation eventually reached 5,000 copies, and ONE Institute prospered thanks to an eccentric female-to-male transsexual millionaire from Louisiana, Reed Erickson, who provided the Institute with monthly subsidies and eventually shelled out $1.8 million for a Los Angeles mansion to house it.

In October 1954, the US Postal Service declared the magazine “obscene” for running a lesbian love story. ONE sued, and finally won in a landmark 1958 Supreme Court decision that established forever the right of gay publications to be distributed through the mails. But a suicidal 1965 split in ONE, Inc. between the Legg and Slater factions, which tore each other apart in a two-year lawsuit, eventually led to ONE magazine’s demise in 1967. The name is kept alive today through the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, which is affiliated with USC and proclaims itself “the world’s largest research library on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered heritage and concerns.”

It’s unfortunate that White is not a better writer. He has little narrative sense, and his cluttered book is rather disjointed — names appear with no information as to who those people were; the text is larded with lengthy exegeses from texts on sociological and anthropological methodology and arcane words from the academic vocabulary that most readers won’t know; and there are long sections based on the records of ONE’s board meetings which document bureaucratic and parliamentary minutiae that make for truly soporific reading. A doctoral thesis meant to impress a professor does not necessarily make for an easily readable book.

Still, for those with the stamina to slog through White’s infelicitous prose, “Pre-Gay L.A.” contains valuable information about a host of queer pioneers whose names have been forgotten but who merit being honored for their courage and foresight. For that, White deserves to be applauded.

The extensive web site for the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives is at

Oh, Leonard!

On this day in 1912, writer Virginia Stephen (books by this author) married Leonard Woolf in London. She was 30, he was 31, and the two intellectuals had been friends for more than a decade. They'd first met in 1899, when Leonard had come over to dine with Virginia's siblings at their house near the British Museum, in the Bloomsbury district of London.
When Leonard and Virginia first met at a dinner party at 46 Gordon Square in Bloomsbury, on a Thursday evening in November, Virginia was recovering from a mental breakdown. Leonard recalled that Virginia was "perfectly silent" during the entire dinner.
After they met, Leonard Woolf headed off to British-controlled Ceylon, where he had a government position. He'd hoped to marry one of Virginia’s sisters, Vanessa. But in 1907, Vanessa married a different member of the Bloomsbury Group, critic Clive Bell. Eventually, Leonard became engaged to Virginia. During their engagement, she wrote in her diary that he was a "penniless Jew."
But Leonard and Virginia Woolf's marriage turned out to be companionable, productive, and happy. A quarter century after they married, she wrote in her diary: "Love-making — after 25 years can't bear to be separate … you see it is enormous pleasure being wanted: a wife. And our marriage so complete." They encouraged each other's writing, and Leonard nursed her compassionately during her recurring bouts of mental illness.
He was always the first reader of her manuscripts, and she valued his critiques and suggestions. After leaving his career in the colonial department so that he could stay with her in England, he became an editor by profession. He served as editor of a number of prestigious international politics journals. In 1917, he bought a small printing press, thinking it would be a good hobby for his wife, recovering from another episode of mental illness. They set up the hand-operated printing press in the dining room at Hogarth House, their dwelling in London.
They called it "Hogarth Press," after their house, and started to publish the works of their friends and colleagues: E.M. Forster, Katherine Mansfield, and T.S. Eliot. It was Hogarth Press that did the first edition of The Waste Land. They also published the first English translation of Freud's writings. In 1918, they were asked to print James Joyce's Ulysses, but their small new operation wasn't equipped to handle the monumental tome. The press would later publish Virginia Woolf's novels.
Their stable marriage, and Leonard's steadfast encouragement and stellar editorial skills, helped Virginal Woolf to be productive. In the 1920s, she wrote masterpieces Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), and A Room of One's Own (1929). But while productive, she was also plagued by recurring manic-depressive episodes. Leonard kept notes about her illness in his diary, but he coded the notes in Tamil and Sinhalese so no one finding the diary would easily be able to read the notes. He also suffered from severe depression.
In 1941, with war raging in Europe, Virginia Woolf feared that she was on the verge of another breakdown. On March 28, she filled the pockets of her jacket with rocks, waded into the River Ouse and drowned herself. Her last note was to her husband Leonard. She wrote:
"I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can't go through another of those terrible times. And I shan't recover this time. …What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that — everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness …"
Leonard Woolf edited some of her works posthumously, including selected diaries, and he wrote four volumes of autobiography. He wrote about being married to a brilliant, troubled woman and he chronicled her deteriorating mental illness. Their relationship is the subject of a book by George Spater and Ian Parsons, A Marriage of True Minds: An Intimate Portrait of Leonard and Virginia Woolf (1977).
From The Writer’s Almanac.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

S as in Sam, Z as in Zebra

This is my periodic update email with where my work has been and where it is appearing. If you’d like to be added to the email list, do let me know at JulieREnszer at gmail dot com and I’ll happily send it directly to your email box.

I write this from the midst of my studies for my General Exam in Women's Studies which I'll be writing the weekend of August 21-24. The reading, summarizing and annotating have been one of the joys of the summer. Another joy was the opportunity to spend three weeks in Cuernavaca, Mexico studying Spanish. I posted a plethora of photos on Facebook from the trip, so if you're on Facebook, check them out there.

Two New Poems

Two poems have been recently published online.

"Constantin Brancusi's The Kiss" in the Windy City Times Pride Literary Supplement

"Absolutely No Car Repairs in the Parking Lot" in On The Issues Magazine

I'm thrilled to be included in both of these publications with other fine poets and writers.

Lesbian Poetry Archive

I've been adding to the Lesbian Poetry Archive, one of my projects for my PhD. Recently, I've posted a new chapbook and anthology. Do check it out periodically here:
Also, please consider joining the Lesbian Poetry Archive group on Facebook! Click here:
Join and post comments, if you wish. One of the goals of the Lesbian Poetry Archive is to connect more people interested in lesbian poetry, both contemporary lesbian poetry and lesbian poetry from years past.

Second Person Queer

This spring, Second Person Queer was published by Arsenal Pulp Press, and I was thrilled to have an piece included in it. Second Person Queer is an anthology of essays on LGBT life written in the second person. It is filled with delightful, passionate, funny and moving essays by great LGBT writers. I highly commend it to you. You can see it online here:
and order it from any fine bookseller that you matronize.

Two poems were included in the most recent issue of Feminist Studies as well so check that out in your local library or at your newsstand. I have poems forthcoming in a variety of places including Women's Review of BooksKnockOut and Gertrude Journal. I'm also still writing book reviews and other various and sundry writing projects. 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.

That's my update for the summer. I hope this email finds you happy and thriving and filled with good dreams and schemes for the fall. 


Julie R. Enszer

P.S. You're receiving this email newsletter because sometime, somewhere I thought that you might be interested in periodic updates about my work. If you'd like to be removed, please just reply to this email and I'll remove you from the list promptly.

Friday, July 24, 2009


I was enchanted this morning by this photo from the BBC. There is a whole exhibit of photos of the history of pride in the UK. It's worth a look. Meanwhile, I'll be contemplating revolting homosexuals for the balance of the day.

H/T to for the link.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My friend and Woman-Stirred colleague, Jan Steckel, is celebrating the publication of her newest chapbook, Mixing Tracks. It won the 2008 Fiction Chapbook Contest at Gertrude Press. This is what the press says about the story:

A darkly comic and oddly touching story of sex, drugs, rock and roll, and a plane crash that crushes human bodies while leaving the mandolins unharmed. In “Mixing Tracks,” Jan Steckel strikes an unsettling balance between the consolations of memory, the thrilling ephemerality of youthful ambition, and our shared need for connection, even (or especially) when our world seems to have to come to its end.

It’s a fabulous story by a fabulous writer. Pick it up for just $8 today at the Gertude Press website.

Since Stonewall Contest sponsored by

This looks very cool. I’d love to do a history of stuff in Detroit, but I fear I don’t have time.

*** Extends Deadline for Since Stonewall Local Histories Contest! has extended the deadline for creating online exhibits on the local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer histories of villages, towns, counties, cities, or states in the U.S. since June 1969.

To enter the contest simply create and finalize an exhibit about a local LGBTQ community by March 31, 2010. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, will award five prizes from $1,000 to $5,000 for the best online exhibits. A panel of judges, convened by will assess the exhibits and will announce the top five exhibits on June 28, 2010. In fall of 2010, will host an event showcasing the winning exhibits.

Jonathan Ned Katz,'s Director, expects this contest "to draw attention to LGBTQ histories of places and communities outside of major cities, as well as in major metropolitan areas." users have already created exhibits about the histories of LGBTQ life in places such as Tippecanoe County, Indiana, Columbia, South Carolina and Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Lauren Gutterman, Coordinator, hopes the site will "receive at least one submission from every state," but there is no limit on the number of entries per state, village, town, county, or city.

This contest is supported by the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the City of New York Graduate Center and funded by a generous grant from the Arcus Foundation.
The Since Stonewall Contest invites you to create an exhibit about LGBTQ history in your local community over the last 40 years, and post it on Any logged-in user can create and edit entries on To be eligible for this contest, all you have to do is begin your exhibit by June 28, 2009 .


- First drafts of exhibits must be posted by the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots on June 28, 2009.

- Revised exhibits must be completed by March 31, 2010.

- OutHistory will announce the top five exhibits on June 28, 2010.


- Your exhibit must have a title that includes the village, town, city, or county, and the state and a time frame. Although we prefer that exhibits span the entire 40 year period, we will accept exhibits that begin after 1969. For example: “Detroit, MI: Forging New Lives Since Stonewall, 1984-2009.”

- Your exhibit must have a main entry page that will list all the additional pages in your exhibit. For an example of such a main page listing on see:

- Every page must fully and clearly cite all sources using the Chicago Manual of Style Guide.

- To help OutHistory users find subjects of interest, every page in your exhibit must have subject categories listed at the very bottom of each entry page. These categories might include: “Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, AIDS, Parenting, Aging, Activism.”

- Every entry page in your exhibit must have a synopsis. For example: “This page discusses how the HIV/AIDS epidemic affected gay life in Chicago, IL.”

- Every entry page in your exhibit must have specified time-span. For example, “August 1981–July 1992.”

- Every exhibit must have a contact person. You can post a contact person’s name and e-mail address on your page, or send it to


- Please take this contest as an opportunity to collaborate with archivists, students, activists and others in your local community. We welcome collaboratively-created exhibit entries.

- There are multiple ways to structure a local history exhibit. Consider which structure would work best for the story you want to tell. You could, for example, base your 40-year exhibit around a few individuals’ life stories, notable local events, or specific organizations or places in your community . You could document how different groups of people have experienced the last forty years differently.

- Find a wide array of sources on which to base your exhibit: newspaper articles, interviews, diaries, letters, artwork, personal photographs, maps, audio recordings, etc.

- Find historical documents and objects at LGBTQ archives, local historical societies, or libraries.

A listing of LGBTQ archives across the country can be found here:

- Try to make exhibits as dynamic as possible – include images, video and audio clips whenever possible. See OutHistory “Help” pages for instruction about how to do so.

- Try to design your exhibit so that a broad audience of internet users can understand and learn from it.

- Please include a chonological timeline of events so that the history you are telling is clear.

Please contact the Project Coordinator at with any additional questions.

Thursday, June 18, 2009 Publishes New Obtained Stonewall Riot Police Reports: Names Woman Arrestee and Three Men Arrestees

Recently obtained New York City Police Department reports reveal new, important details about what the police called an “Unusual Occurrence” at the Stonewall Inn -- the rebellion provoked by a police raid on the gay bar that took place 40 years ago this month.

The newly revealed documents, created early on the morning of the rebellion’s start, June 28, 1969, provide an immediate, palpable sense of the event that has come to symbolize the beginning of the modern movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights and liberation.

Reproduced in facsimile with transcriptions, nine pages of the NYPD records are published for the first time on at: Stonewall Riot Police Reports, June 28, 1969

Highlights include:

*Officer Charles Broughton of the 1st Division arrested Raymond Castro, Marilyn Fowler and Vincent DePaul, charging them with acting together to “shove and kick the officer.”  This is the first time that Fowler and DePaul have been named and documented as riot participants. Fowler’s name is extremely significant, since no other woman’s arrest has been so far been documented, and numbers of witnesses attributed the riot’s intensifying to the arrest and resistance of an unnamed butch lesbian. (Castro is named as a participant in David Carter’s Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution. also includes: Raymond Castro Interviewed by Jonathan Ned Katz: June 16, 2009.)

*Police officer Charles Holmes of the 6th Precinct was treated at nearby Saint Vincent’s Hospital after being bitten on the right wrist by a Stonewall rioter. Biting has not earlier been documented as a Stonewall resistance tactic.

*Officer Andrew Scheu of the 6th Precinct charged Wolfgang Podolski with resisting arrest and with striking an “officer with [a] rolled newspaper causing him to fall to ground fracturing his wrist.” This is the first documented reference to Podolski, a waiter or writer (the report is unclear), as a riot participant. A rolled up newspaper has not earlier been documented as a resistance weapon.

*Officer Gail Lynch, of the 5th Precinct, charged that Thomas Staton interfered with an officer making an arrest “by throwing assorted objects [and] while with others did become very loud and refused to comply.” Staton has not earlier been named and documented as a riot participant.  Lynch has not earlier been named as one of the women police officers at the scene. The newly obtained records for the first time provide the full names of several other officers involved in the riot.

*An unfortunate Volkswagen owner complained to officer Robert Hansen of the 6th Precinct that her car, parked near the riot scene, had been “stomped” on during the disturbance and sustained damage to the roof, hood, and rear.

*The reports also document the charge by Officer Gilbert Weisman of the 6th Precinct that David Van Ronk, “Actor” (he was actually a well-known folksinger) “Did assault the officer about the face with an unknown object.”  The heterosexual Van Ronk was arrested, handcuffed, taken into the Stonewall, and later taken away in a patrol wagon. He eventually pleaded guilty to “harassment,” a violation, and was later sued by Weisman for assault, and paid the officer a fine.

Seven pages of these NYPD records were obtained in May 2009 by Jonathan Ned Katz, Director of, in consultation with historian David Carter, and two additional pages were obtained in 1988 by the late Michael Scherker, under the New York State Freedom of Information Law. In the documents obtained by Katz, for the first time the names of those arrested are not blacked out, providing the public and historians with important new evidence about the rebellion’s participants. None of the nine NYPD reports made available on have earlier been published.

Katz asks that anyone with any knowledge of the persons arrested or charged, or any knowledge of the police officers named, contact him at:

Any information about arrestees Vincent DePaul, Marilyn Fowler, Wolfgang Podolski, and Thomas Staton would be “greatly appreciated,” says Katz, and any data on Marilyn Fowler is of “special interest.”

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall resistance, is also republishing novelist and essayist Edmund White’s eyewitness letter about the riots, written to friends a few days after the rebellion, and playwright Martin Sherman’s recollection of the resistance. These documents have not before been available on line. See: Edmund White: Letter to Ann and Alfred Corn, July 8, 1969 and Martin Sherman: "A Hot Night in June," November 1994. is the freely accessible, community-created website on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and, yes, heterosexual history. It is produced by the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the City University of New York Graduate Center under a grant from the Arcus Foundation and donations from individuals. is unique in encouraging members of the LGBTQ and heterosexual communities to help write the histories of those communities. “Fight Against Forgetting” is one of the website’s mottos. Major LGBTQ scholars also contribute to the site. OutHistory is also holding a Since Stonewall Local Histories Contest in which users are encouraged to create an exhibit about the history of LGBTQ their town, village, county, city or state over the past 40 years.

Events commemorating the Stonewall 40th are listed on at: Stonewall 40th Anniversary, June 1969-June 2009. Among these, Stonewall Was a Riot! a fundraiser for, will be held at the Stonewall Inn on Monday, June 22, 8-10 pm, and will feature performers riffing on life since 1969. Space is limited and reservations may be made by emailing A donation of $20 is requested.


Jonathan Ned Katz


Lauren Gutterman


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The source of my addiction

Very sad news today in Publishers Lunch

Owner of Ann Arbor bookstore Shaman Drum Karl Pohrt will close the store at the end of June. "I feel like I've had this charmed life to sell books in Ann Arbor for nearly 30 years," he tells the Ann Arbor News (which will also close soon.) "That's a good run."

The store's site says, "On the advice of my accountant and my business manager, I am closing Shaman Drum Bookshop June 30. Despite a first rate staff, a fiercely loyal core of customers, a very decent landlord and my own commitment to the community of arts and letters in Ann Arbor, it is clear to me that the bookshop is not a sustainable business."

I spent many afternoons in Shaman Drum bookstore reading books, holding books, thinking about books, and buying books. In some ways, it is the source of my addiction. I’m very sad to learn that it is closing. How will other young dykes find poetry by Marilyn Hacker in Ann Arbor?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Sisters by Grace Paley - from the Poetry Daily Newsletter


My friends are dying

well we're old     it's natural

one day we passed the experience of "older"

which began in late middle age

and came suddenly upon "old" then

all the little killing bugs and

baby tumors that had struggled

for years against the body's

brave immunities found their

level playing fields and


but this is not what I meant to

tell you     I wanted to say that

my friends were dying but have now

become absent     the word dead is correct

but inappropriate

I have not taken their names out of

conversation   gossip   political argument

my telephone book or card index in

whatever alphabetical or contextual

organizer     I can stop any evening of

the lonesome week at Claiborne   Bercovivi

Vernarelli   Deming and rest a moment

on their seriousness as artists   workers

their excitement as political actors in the

streets of our cities or in their workplaces

the vigiling   fasting   praying in or out

of jail   their lighthearted ness which floated

above the year's despair

their courageous sometimes hilarious

disobediences before the state's official

servants     their fidelity to the idea that

it is possible with only a little extra anguish

to live in this world     at absolute [minimum?]

loving brainy sexual energetic redeemed

Grace Paley
Gulf Coast

Summer/Fall 2008

Monday, June 01, 2009

Sinister Wisdom - Call for Submissions

Call for Submissions

Special Theme Issue Lesbian Poetry – When? And Now!

Deadline: March 1, 2010

Lesbian Poetry – When? And Now!
Poetry has long been important to lesbians, lesbian publishing, and lesbian identity. The Daughters of Bilitis took the name of the organization from the lesboerotic poems of Pierre Louys, Songs of Bilitis. From the Sappho fragments to the words of Gertrude Stein, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Renee Vivien, Michael Field (two women writing with a pseudonym), Adah Isaacs Menken, Emily Dickinson, Angelina Weld Grimké, Muriel Rukeyser, May Sarton and hundreds of other mid- and late- twentieth century poets, what it means to be lesbian is often expressed and understood through poetry.

This issue of Sinister Wisdom seeks poems by thirty to forty contemporary lesbian poets, each paired with a poem by a lesbian poet of yore. Think about what work inspires your work and submit creative, eclectic, interesting, and unusual pairings for consideration.

Some notes about submission:

  • •Each pair should include a poem by the contemporary poet and a “poet of yore.”

  • •The submitter should provide a bio of both poets include in the submission.

  • •Poets are encouraged to submit up to three pairs of poems for consideration.

  • •Pairings of poems and visual art work are also welcome.

  • •Other creative responses to the theme are welcome.

  • •Permission to print both poems must be secured by the submitter. Please discuss copyright and permission with the guest editor well in advance of deadline.

Deadline: March 1, 2010.

For manuscript submission guidelines, please visit the Sinister Wisdom website here:

Submit manuscripts to Julie R. Enszer, 6910 Wells Parkway, University Park, MD 20782 with SASE for response or email

Questions, queries, comments? Please email Julie R. Enszer at

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dear Roxie,

I've been thinking about you this weekend. Knowing where you are headed, I wanted to post you a few words before your journey. I'm no Mitch Albom, though we hail from the same city, but thought this might be useful to you as you entire the next phase.

When you get to heaven (which we all know is assured), you can look up my sister, Lara. I'm a little unclear about the heaven thing in general, and more particularly if people in heaven are at the age when they died or if they go back to some super special age in their life. If they are at the age when they died, there will be lots of oldsters there, which you may enjoy, but when you need a break, look for Lara. In addition to being young and fun, she likes small dogs so will have lots of treats and time for rubbing your ears and belly.

Look for the Jew part of heaven. You'll know you're there because everyone will say, I don't really believe in any of this, but you look swell, Sol. Or something like that. Roxie, this may not appeal to you, but well, this is my advice to you and you're under no obligation to take it. If you could though, look up Maimonides. Hang out with him for a spell. I think it would be fascinating. And find the four matriarchs. How does Sarah spend her days? Did she get into gambling? That's my bet. Leah? Rachel? Rebecca? They been there a long time, and I wonder how they are using their days.

Visit Virginia. She'll also be sympathetic to dogs. You've read her biography of the Brownings' spaniel, I suspect. I imagine she spends her days surrounded by sunshine and flowers with ample silence and good food service. Table scraps will definitely come your way if you find Virginia.

Look for Gertrude and Alice. Gertrude will probably interrogate you thoroughly then either embrace you with further demands or dismiss you. The latter might be better. Hang out with Alice in the kitchen or during early mornings when she's typing. Unless she's dropped that task and hired in a young chippie to translate Gertrude's late night scrawls into text.

The fact of the matter is there are scads of lesbians and lesbian couples who can provide hours of entertainment for you and keep you in the environment to which you've become accustomed. Look for Rosa and Nathalie (or maybe she prefers to hang out with Anne?), Renee, Natalie, Muriel, May, Audre, Pat, and May. Elizabeth will probably be a grump, but she might share a little nip of alcohol for an afternoon nap.

You can look beyond the lesbos, too. I've always wanted to have a nice long chat with Bayard and James. Or a cocktail conversation with Pierre Louys (he may be fascinating, but I wouldn't commit to more until after I had a brief chitty-chat. Oh, and the scientists! Marie, Irene, Lise. Meet them all.

Roxie, you're going to have so much fun. I want to encourage you to relax and enjoy and, at least for the first few days, don't look back. There will be many missing you and mourning your sudden absence.

Friday, May 29, 2009

21st Lambda Literary Award Winners



  • Open, Jenny Block, Seal Press


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


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


  • Out of the Pocket, Bill Konigsberg, Dutton


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


  • Loving The Difficult, Jane Rule, Hedgerow Press


  • Turnskin, Nicole Kimberling, Blind Eye Books


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


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


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


  • The Sealed Letter, Emma Donoghue, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

  • All the Pretty Girls, Chandra Mayor, Conundrum Press


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


  • Whacked, Josie Gordon, Bella Books


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


  • The Kiss That Counted, Karin Kallmaker, Bella Books


  • Finlater, Shawn Ruff, Quote Editions


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


  • We Disappear, Scott Heim, HarperCollins


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


  • First You Fall, Scott Sherman, Alyson Books

GAY POETRY  (a tie!)

  • Fire to Fire, Mark Doty, HarperCollins

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


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

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lesbian Poetics: Imagining, Envisioning and Documenting Multi-Racial and Multi-Cultural Communities

This is my class presentation today for my final class in the Women’s Studies Core series. It’s been a great year-long series and I’m excited about the presentation - and the longer paper which I’ll wrap up this week. You can read the paper here:

and see the powerpoint here:

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Finalists for the 21st Annual Lambda Literary Awards

Results will be announced on May 28th.

The Lambda Literary Awards seek to recognize excellence in the field of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender literature. Each year, over 80 judges -- writers, booksellers, librarians, journalists -- assess the entries in more than 20 categories.

This year, 105 finalists representing 72 publishers are competing for awards in 22 categories.

NOTE: Finalists will be contacted about tickets through their publisher, or may send an email to


* 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 Journals
* 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 Schmatz, 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: A Memoir, Maureen Seaton, University of Wisconsin 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 Light Publishers
* We Disappear, Scott Heim, Harper Perennial
* 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, Harper
* 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, Harper
* Now You're the Enemy, James Allen Hall, Univ. of Arkansas Press
* My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer, 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

Judging criteria: The two equally important criteria for judging a submission are 1) the LGBT content and 2) the quality of writing.

LGBT content is a combination of factors: LGBT characters, events that influence LGBT lives and/or have meaning to the LGBT community; LGBT stories that haven’t been told; or traditional LGBT material that is handled in a unique and fresh way.

Quality of the writing. If a work is beautifully written but has little LGBT content, then it may not deserve to become a finalist. If a work has substantial LGBT content but is poorly written (e.g., clichéd, inadequate characterization or other substandard craft), then it may not deserve to become a finalist. These awards seek to honor both talent and content, not just one or the other.

For the genre categories (Mystery, Romance, Erotica, Science Fiction, etc.), the quality of the writing should also fulfill the expectations of the genre. When assessing a mystery, consider how the mystery stands in relation to its genre: a) is it traditional, b) does it challenge the conventions of a mystery in a new and interesting way, or c) is it not really a mystery but a novel with a few mysterious elements?

Publishing Triangle and Ferro-Grumley Announce Award Winners


The judges had to make some hard choices among a strong field of submissions, but a very worthy group of finalists has emerged for this year's Publishing Triangle and Ferro-Grumley Awards. These awards are for books published in the United States or Canada in 2008. Here are the winners and the other finalists.

Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction
WINNER! Kai Wright, Drifting Toward Love (Beacon Press)
Linas Alsenas, Gay America (Amulet Books / Abrams)
Bob Morris, Assisted Loving (Harper)

Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction
WINNER! Andrea Weiss, In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain (University of Chicago Press)
Regina Kunzel, Criminal Intimacy (University of Chicago Press)
Nancy D. Polikoff, Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage (Beacon Press)

The Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction
WINNER! Evan Fallenberg, Light Fell (Soho Press)
Alistair McCartney, The End of the World Book (University of Wisconsin Press)
Shawn Stewart Ruff, Finlater (Quote Editions)

Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry
WINNER! Elizabeth Bradfield, Interpretive Work (Red Hen Press)
Maureen McLane, Same Life (Farrar Straus Giroux)
Elaine Sexton, Causeway (New Issues)

The Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry
WINNER! Ely Shipley, Boy with Flowers (Barrow Street Press)
Jericho Brown, Please (New Issues)
Mark Doty, Fire to Fire (Harper)

The Ferro-Grumley Awards for LGBT Fiction
WINNER! Alison Bechdel, The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
David Ebershoff, The 19th Wife (Random House)
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage (Farrar Straus Giroux)
Blair Mastbaum, Us Ones in Between (Running Press)
Benjamin Taylor, The Book of Getting Even (Steerforth)
Ellen Wittlinger, Love & Lies (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Also awarded:
The Publishing Triangle Leadership Award: Carole DeSanti
The Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement: Martin Duberman
The winners for these awards were announced at our annual awards ceremony, held at the New School in Greenwich Village, New York, on Thursday, May 7, 2009.

For a complete list of past Triangle Award winners, visit our awards page. There you will also find information about special privileges that Publishing Triangle members have in nominating books and authors for these literary awards.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Great Literary Birthdays Today

From The Writer’s Almanac

It's the birthday of writer Alice B. Toklas, (books by this author) born in San Francisco (1877). In 1907, she went to Paris where she met Gertrude Stein, and the two women became lovers. They moved into 27 rue de Fleurs, where they began a salon that became a social hub for artists and writers, including Picasso, Hemingway, Matisse, and Fitzgerald. In 1933, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas was published, which was actually written by Gertrude Stein and not Toklas. But after Stein died, Toklas wrote her own memoir, called What Is Remembered (1963). She said, "Gertrude Stein … held my complete attention, as she did for all the many years I knew her until her death, and all these empty ones since then."
It's the birthday of Annie Dillard, (books by this author) born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1945). She wrote Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (1974), and it won a Pulitzer Prize. She was 29 years old.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What Becomes You

I think this is very cool. (Click on the image to view larger!)

The selection from my review in the Lambda Book Report:
“In short, What Becomes You is a superb memoir. As finely wrought as Minnie Bruce Pratt’s S/he, it is careful and tender while simultaneously confrontational and challenging.” —Julie R. Enszer, Lambda Book Report

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lesbian Poetry: Textuality, Intertextuality, and Materiality

My presentation for quickanddirty V. Tomorrow at the University of Maryland.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

CFP: Gender, Sport, and the Olympics (deadline: May 15, 2009)

The editors of  /thirdspace: a journal of feminist theory and culture/
invite submissions for our forthcoming issue on gender, sport, and the

Prompted by the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, we are
interested in exploring the central role which gender and sexuality play in
shaping ideas about athleticism, sport culture, and the body, and the
significant ways in which athletic events such as the Olympics work to
transform conceptions of public space, national boundaries and identities,
and gendered self-presentations and performances. This issue invites
contributions on:

o        the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver
o        sport, athleticism, and ability
o        the Para Olympics
o        LGBT participation in athletics and the Olympics
o        legal impacts on gender and sport (i.e. Title IX legislation in the
United States)
o        sport and masculinities/femininities
o        the role of gender in sporting competition
o        gendered perspectives on Olympic events
o        the use of prosthetics and technologies in athletic competition
o        the impact of the Olympics on the environment
o        sports/the Olympics and the use of public space, including
displacement of individuals/communities, the environment, and urban renewal
o        and other topics relevant to the theme of gender, sport, and the

We welcome submissions from a wide range of disciplinary and geographical
perspectives. Submissions from researchers working within, or among, the
disciplines of geography, sociology, literature, area studies, cultural
studies, film/media studies, art, history, education, law, and women’
s/gender studies are particularly encouraged.

We accept the submission of work from scholars of any rank or affiliation,
and encourage submissions from emerging feminist scholars, including
graduate students.

All submissions to the journal must be submitted electronically through our
online submission process. All submissions are peer-reviewed by established,
senior feminist scholars. For more information on our publishing policies

To submit: Please follow our online submission process at

** Deadline: May 15, 2009 **

For more information, please contact us at info [at]

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 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.