Archive | March, 2011

Gender Bender

16 Mar

Before I dive into what I want to talk about, I gotta share some good news: I’ve been accepted to the 2011 Callaloo Workshop. It’s an opportunity to talk poetry with some of the premiere writers in the nation. Plus I get to go to Texas. I guess…people…from Texas…like Texas… 😛

I gotta apologize beforehand for the awkwardness of the following paragraph. I’m doing my best to be objective and to protect folks’ anonymity, which fucks with the flow of the tale a little. Greater good n shit, blah blah blah. I also apologize for the overall quality of my prose in this post, because I’m not trying very hard.

Okay, okay. A poet who was competing at the Women of the World Poetry Slam this past weekend posted about feeling disrespected by another member of the community. The former was wearing a low-cut dress – not her usual attire – and already feeling uncomfortable about the kind of attention she was receiving. She was talking to some friends about this, and another (woman) poet, a colleague and an acquaintance, approached and commented that the poet with noticeable cleavage had no right to feel offended because, wearing that dress, she was “asking for it”. She who was theoretically “asking for it” felt pretty terrible, and that’s why she publicly wrote about what happened.

Okay, okay. I know both the poets in question at least a bit, and before I make my oh-so-important point, I just want to say that the woman who overstepped has a trangressive sense of humor and a very dry delivery. I wasn’t there, but I’m pretty sure this is a case of an attempt at a joke gone really wrong.

What most interests me about this situation is folks’ reaction to the post. There’s this undercurrent of shock in the responses I’ve read, as though it’s inconceivable that a woman could speak to another woman in such a way, especially at a women’s event.

What, exactly, is so shocking about this?

Fucking up is not a male province. Telling a bad joke is not something that only a man can do. More importantly, if you read the situation this way: being aggressive, chauvanistic, or disrespectful has less to do with maleness than it has to do with capitalism, or Americanism. Whatever it is we are as a culture, we still carry a big stick, we swagger, and we know a lot about fucking with other people’s boundaries, and sometimes acting ignorant as hell. I’ve been an asshole to many a person in my day, and I don’t want surprise or absolution just because of my body parts, clothes, and sexual preferences. This ain’t the 50s, my loves.

Just to say. Talk whatever shit you like about testosterone or estrogen, but as long as we perpetuate the notion that women are somehow sanctified, that we’re all on some Virgin Mary shit, incapable of fucking up, we’re perpetuating sexism. Equality means: if we’re just as strong and capable as men, we get to be as stupid and offensive and abusive as men can be. Amen and hallelujah, every gender fucks up.

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Book Release News & Then Some.

9 Mar

Hello, Pookies.

I’m currently in Columbus for the 2011 Women of the World Poetry Slam. I was a finalist in last year’s competition, but this year I’m enjoying the festival from a new perspective. I’ll be hosting bouts, mingling with my slam family, and soaking up the city of Columbus – while, as always, continuing to work on writing, promotion, and booking. Speaking of booking, darlings, do let me know if you want to bring me to your school, event, or show; I run a helluva workshop, and I rock the mic right.

My publisher has pushed my book’s official release back to April. You can still buy pre-release copies from me, or from the Write Bloody store, but no official book release shows are happening until next month. The good news is I’ve spoken to Kevin Coval, an O.G. poet of crazy acclaim, and he offered to help me organize releases in Chicago. I’ll keep y’all posted as we pull those shows together.

Finally, I received my first official book review today! Jason Behrends writes a really cool blog on contemporary culture called What to Wear During an Orange Alert?, and he runs a corresponding reading series in Chicago. Behrends reviews my work quite favorably here. Over the next month or so, I’m sending many more copies out to different reviewers, so let’s hope this is just the beginning, babies!

Love, love. Be safe, sweethearts. ❤