We seek writing (verse, prose, other) that does some or all of the following: * goes beyond familiar models of lyric expressivism and "realist" narrative * draws on the inherent rubberiness of language * causes inanimate objects to hover eerily in midair * replaces capitalism with a futuro-archaic barter system predicated on terrifying but flexible Deleuzean definitions of value
Queer Theory courses and professors are under attack in Georgia. The attackers are inarticulate, as usual, but also sloppy: their rhetoric deliberately conflates teaching sexuality with enacting it. In courses on American History, do we teach students how to fire weapons, invade Native settlements, and wage civil war? Nope. In classes on Religion, do we expect students to pray to every God under discussion? Nope. Why is it that the STUDY of sexuality immediately translates, for Conservatives, into PRACTICE? Is STUDY so very hard to understand?
What's at stake here is a lack of imagination. As a fiction writer, as a poet, I'm invested in cultivating a vivid and unique imagination. My imagination is necessary for my art. As an intellectual, I also tap into my imagination in order to grasp realities beyond my experience -- both fictional and factual. I've never traveled to Iraq, but learning about Iraq, and the culture and conflicts there, is part of my education as a citizen. Studying Iraq doesn't mean I've been there or experienced the culture. I have to imagine a world beyond the page, beyond the photograph. This is where having a brain comes in handy. This is also why learning is pleasurable -- more fun than not learning, more fun than shutting everything out.
Fascinating to notice that there is no division, among Conservative Outraged Citizens, between theory and practice. This is a failure of their own educations and educational institutions. I'm not interested in a world without imagination. I'm not interested in a university run by the C.O.C..
Mostly this just makes me sad. It also makes me think of Wallace Stevens' great poem, "A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts." The pleasure this poem gives me! "To be, in the grass, in the peacefullest time, / Without that monument of cat"
How lovely to slip inside the rabbit's being, just for a moment; how lovely to imagine, to escape. How awful the life of the C.O.C., stuck inside their very literal worlds, without imagination, without the spiritual transcendence that comes from art and passion. How dry and dull their worlds must be, without poetry, pleasure, or invention. Days of pinning down, precisely, the alphabet to its dusty page.
Village Books is hosting the Bellingham, WA segment of the "Live Nude Girl In The Devil's Territory" book tour. Join three writers (working in three genres) on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009 at 7pm.
Elizabeth Colen will start this event with a selection of poems. Kathleen Rooney will read from her newest book of nonfiction, Live Nude Girl, and Kyle Minor will read from his fiction collection, In The Devil's Territory.
Over 600 dogs were seized from puppy mills in Western Washington this week. Up to 80% of the dogs are pregnant. Foster homes, permanent homes, and volunteers are desperately needed. As many as 1500 dogs may need homes once the mothers give birth:
This quarter I'm teaching a GLBT Literature class, a lecture course with 75 students enrolled. We'll be sure to discuss some of Mark Doty's poems, because the best response to violence is to honor the voices of those who resist it.