going to going to what

I’m currently taking Lauren Russell’s workshop on documentary poetry, sponsored by the Art Write Collective in Madison. As an exercise, she asked us to erase Donald Trump’s New Hampshire primary victory speech transcript. Here’s mine. Happy Super Tuesday.

wow
wow
beautiful
beautiful
fantastic
fantastic
boom
boom
I’ll tell you
I’ll tell you
I said it
I said it
you started it
started it
no

we’re not going to
going to
going to
going to
going to
going to
love our
going to
going to
going to
going to
it’s going
it’s going
going to
nobody
nobody
going to
going to
nobody

going to
going to
going to
going to
going to
going to
going to
going to
so
so
we’re going to
going to
going to
going to
going to
going to
thousands of
thousands of
going to
going to
going to
going to
going to
going to
think
think
going to
going to
going to
going to
going to
going to
what’s going
what’s going
going to
going to
so
don’t win
don’t win
thank you very much

Nat. Brut: An Enthusiasm

A journal I’ve been super psyched about since I first learned of it last year (though it’s been around since 2012) is Nat. Brut. I intentionally left it off my dazzling and comprehensive 2015 Year-End Review List because I wanted to sing its praises separately.

Then! I received an email from editor in chief Kayla E. inviting me to join Nat. Brut’s board of directors. I learned more. I agreed. Now I’m not just on board, I’m on THE board (!) (or will be when my term starts, I think in March) of one of the most thoughtfully and beautifully made journals around.

Have you seen it? It’s stunning…

Nat Brut_crop

…and activating, energizing, invigorating. Nat. Brut is pro-art, pro-social justice; it publishes art across media and genre, centers marginalized voices, and promotes environmental sustainability.

Issue Six (Fall 2015) was my intro. I bought a copy mainly because Meghan Lamb, whose work I follow, contributed to the supplement, a comics zine. More on that below.

Issue Six assembles a generous, diverse collection of fiction, poetry, features, and visual art, plus a foldout comics poster called “Early Edition.” Among my favorite pieces are:

  • Afabwaje Kurian’s “Butter,” which deftly explores tensions between black African immigrant and African American communities through the story of a Nigerian girl’s fraught relationship with a classmate, and her first, confusing encounter with the n-word.
  • Elise Liu’s “John and Mary and Jenny and Mike,” an equation-based reworking of Margaret Atwood’s “Happy Endings” that pluralizes not only the available storylines, but the original couple, recasting them as a range of characters with different social and national identities.
  • Morgan Jerkins’ “Asha,” a succinct and compelling fabulist parable about Black women’s domestic labor and the exploitation of generosity.
  • David Rice’s “On the Murder of Nicola Teensmah,” a story in the form of an essay on a fictional film—convincing, unsettling, surprising, oddly funny.
  • I’m spotlighting the fiction because I was so impressed with/excited about the range; other highlights include poetry by Justin Wymer, Margarita Delcheva, Talia Lavin, and Adam FitzgeraldKayla E.’s interview with Jayson Musson, the artist behind the ART THOUGHTZ YouTube series; and Chitra Ganesh’s She the Question, a comic that reconstructs from a feminist perspective images from the Amar Chitra Kathas comic book series for children (published in India and distributed around the world).

Chitra Ganesh_crop

 

  • And so much more.

As a supplement to the issue, Kayla E. created and illustrated All of Them Witches, a zine of four comics that rewrite sexist horror comics from the 1950s, written by Meghan Lamb, Stine An, Carrie Guss, and Ashley Keyser, and edited by RL Goldberg. Sharp, funny, pulling no punches, these four “re-mixes” do exciting work to resuscitate the pulpy, perverse sensationalism of their originals, while correcting—with triumph—their insulting misogyny.

Witch Who Wore White_crop

Much of the journal content is available on the website, where Nat. Brut also publishes original content, including this terrific roundtable of women and nonbinary comics artists responding to the erasure of women in this year’s list of nominees for the Grand Prix de la ville d’Angoulême.

From 2005-2008 I co-published a zine called Mildred Pierce and Nat. Brut is sort of what I envisioned that project growing into: a beautifully printed yet somehow sustainable journal/magazine that publishes smart, fresh literature, art, essays, and comics; art and ideas that are in many ways resistant and thoroughly politically and socially engaged. Nat. Brut is doing all that — & more! I’m eager for Issue Seven. ❤

 

Recap: Queer & Trans Literature & Theory

the blob_cropped3

End-of-semester visualization exercise by Madison Ganson
(if you look closely you can see the GAY creeping through from someone else’s drawing!)

In the fall I taught a new English/Critical Identity Studies course called Queer & Transgender Literature and Theory. It was an ambitious course designed to explore (1) literature written by and about queer and trans people, (2) formal strategies used to enact or produce queerness and/or transness in literature, (3) the overlaps and tensions between queer and trans as theoretical and interpretive lenses; and (4) the relationships and intersections between queerness and transness and race, ethnicity, nation, disability, class, and other dimensions of social identity. It was categorized as a course in “Genre, Mode, Technique,” so I focused on the diversity of queer and trans aesthetic traditions and approached it as a hybrid course: we responded to course texts both analytically and creatively, experimenting on our own with some of the methods and strategies that some of our authors used, for example, cu(n)t-ups (after Dodie Bellamy) and fan fiction (after Tom Cho). While the course succumbed to the usual first-time problems—we read too much! didn’t read enough!—and there are certainly moves I’ll make differently next time around, I call it a success. Some people have asked to see my reading list. I’ve shared it below, after some highlights and revision notes.

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Reading in Chicago R 1.14

I’ll be reading new work at the next LIES! Fiction Reading Series on Thursday, with Bette Adriaanse, Brooks Sterritt, Naomi Huffman, and James Tadd Adcox.

8pm | Cafe Mustache | 2313 N Milwaukee Ave | Chicago

Bette Adriaanse is a writer and a visual artist. She was born in Amsterdam in 1984. Bette graduated from the Image & Language department at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam in 2008 and has received her Masters in Creative Writing from Oxford University in 2010. She has published fiction in magazines for literature and philosophy, and exhibits her visual work internationally. Rus Like Everyone Else is her first novel.

“Adriaanse has created something quite extraordinary. Drawing on the best European traditions of the fabulous and the absurd, she has invented a shimmering narrative world which is entirely her own – hallucinatory, dream-like and utterly real.” -Jane Draycott, author of The Night Tree

Megan Milks is a fiction writer and cultural critic. Grounded in avant-pop aesthetics, their fiction investigates the relationships between form, agency, identity, and the body. Milks’s first collection of short fiction, Kill Marguerite and Other Stories, was published by Emergency Press in March 2014, and their second chapbook Twins was released by Birds of Lace in 2012.

“These are genderqueer girl stories of the most awesome kind, taking the basic narrative of boys, youth, sex and identity, scrambling them with their influences (pop music, porn, sexual fantasy, teen magazines and books, even video games), and then destroying them in gory pornographic explosions.” -HTMLGIANT

Writing by Brooks Sterritt appears or will appear in The Believer, Subtropics, Salt Hill, Denver Quarterly, The Southeast Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Chicago.

Naomi Huffman is the editor-in-chief at Curbside Splendor and the managing editor at featherproof books. She co-hosts The Marrow, a monthly nonfiction reading, and the fiction reading series Lies. Her essays, book reviews, and interviews have been published in the Chicago Tribune, Newcity, Bookslut, and elsewhere.

James Tadd Adcox is the author of a novel, Does Not Love, and a collection of short fiction, The Map of the System of Human Knowledge. He lives in Chicago.

Year-End Review List

 

Some favorites from my 2015 in reading & misc. Many of these were released prior to 2015, but I experienced them in 2015. So they count.

BOOKS

9781551525396_lookwhosmorphing

Tom Cho, Look Who’s Morphing (originally published in 2009 in Australia/NZ; picked up by Arsenal Pulp and released in North America in 2014): One of my top five short story collections of all time. Smart, fun, funny, wild. Favorites: “Dirty Dancing,” “The Bodyguard,” “Chinese Whispers,” “Cock Rock.” This summer I published an essay addressing Cho’s use of fan fiction strategies at The New Inquiry.

 

Front-Cover-SG2L1-300x464

Casey Plett, A Safe Girl to Love (Topside, 2014): I read this on the plane to and from NYC, where, after the Lammys, I met an ebullient Plett (briefly) who had won in the Transgender Fiction category! This book collects stories about trans women across a wide spectrum of identities and experiences, none of them defined by their transness. My favorite story is probably “Winning.”

 

blue talk

Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, Blue Talk and Love (Riverdale, 2015): Another exciting debut short fiction collection. Each story is exceptional. Lots of attention to unruly bodies, Blackness, NYC, adolescence and queer girlhood. My favorites are “Wolfpack,” written for/about the New Jersey 4 (you can watch a video trailer of the story here); “A Strange People,” which adopts an unsettling plural first person to tell the story of real-life conjoined twins Chrissie and Millie McKoy; and “A Magic of Bags,” about a young woman who discovers she has the strange ability to “make trouble” on other people’s bodies.

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Holiday Newsletter

Dear Friends & Families,

It’s 2016! Here’s the year-end report from here.

I’m always grateful for the pretense of freshness the new year offers, but especially this year, as 2015 was somewhat shapeless and uncertain. I struggled (continue to struggle) with political depression and professional disappointment. I confronted (continue to confront) questions surrounding gender identity and embodiment, experimented with taking T, and so on. It’s been a year of deep doubt and profound introspection, a year of asking, in the words of Peggy Lee by way of PJ Harvey: is that all there is? What it is, I guess, is the first crush of midlife panic. Approaching halfway through: it’s scary, it’s predictable.

Some key moments from my 2015:

-My love Elliott passed in late January. ❤

Elliott blocking work

-Spring’s a blur. I went to &NOW, AWP. Finished up my first year at Beloit. Now I’m in my second year teaching in the English Department there. Reports from the semester TK.

-In October I participated in the Devil’s Kitchen Literary Festival as the 2015 Fiction Award Winner, alongside David Tomas Martinez (in poetry) and Ben Tanzer (CNF). Thanks to Jon Tribble and Allison Joseph for bringing me to Carbondale and showing me such a fine time, and to the students at Grassroots who picked my book! It was esp. affirming to learn my book was selected by undergraduates. (Mom says my work is not accessible.)

-Also in October, I contributed to Platforms, a series of events celebrating ten years of Chances Dances, a Chicago organization devoted to building queer community through art and nightlife. Chicago is really where I came into queerness and it’s the place I think about when I think about queer community; I was honored to be invited to contribute an essay for the exhibition catalogue and read at one of the events.

-Late in the year I joined the staff of The Account as Fiction Editor. Our next reading period has just begun. Send me your work!

-Incoming for 2016! My chapbook The Feels is forthcoming in the spring from Black Warrior Review. The Feels is a collection of writing that takes up fan fiction as a genre that feels. The manuscript developed out of a Mellon Workshop on fan fiction and affect theory that I led at UW Madison in December 2014. I’m stoked it has found a home at BWR.

-I’ve started contributing book reviews for Our Lives, Madison’s LGBTQ magazine. First up is Mecca Jamilah Sullivan’s debut collection Blue Talk & Love—my review forthcoming in the March issue is all enthusiasm.

-& I’m looking forward to AWP in Los Angeles, where I’ll be appearing on a panel with Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, Amber Dawn, Tom Cho, and Tim Jones-Yelvington, among other excitements.

-& in brief: I went to my first WisCon (annual feminist scifi convention in Madison–so fun and inspiring!); saw the the publication of The &NOW Awards 3: The Best Innovative Writingdeepened a number of important friendships, especially in my local community; wrote several new short stories; gave up on my novel (for now); did a lot of dancing, a lot of dyke volleyball, a lot of moving, a lot of exercise; and I read a ton, the majority written by people I know and respect and admire, people who move me again and again. Probably you’re one of them. Keep it coming: the art, the action, the caring, the smarts, the pursuits of change and uncomfortable and difficult desires. If that’s all there is (you know how it goes) … let’s keep dancing.

-Claude’s good.

claude fang

xoxo & hope to hear from you soon

MM

merry_christmas_2012_by_neodarkwing-d5p5izd

Alert: Basic Blog

Welcome to my basic blog. This site will function as a space to post news and thoughts and opinions, reading lists, etc: in other words, basic blog.

Will I be blogging hard, or hardly blogging?

Return regularly. Find out.