What Our Editors Read This Week (5/27)

The Weight Of The World, The Weight Of Words by Julie Feng in Winter Tangerine

As a child, I did not believe that girls like me could be represented on the printed page in any form. We could not be authors or editors. We could not even be characters.

I was so convinced of this that I believed Cho Chang was a white girl for years—after all, Harry Potter thinks of her as a “pretty girl” rather than a “pretty Asian girl,” and only the beauty of white girls are allowed to be unqualified. It was only until the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Firemovie trailer came out that I realized—jarringly, discordantly—that Cho was Asian.

Adrienne Rich’s Poetic Transformations by Claudia Rankine in The New Yorker

Despite the vital friendship between Lorde and Rich, or perhaps because of it, both poets were able to question their own everyday practices of collusion with the very systems that oppressed them. As self-identified lesbian feminists, they openly negotiated the difficulties of their very different racial and economic realities. Stunningly, they showed us that, if you listen closely enough, language “is no longer personal,” as Rich writes in “Meditations for a Savage Child,” but stains and is stained by the political.

 

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Feminist and Feeling the Bern — In Support of Bernie Sanders | Kristance Harlow

I am a progressive feminist, I am voting for Bernie Sanders, and I’m not the only one. Let’s begin with dispelling an important misconception, feminists are not a unified force on all issues. Feminism isn’t a cult or secret society, women don’t get initiated and then promise to always choose the lady over the fella if they’re duking it out. Hillary Clinton does not have my vote, even if Madeleine Albright is tapped into some psychic cosmic force and it turns out to be true that women who don’t help other women have their own suite near Satan, I’m still choosing Sanders over Clinton.

My feminism is intersectional and nuanced. I am not in a war of the sexes, I am in a fight for common decency and the breakdown of structural inequality and institutionalized oppression. The narrative that Hillary Clinton winning the presidency would change the world for women is a fairy tale. One woman POTUS does not gender equality make. Americans emphasize the importance of the individual while rejecting critical thought on what individual autonomy means and how much weight it should hold in politics.

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton
2016 presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

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What Our Editors Read This Week (5/20)

Literary Juneteenth (or Why I Left The Offing) by Casey Roucheteau in The Offing

There is such a stark cognitive dissonance at present — Black writers winning prestigious literary awards and facing watermelon jokes in the same moment, white editors wanting racial diversity while still publishing racist poems. The need for The Offinghas always been a need for the diversity of its masthead and its contributors. I left, not because I’m an angry black person, but because I don’t want my face being used to bolster white peoples’ best intentions.

I Don’t Want To Be A Translator Of The Disabled Experience by Venessa Parekh in Femsplain

I wrote about coming to terms with my body and the wonders of sexting. I was on the morning news talking about disability and sex. I dipped my toe in the world of disability fetishes and found fascinating people, able bodied and disabled, all so willing to explain their idea of fun to me — even though I ultimately rejected it. I ranted about being objectified with a smile.

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Give Judy Hopps, Zootopia’s Bunny Cop, Some Birth Control | Wendy Besel Hahn

My daughter alerted me to Disney’s latest film release Zootopia, but it was the positive reviews that compelled me to buy tickets for opening weekend. After finding seats and donning 3D glasses, I prepared to be entertained. I wasn’t disappointed. The film has set box office sales records while delivering a compelling message about the dangers of stereotyping people based on their “biology.” As the mother of a tween girl, I wished Disney had gone a step further with its discussion of gender to tackle reproductive rights.
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Poetry Response Ability (a manifesto) | Trish Hopkinson

“Today I realize that my text is not going anywhere—except to meet itself.” Octavio Paz

Writing and reading poetry helps me interpret the static in my world—the noise, the many alternate voices; and to determine my roles and how each role alters others—to find the mother, wife, daughter, sister, student, friend, and poet wandering within. I read and write as a woman, as an aspiring artist, as an extension of myself. I write out of necessity, out of bursting urges, and with determination and courage. I write bravely, when all else is quiet, shy, and scared, to share secrets, and to solve mysteries. I read and write for relief—to find and fill in my personal perspective, to extract the byproducts of being, to produce an end. The creative process itself and how it reciprocates, is poetry’s true intention; its end—the poem—is the authentic byproduct. Continue reading “Poetry Response Ability (a manifesto) | Trish Hopkinson”

Fem Editors Talk Back: The White Women of Lit

Q2: How do we combat the white, femaleness of most feminist lit spaces?

AUTUMN [editor in chief]: Honestly, I’m beginning to just ignore spaces that are dominated by these voices. Do I think it’s a concern? Absolutely. But I don’t really find myself getting upset about it because those lit spaces are just following in the same pattern that society has found itself in for generations. If anything, it’s expected. Maybe it’s the comfort thing again, which doesn’t make it right, but it helps us better understand why there is such a draw for this kind of content and how to break it up.

SUSANNAH [fiction]: It’s very frustrating. Like, most submissions I get are from white female MFAers. And the subject matter and writing style, etc., so frequently falls into these patterns and assumptions and it’s so very recognizable. Obviously there are exceptions, but just speaking to the trend.

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Like, most submissions I get are from white female MFAers. And the subject matter and writing style, etc., so frequently falls into these patterns and assumptions and it’s so very recognizable. (Susannah)

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Fem Editors Talk Back: Literature as Resistance

Q1: How is literature a means of resistance?

AMY [poetry]: This takes me back to the medieval mystics. Testimony to experience is a means of resistance. Storytelling and song and poetry that come from people who are being silenced is resistance. Amplifying the words of those who are erased and elided from popular imagination, from political influence, and from public discourse is resistance.

JASMINE [spoken word]: My people were never supposed to know how to read or write. From the moment we were dragged to this continent, illiteracy has been used as a tool to keep us oppressed mentally, socially, economically, and many other ways.

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But moving a community requires language – every revolution uses graffiti and pamphlets and code words and chants and songs and stories. (Amy)

MAI [social media]: To me, writing is a tool to share the unheard stories of my family and my people. Writing the stories of my family and my people in English is sort of my way of using the English language, once and still a tool of colonization, instead as a tool of decolonization.

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