Press Release! The Feminist Press at CUNY and VIDA partner to launch historic “Corrective Cannon,” starting with The Cosmopolitans, a novel by Sarah Schulman. “VIDA’S mission is to encourage conversation about gender parity, as well as developing awareness of issues related to race, sexual orientation, and disability, in the contemporary literary landscape and to support efforts to correct the imbalances revealed by the VIDA Count,” explains VIDA board member, author, and professor Melissa Febos. “This ‘corrective canon’ does both, in addition to addressing the patriarchal literary legacy that led to these imbalances.”
VIDA Exclusives we’re jazzed about–
Dangerous Art: Thoughts on Danticat’s Immigrant Artist and the Creation Myth
“My birth story is a war story. And for years, I thought birth and war were related….
On a recent trip to Cherokee, North Carolina, I found that a walking trail by the Oconaluftee River featured standing placards narrating Cherokee creation myths of various natural phenomena—the land, the evergreens, the mountains. On that same trip, I started reading Edwidge Danticat’s Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work, in which she explores the creation myth of artists—the stories that ‘haunt and obsess’ us. This story, my birth story, has haunted me all my life, and not just because it is my own story, but because of the backdrop of war in which my story is necessarily set. What does it mean to think of oneself as a child of war? How much has this haunting shaped me?” –SJ Sindu
La invatación del lobo
“In the last year of her life, Julia de Burgos bid farewell to the world from within Welfare Island. There she had given her body over to a series of treatments conducted by doctors who saw her as another brown body they could use for experimentation. The stakes of staying or leaving the hospital were different for her than for the cosmopolitan poetic subjects I have been force-fed since I could read. Her ‘choice’ to be hospitalized was undoubtedly the product of the fact that she had difficulties securing employment despite having many of the same skills as white candidates. To her doctors, she was just another Puerto Rican, whose otherness made her the perfect object of study. They did not know and did not care if Pablo Neruda had thought her work was exceptional, or that she was considered one of the best Puerto Rican poets of her generation. Her (dis)placement and her survival were contingent upon the whim of those well-traveled, well-moneyed U.S. citizens that belong to no single place only because they owned everyplace. Her doctors belonged to the same class as William Carlos Williams, who despite having a Puerto Rican mother, in all probability would not have thought twice about experimenting on an unknown brown person.
Her invisibility made their visibility possible.
I have spent the last three and a half years thinking about what it means to be a cosmopolitan poet in this country that can never be mine.” –Raquel Salas-Rivera
What are they reading? What are they writing?
VIDA Reads with Writers will give you answers! Find out who these great writers are reading on the subway, who they always return to, and who they can’t wait to read next. Plus, they’ll share what they’re working on now and more.
- Discover who Treasure Shields Redmond thinks critics have overlooked as an important post-modern/experimental voice. As far as writers she keeps returning to, she answers the siren call of Alice Walker, especially “Each One Pull One,” and “bell hooks who is right so often it makes me mad.” CONT’D – https://www.vidaweb.org/vida-reads-with-writers-treasure-shields-redmond/
- Two books really popped for Christopher Soto (aka Loma) in 2015: one is mind-blowing, and the other is a super hero. Soto would love to meet Lucie Brock-Broido, a huge influence, and they hope that another favorite writer, Marie Howe, sees this interview because “…[S]he is my mother. I’m not sure if she knows how much I love her. I hope she reads this and knows.” February marks Soto’s “Tour to End Queer Youth Homelessness,” which will include readings from their chapbookSad Girl Poems. We hope you can make it! CONT’D – https://www.vidaweb.org/vida-reads-with-writers-christopher-soto/
- Stacy Syzmaszek is looking forward to reading Marlon James’s A Brief History of Seven Killings and Jhumpa Lahiri’s In Other Words, and adds, “I also want to read all the Bernadette Mayer that I haven’t read.” March 15th is the release date for Syzmaszek’s prize-winning book Journal of Ugly Sites and Other Journals. And who writes the essays, poetry, and fiction that she reads many times over? CONT’D – https://www.vidaweb.org/vida-reads-with-writers-stacy-szymaszek/
- Ever since TC Tolbert heard Ocean Vuong read, he’s been pining for his sold-out chapbook Burnings, and can’t wait for his new book. What’s Tolbert working on now? “I’m working on not knowing what I’m working on and not trying to control its outcome. I want, so badly, to tell you that I’m finishing something or that I have a title or a trajectory but I don’t. I’m just trying to show up to the page and pay attention. To trust something will become.” And what’s Tolbert reading right now? He writes he’s “always in the midst of many books b/c once I fall in love, I don’t want it to end.” We know the feeling. So who’s Tolbert “in love” with? You’ll have to read more to find out. CONT’D – https://www.vidaweb.org/vida-reads-with-writers-tc-tolbert/
- Melissa Chadburn is “slutting out on all sorts of books right now.” One of them she’s reading to “remember the why of it all and to keep on pushing, and to feel like I’m surrounded by a bunch of kick ass women writers—like the dopest toughest smartest lovingest girl gang there is.” And another she’s reading because the author is “one of the head bitches in my girl gang.” Read more to find out who’s in the gang right now, and stay tuned for Chadburn’s upcoming novel A Tiny Upward Shove. CONT’D – https://www.vidaweb.org/vida-reads-with-writers-melissa-chadburn/
- Are you wondering which book of eco-poetry that Craig Santos Perez is digging into on the beach? Or which book from 2015 he calls, “both music and medicine”? He’s looking forward to reading Monica Sok’s forthcoming book, as well as Camille Rankine’s latest release, and you can look forward to his fourth book from his trans-book series, from unincorporated territory, and his second spoken word digital poetry album in collaboration with Hawaiian poet Brandy Nālani McDougall. CONT’D – https://www.vidaweb.org/vida-reads-with-writers-craig-santos-perez/
- Don Mee Choi admits that she’s fangirling over an author right now who’s books popped in 2015—you’ll want to read more to find out who! Right now, she’s also spending her time reading Valerie Mejer Caso and a lot of C.D. Wright. April is a big month for Choi because her second book, Hardly War, and her translation of Poor Love Machine by Kim Hyesoon, are both hitting the shelves.
- You’ll want to know which “fanged book of poems” Rachel McKibbens says “went to the gynecologist” with her and which book “knocked [her on her] ass” with its “immediacy of language,… brutal introspection and unapologetic joy.” She refers to another book “so tattered from all the dog-earing it’s received in the last decade” as her “heart’s bible.” You’ll also want to know more about her love for Ada Limón, her “fellow chingona,” and her book Bright Dead Things. Look forward to McKibbens’ “monstrous manuscript… [a] book of poems… about my ghost mother, mental illness and the gender dysphoria I experienced during childhood.” CONT’D – https://www.vidaweb.org/vida-read-with-writers-rachel-mckibbens/
- Ocean Vuong is reading Christopher Soto’s Sad Girl Poems as well as Garth Greenwell’s What Belongs To You. “Two queer writers who are so innovative and courageous in how they see and render the world in language right now. I am so lucky to have their words on planet earth.” When asked whose words he returns to regularly, Vuong writes, “There are so many living and gone heroes. I want to celebrate life today so I’ll mention the living….” Definitely go see who’s on his list! And you’ll also want to look out for Vuong’s new book Night Sky with Exit Wounds.
- Which pocket-sized book did Carina del Valle Schorske read when she was out and about and “wanted to live [her] life without a purse (‘like a man’)”? Hint: She bought the book in Havana. Why does she use #poetryforever on Instagram, her “notepad”? Read her interview to find out what she means when she writes, “I’m lost in the sauce with this year’s South American translations,” her list of “long-term language teachers,” and which piece by Anne Carson makes her enter “a new chamber of hurt.” And get excited about her upcoming essays!
With preparations for the 2015 VIDA Count gearing up, we are working hard to raise funds. VIDA is 100% volunteer-run by committed people who believe in VIDA’s mission and give their time freely to make it happen. Through donations, you enable us to do our work. We appreciate donations of any amount, so if you would like to support women in the literary arts, you can visit our donate page (https://www.vidaweb.org/donate-now/) and become a part of the movement. Thank you so much!
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