Join us in congratulating past Superstition Review contributor Luiza Flynn-Goodlett on the release of her upcoming book, Look Alive. This poetry collection explores the development of the femme queer self and assesses queerness by placing the narrator at the brunt end of societal and personal violence. The book will take its readers through a journey of queer self-discovery that involves taking to the gentle and accepting queerness of nature. Look Alive is already receiving accolades as a finalist for numerous awards, including The National Poetry Series, and winner of the 2019 Cowles Poetry Book Prize from Southeast Missouri State University Press.
“Luiza Flynn-Goodlett’s smart, sensual, agile collection takes you to the prairie, to the creek, to the kitchen counter, to bed—muddies you, then scrubs you clean. With a speaker who keeps your secrets and shouts your glories, Look Alive reveals the enduring territory of embodied queer womanhood—efflorescent and as susceptible to pleasure as it is to harm. Flynn-Goodlett quilts together rural origins and distance traveled, along with rich image and hardwearing language, into an impressive debut with the weight of an heirloom. If you let it, Look Alive can be the guardian inoculation that pierces you with a little taste of the big grief and the big joy so you can survive them when they come.”
Alicia Mountain, author of High Ground Coward
Additionally, there will be a virtual launch party for the book on March 4th hosted by Booksmith and The Bindery, in which Luiza will be joined by K-Ming Chang, Alicia Mountain, Arhm Choi Wild and Meg Day for a group reading. The event is free and for all ages. To RSVP click here.
Click here to pre-order your own copy of Look Alive. Also, be sure to check of Luiza’s website and Twitter, as well as, her poetry featured in Issue 17.
Join Superstition Review in congratulating past contributor Laura Wetherington on the publication of her poetry collection, Parallel Resting Places. As the winner of the New Measure Poetry Prize, Laura’s collection explores the world of translation. More specifically, Parallel Resting Places navigates, “What happens when a poet tries to filter the untranslatable from another language? The rush of unknowing, decoding the wind, the body becomes an antenna. Following behind Jack Spicer’s After Lorca and swinging its ovaries, Laura Wetherington’s second book uses the concept of translation to create original poems from the work of writers like Liliane Giraudon, Marie Étienne, Dominique Fourcade, and Jean-Marie Gleize. These poems run through a liminal linguistic space where meaning, mishearing, and dreams collide, sometimes midsentence, where they hinge into song… Interstitial love letters to queer writers process a miscarriage, the most recent election, and queer puppy love. This is a book of yearning-for a foreign tongue, for a body growing inside the body, and for a form of communication that can capture feeling.”
There is a constant textual drama in the address and voice of Laura Wetherington’s heady poems; a mirror staged. With monologues, letters, lyrics, and prose she performs a writing through to a new ground of sensation and thinking. Call it the present. The music is gorgeous and the sound is captivating. Parallel Resting Places is a wonderful book and a welcome addition to a tradition that troubles tradition.
Peter Gizzi, author of Archeophonics
Click here to order your copy of Parallel Resting Places. Also, be sure to check out Laura’s Twitter and Website, as well as, her poetry in our Issue 19.
I’ve been thinking about collaboration as a means of queering. In writing, collaboration queers the traditional artist-as-precious-genius notion by forcing writers to relinquish creative control while still in the midst of creating. It queers the solitary writing process by exposing our artistic vulnerabilities. It queers the commercial author machine by sharing profit and leaving less room for a promotional cult of personality. It can even queer the almighty “I” on any given page.
I’m currently at work on a collaborative poetry project with Carol Guess about a character named NonMom. Like me, and like Carol, NonMom is queer. Love and sex aren’t structured around binary gender for NonMom. She lives without interest in the heteropatriarchal family structure. She rejects easy categories. Sometimes she refuses a stable identity altogether.
So I’ve also been thinking about what it means to claim that term, queer—andnot just as a verb, which academics (including myself) love to do. I’m talking about a concrete, women-loving woman (to use my own life) kind of queerness. Around the time that Carol and I began this project, I also began to claim queerness for myself in concrete ways, though I hesitated to use the term at first, because it was not a term I’d claimed in the past. When I’d been in straight relationships, I had written about queerness a little—but only in “persona” poems. I’m embarrassed to say this now, afraid of suggesting to you that I was in the closet or simply oblivious. Those notions don’t capture my life in the slightest.
As Carol (who is a frequent collaborator) has pointed out to me, a collaborative poem is a kind of persona poem. The reader knows the “I” is compromised. If needed, the author can hide—but she can also write a role for herself. I didn’t want to hide in NonMom. I wanted to enter into something big and complicated with the support of another queer writer. I wanted to create some of the most confessional poems I’ve ever written by claiming not just queerness in NonMom’s voice, but also her refusal to keep quiet. She’s outspoken about her desires—and her lack of a desire for children, which is embraced in her very name. I, on the other hand, am still learning how to speak up about such things.
A former colleague once spoke to me about an acquaintance who identified as a lesbian but married a man, had a child, then divorced the man and fell in love with a woman. It was just that she made such a big deal about being a lesbian, my colleague explained, and then she wasn’t, and then she was again. It was the swerve that bothered her, apparently—the shift from one lane to another, or perhaps worse: occupying multiple lanes. The question that needled: How could anyone be more than one thing?
In collaboration, voices can meld, but they can also clash in fruitful ways. I often teach collaborative work from literary journals and anthologies (like They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing). One of my favorite collaborative essays to teach is “Pink” by Denise Duhamel and Julie Marie Wade. I ask my students why it matters that the essay has two authors. Many admit that they didn’t at first notice there were two authors, while others say they knew because one author calls herself “straight” and speaks of an ex-husband, while another calls herself “a proud gay woman”—though it’s not necessarily clear who is speaking at any given moment in the essay. At this point, someone in class typically reminds everyone that who you’re with doesn’t determine your sexuality. Maybe someone else says sexuality can change. A pregnant pause enters the room. Eventually we conclude that although there are two distinct authors, the lines between their identities and experiences intersect and even blur. After that, my students usually create fantastic collaborative essays that use “I” to challenge the very notion of a stable identity.
On the page I am Rochelle and I am NonMom, who is also Carol, who is also I. We travel a loop through the poem, leaving in the center a wide-open space for being.