feminist poetics

On feminist poetics and pedagogy

Meeting Bhanu Kapil

Photo of Bhanu Kapil by Kelly Writers House staff.

I’m very excited to be here with Andrea Quaid and everyone today for collective conversations on feminist poetics and pedagogy. Like to many people, the two may not seem like conjoined subjects. I also admit I don’t purport to know much about the intersections of the two. I’ve explored both separately — pedagogy in the classroom, the jail, the digital space; poetry on the page, the classroom, in jars …. I’m excited either way for an exploration of both poetry and pedagogy, two passions that should intersect for me. Upon conversations with Andrea over the years, we’ve been keen to understand that as feminists engaged with poetics, our interests and work in pedagogy have often not had a space for the two to intersect. Why should feminist poets reclaim pedagogy as our own? In the symposium we’re hoping for a space that can facilitate this conversation. 

The first thing I want to say to you who are students, is that you cannot afford to think of being here to receive an education: you will do much better to think of being here to claim one … 

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  • Gelatin poetics

    On Rachael Allen's 'Kingdomland' and the meatspace of contemporary feminist lyric

    (Left) Rachael Allen’s Kingdomland; (right) Ventricle, oil-on-canvas by Maria Sledmere.

    In Rachael Allen’s Kingdomland, shades of indigo and lilac leak through the pages like milk, in variant continuums of strangeness and shame. There is, however, a kind of “tint” to these poems that evokes not quite the Kristevan abjection of skin on milk, but something more like the translucent surface of a jelly left to slowly rot. 

    Everything about you’s a bit like me —
    in the same way that North Carolina’s a bit like Ribena
    but rhymes with Vagina, which is nearly the same,
    but much darker —
    brutal and sweet like disease,
    sweet as an asphalt dealer.
    — Selima Hill, A Little Book of Meat[1]

    On Leslie Scalapino’s 'New Time' and the perceptual city

    In the essay “Bodies-Cities,” Elizabeth Grosz argues that “[t]he city is one of the crucial factors in the social production of (sexed) corporeality: the built environment provides the context and coordinates for contemporary forms of body.”[1] There are a number of claims within this one: that corporeality is a social production, that the way corporeality is socially produced is inconsistent across bodies, and that what a body is must be bound up in what buildings are and how they use each other.

    The poet-scholar

    A list

    As I am a poet-scholar, or, a person who reads and a person who writes, a person who researches and a person who invents — a person who teaches and a person who edits — I can only consider the question of the poet-scholar from the inside — and so, what follows is a subjective and gendered account of the position of the poet-scholar in the form of a list numbered 1–10.

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