queer poetics

EcoSomatics archive

Field notes from the 2020 EcoSomatics Symposium

Montage of shots from ‘Eco Monsters and Somatic Take-Overs,’ a small outdoor EcoSomatics symposium, Ypsilanti, Michigan, September 2021, shots from a workshop led by Marc Arthur, with symposium participants Charli Brissey, moira williams, Petra Kuppers, Cara Hagen, Stephanie K. Dunning, Stephanie Heit, Biba Bell, Christina Seers-Etters, and Kathy Westwater, all playing with monster addenda, crutch lightsabers, and relational objects.

An assemblage montaged by Petra Kuppers, with Syrus Marcus Ware, Naomi Ortiz, Stephanie Heit, Lori Landau, Carolyn Roy, Christina Vega-Westhoff, Michele Minnick, Denise Leto, moira williams, Catherine Fairfield, andrea haenggi and bull thistle leaf, DJ Lee, Megan Kaminski, Charli Brissey, Bronwyn Preece, Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren, Rania Lee Khalil, and Madeline Kerslake.

An assemblage montaged by Petra Kuppers, with Syrus Marcus Ware, Naomi Ortiz, Stephanie Heit, Lori Landau, Carolyn Roy, Christina Vega-Westhoff, Michele Minnick, Denise Leto, moira williams, Catherine Fairfield, andrea haenggi and bull thistle leaf, DJ Lee, Megan Kaminski, Charli Brissey, Bronwyn Preece, Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren, Rania Lee Khalil, and Madeline Kerslake.

Introduction by Petra Kuppers

'deer flesh to human flesh'

On C. R. Grimmer's 'The Lyme Letters'

Left: Grimmer outdoors smiling with closed lips. Right: cover of Lyme Letters

C. R. Grimmer’s debut full-length collection The Lyme Letters uses epistolary form to document the character R.’s navigation of their life as a person with chronic Lyme disease. R., Grimmer’s brave and thoughtful nonbinary femme protagonist, addresses the poems to their doctor, their therapist, their dog and cat, and to a series of intimate composite beings whose appellations each repeat as the title of multiple poems.

C. R. Grimmer’s debut full-length collection The Lyme Letters uses epistolary form to document the character R.’s navigation of their life as a person with chronic Lyme disease.

Queer treatments

A review of 'Each Tree Could Hold a Noose or a House'

I first read Ru Puro’s poetry on a cold concrete bench in my hometown, holding in my elbows to leave room for those around me. At the time, Puro’s meditations on the severity and occasional beauty of the manufactured modern landscape seemed to mirror my crowded, colorless surroundings, while their more personal poems echoed my discomfort at taking up space on the bench. 

I first read Ru Puro’s poetry on a cold concrete bench in my hometown, holding in my elbows to leave room for those around me. At the time, Puro’s meditations on the severity and occasional beauty of the manufactured modern landscape seemed to mirror my crowded, colorless surroundings, while their more personal poems echoed my discomfort at taking up space on the bench.

New writing through the Anthropocene

PennSound podcast #63: Allison Cobb and Brian Teare with Julia Bloch, Knar Gavin, and Aylin Malcolm

Book covers for Brian Teare's Doomstead Days and Allison Cobb's Green-Wood.

Allison Cobb and Brian Teare joined Julia Bloch, Knar Gavin, and Aylin Malcolm in the Wexler Studio on April 2, 2019, following their lunchtime discussion with scholars and poets from Penn’s Poetry and Poetics and Anthropocene and Animal Studies reading groups. Our discussion ranged from human embeddedness in the nonhuman world to the role of affect in poetry that seeks to reckon with ever intensifying ecodisasters.

Symptoms and sources

A review of Lauren Levin's 'Justice Piece // Transmission'

Lauren Levin’s second book, Justice Piece // Transmission, is comprised of two essayistic poems that continually untangle and reconstruct the web of contradictions that shape the speaker’s ever-complex, and always self-questioning, inner narrative. 

Lauren Levin’s second book, Justice Piece // Transmission, is comprised of two essayistic poems that continually untangle and reconstruct the web of contradictions that shape the speaker’s ever-complex, and always self-questioning, inner narrative. In both pieces, Levin traces anxiety back and forth from its source: the social, material fabric that challenges any “total” understanding of what it means to be a person — a queer person — and a queer gender-fluid person — in the world right now.

Bodies-cities part 2: James Schuyler's somatic urbanism

Clark Park, December 2017. Photo by the author.

I began this project a year ago to ask some questions about how queer spatial studies and city planning history each model cities and urban life, and how experimental poems further bring these models into conversation with one another. This set of essays is meant to be a beginning, the sort of beginning that, as Susan Landers writes, “is a place or a site.”[1] To the extent that the intervention of this project is in queer studies, it posits that part of what’s queer about queer theory now is its material urban context, and its need to contend with the affective and structural conditions of cities and their tranformation.

I began this project a year ago to ask some questions about how queer spatial studies and city planning history each model cities and urban life, and how experimental poems further bring these models into conversation with one another.

On Eileen Myles’s 'Hot Night': queer / urban / image

In the introduction to Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity, José Esteban Muñoz addresses the caretaking relationship between Eileen Myles and James Schuyler as one of anti-antirelational queer kinship.

On Elizabeth Willis's 'Address': (queer) space and the chrononormative

Writing puts texts in space. The procedural language of critical synthesis is inherently spatial. Thinking about connections between texts, or the bringing of texts together in an essay, simulates the positioning of objects in space. Often, writing makes texts architectural — it uses them to build, and uses the metaphorics of building. I want to use this essay to write between Elizabeth Freeman’s Time Binds and Doreen Massey’s Space, Place and Gender, texts seminal to queer temporality and to feminist geography, respectively.

On Erica Hunt’s 'Arcade': control / temporality / the past in the present

Erica Hunt reading the Frank O'Hara poem "Music" at The Poetry Project's Fiftieth Anniversary celebration of 'Lunch Poems.'

In Arcade, poet Erica Hunt’s 1996 collection and collaboration with the artist Alison Saar, the speaker describes herself as moving, through her stuckness and frustration, “against bureaucratic seizures of the possible.”[1] The collection articulates a poetics of refusal, sometimes from a woman-identified subject position, sometimes as a woman of color, or as a mother of color. In other moments, as in the book’s title poem, the speaker’s identity is undisclosed.

On Rachel Levitsky's 'Neighbor': scale / urban systems / representation

Rachel Levitsky’s 2009 poetry collection, Neighbor, takes up the relationship between neighbors as it occurs between people in an apartment building who share walls and floors, but also as it affords other intimacies. Levitsky’s figure of the neighbor contains the idea of the neighbor (a person who lives near you, and whose proximity can produce a mutual, if fragmentary, knowledge of one another’s quotidian lives) alongside neighborliness at a range of competing and simultaneous scales. 

Rachel Levitsky’s 2009 poetry collection, Neighbor, takes up the relationship between neighbors as it occurs between people in an apartment building who share walls and floors, but also as it affords other intimacies. Levitsky’s figure of the neighbor contains the idea of the neighbor (a person who lives near you, and whose proximity can produce a mutual, if fragmentary, knowledge of one another’s quotidian lives) alongside neighborliness at a range of competing and simultaneous scales. In one poem called “Neighbor,” Levitsky writes,

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