Marge Piercy, life as work and words

Phyllis Chesler and Marge Piercy in Cape Cod, Summer 1973.
By Beth U. I just put down poet/writer Marge Piercy's memoir Sleeping with Cats. In it, Piercy explains that she had no role models while coming of age in the 1950s. “Resistant to sex roles,” she “wanted something larger and deeper and darker” than the lives of women she knew (67).   So she became her own role model. She cast herself as “odd” and in search of “fringe types”—“others with writing ambitions, left politics—misfits and rebels and intellectuals” (89).   Ye...
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On Audre Lorde and the Uses of Anger, Part IV

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By Beth & Laurian This series on Audre Lorde centralizes anger as a way to discuss intersectionality, patriarchy and feminism. In this fourth and final conversation, we consider the benefits of anger for renewal and strength. Beth: We have talked a bit about anger and fear – the ways in which social norms discourage women from expressing anger and how juridical systems punish women who defend themselves from the anger/violence of others. Anger takes on...
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On Audre Lorde and the uses of anger, Part I

By Beth & Laurian How do we have “intersectional” conversations about state violence, gender, class, sexuality, and race as feminists? What do we do with our rage when we know that women, girls, queer people, and trans* people (among others) continue to be sidelined in discussions about state-sanctioned violence? To erase experiences of violence from public discourse is a form of violence in and of itself. To erase resilience and leadership is also a fo...
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What we need is a Pain-Capable Woman Protection Act

By Beth U. Reading Ellen Willis and watching VESSEL in light of a proposed 20-week abortion ban When Congress reconvened a few weeks ago, two Republican Representatives introduced a bill called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (HR 36) that aims to ban abortion after 20 weeks. Today, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, House Republicans planned to vote on this legislation but changed course at the last minute.  Members of their own party More

What can genealogies of radical and revolutionary poetics tell us now?

June Jordan, Alice Walker, Lucille Clifton, and Audre Lorde, At Phillis Wheatley Poetry Fest, 1979.
By Beth U. It’s winter and I am reading. I find myself devouring older U.S. feminist criticism (and criticism of this criticism) in order to think about the now: all the cracks, heroic optimism, anger, inadequacy, misdirection, bravery and labor of feminism/s—the messiness of messy people pushing social boundaries, expressing what it is at stake, taking the fall, finding joy, exposing fragility and strength and rage. Together, feminist efforts demonstrate that "no sing...
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Ghada Amer’s Rainbow Girls

Test #5, 2013, acrylic, embroidery and gel medium on canvas, 18”x20”
By Beth U. Ghada Amer’s paintings give off heat. They vibrate. In the quiet interior of Cheim & Read, a gallery on East 24th Street in Manhattan, they moan. I am grateful that the gallery is nearly empty; I need to be alone with these paintings. It’s early May and I am here to see Amer’s latest exhibition Rainbow Girls. Known for her embroidered “paintings,” Amer repurposes images from pornography and popular culture and transforms them from quick snap...
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