LIVE from NYPL: Lesbian Poetic Traditions: Judy Grahn, Julie R. Enszer, JP Howard, and Alicia Mountain
The iconic feminist poet Judy Grahn re-explores the traditions of lesbian poetry from Sappho to Pat Parker and beyond.
In 1985, Judy Grahn boldly declared that lesbians have a poetic tradition and mapped it from Sappho to the present day in the groundbreaking book The Highest Apple. In 2023 the book is being reprinted as part of the Sapphic Classics series, which is dedicated to reprints of iconic works of lesbian poetry. Grahn revisits the original text, which situates poetry by Sappho, Emily Dickinson, Gertrude Stein, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, and more as central to lesbian culture—and more radically as central to society as a whole.
Judy Grahn is joined by scholars and poets Julie R. Enszer, JP Howard, and Alicia Mountain to discuss the continued relevance and dynamism of Grahn’s seminal work.
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ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
Judy Grahn is a renowned poet, activist, mythographer cultural theorist, and the author of works that fueled the GLBTQ, Feminist, and Women’s Spirituality movements internationally. A “before Stonewall” Gay activist who walked the first picket of the White House for Gay rights in 1965, she later founded Gay Women’s Liberation and the Women’s Press Collective. Her intention with writing is to replace obsolete philosophies with better ones. Her subjects range from LGBT history and mythology to feminist critiques of current crises, new origin theories of inclusion, what makes us human, taking racism personally in dismantling white supremacy, and stories of how to engage with creature-minds and spirit.
Julie R. Enszer, PhD, is the author of four poetry collections, including Avowed, and the editor of OutWrite: The Speeches that Shaped LGBTQ Literary Culture, Fire-Rimmed Eden: Selected Poems by Lynn Lonidier, The Complete Works of Pat Parker, and Sister Love: The Letters of Audre Lorde and Pat Parker 1974-1989. Enszer edits and publishes Sinister Wisdom, a multicultural lesbian literary and art journal. You can read more of her work at www.JulieREnszer.com.
JP Howard is a poet, educator, literary activist, curator, and community builder. JP was the Spring 2023 Brooklyn College Tow Mentor-in-Residence. Her debut poetry collection, SAY/MIRROR (The Operating System), was a Lambda Literary finalist. She is also the author of bury your love poems here (Belladonna*), Praise This Complicated Herstory: Legacy, Healing & Revolutionary Poems (Harlequin Creature) and co-editor of Sinister Wisdom Journal Black Lesbians--We Are the Revolution! JP has received fellowships and grants from Cave Canem, VONA, Lambda Literary Foundation, and Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC). She curates Women Writers in Bloom Poetry Salon and her poetry is widely anthologized. JP is a general Poetry Editor for Women's Studies Quarterly and Editor-At-Large of Mom Egg Review VOX online. http://www.jp-howard.com
Alicia Mountain is the author of Four in Hand (BOA 2023). Her debut collection, High Ground Coward (Iowa 2018), won the Iowa Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in The Nation, Guernica, Pleiades, Poetry Northwest, and American Poetry Review. Mountain was a Clemens Doctoral Fellow at the University of Denver and the 2020-2021 Artist in Residence at the University of Central Oklahoma. She serves on the board of Foglifter, a LGBTQIA+ journal based in the Bay Area. Mountain lives in New York City, where she is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Writer’s Foundry MFA program at St. Joseph’s University in Brooklyn.
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