Houston-Based Feminist Poetics: National Women’s Conference, Nov 7, 2-3:30p

Houston-Based Feminist Poetics: National Women’s Conference, Nov 7, 2-3:30p

Bayou City Rm 219, Student Center South @ University of Houston

https://www.facebook.com/events/146587129303753/

ACCESSIBILITY INFORMATION:
To provide a chemical and fragrance free event, we request that participants not smoke before or during the event and to not wear colognes, perfumes or other scented or chemical products to the event. Please read at the bottom for handicap accessibility information.

Roundtable-Reading on Houston-Based Feminist Poetics with Ching-In Chen, Jasminne Mendez, Deborah (D.E.E.P.) Mouton, and Leslie Contreras Schwartz

In 1977, the year the IWY National Women’s Conference converged in Houston, Audre Lorde published her seminal essay “Poetry Is Not a Luxury,” in which she posits that poetry “forms the quality of light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action.” For Lorde, poems are the precursor to activism, “the spawning grounds for the most radical and daring of ideas.”

Forty year later, Houston is a uniquely fertile city for cross-pollination and conversation, especially in the arts and humanities, and particularly in our vibrant poetry communities. While painstaking progress has been made, the welfare of Texas women, nonbinary, and trans citizens are threatened by ongoing political tensions about “bathroom bills,” title IX, immigration, insurance, government grants, higher education curricula, and a dearth of diversity in the current federal administration.

This roundtable-reading reimagines the definition of civic engagement, establishing a place for the arts as a vital conduit for progressive policy, as imagined by Lorde. We’ll explore poetry’s thorny relationship with representation. To what extent does Houston’s position as a rapidly-developing Sunbelt city stand as a microcosm of problems of women, nonbinary, and trans citizens from around the world?

We’ll also discuss how women, nonbinary, and trans poets create long-lasting community. Which outreach strategies of outreach and organization are replicable in other cities? How are poets, both inside and outside the academy, perceived by society? How do they contribute to cross-cultural interactions that reconfigure the way people make meaning of the world?

Poets and activists Ching-In Chen, Jasminne Mendez, Deborah (D.E.E.P.) Mouton, and Leslie Contreras Schwartz exemplify “the spirit of Houston.” They produce literature with insight on several “planks” from the 1977 Women’s Conference–touching on topics such as domestic violence, disability and healthcare, gender expression, financial inequality, infertility and reproductive freedom–with a contemporary perspective on political regression and reaction, “survival and change.” In their poetry and poetics, these writers carry the torch of the landmark Women’s Conference in Houston, and shed new light on its complicated legacy.

ACCESSIBILITY:
An accessiblity ramp is located at the front entrance of Student Center South by the stairs. An elevator is located on the left after you enter the sliding doors. Nearest handicapped parking is across the street near Hilton or at the corner of Calhoun and University.

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