Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Joseph Beam!: New Podcast Celebrating Black Love and Survival!


December 30th is Joseph Beam's Birthday...in honor of this brilliant Black Gay literary genius ancestor and and the fact that both In the Life and Brother to Brother are back in print thanks to RedBone Press this podcast includes readings and reflections from Lisa Moore of RedBone Press, La Marr Jurelle, Darnell Moore, Justin Smith and a round the kitchen table conversation with some of Durham's most inspiring Black queer visionary men: Ashon Crawley, Sendolo Diaminah, Thaddeaus Edwards and Justin Robinson. (Plus music, love and archival goodies from an ancestor obsessed devotee who you know much too well :) ENJOY!!!!

http://brokenbeautiful.wordpress.com/files/2009/12/in-the-life-podcast-final.mp3

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sign Up for June Jordan Saturday Survival School and School of Our Lorde!

BrokenBeautiful Press is SO proud to announce the June Jordan Saturday Survival School and the School of Our Lorde both jumping off in February at the inspiration station. These are intensive educational experiences for the whole family so be sure to get on board. (Honoring someone with a named scholarship makes an awesome holiday gift by the way!)

love,

lex

We were never meant to survive. We were never meant to find each other love each other transform each other across generations. Or were we?

Survival School is based on the premise that we need each other to survive. This series of intergenerational educational experiences based on research on the definitions and practices and survival developed by June Jordan, Audre Lorde and the members of the Combahee River Collective is designed for the whole family and is an experiment in the sustainability of community based Black feminist education for diverse communities.

June Jordan Saturday Survival School!: February 6th and 13th

Based on June Jordan's unpublished lectures "Survival Literature for Afrikan Children" and "The Creative Spirit and Children's Literature" and the guidelines for her Voices of the Children poetry program, the June Jordan Saturday Survival School is a 2-Saturday program that allows families to interact with June Jordan's theory of children's literature as a literature of survival by engaging June Jordan's out of print children's books and to create their own all-ages illustrated stories.

Apply for the June Jordan Saturday Survival School here: June Jordan Saturday Survival School Application Final (pdf version)

or here: June Jordan Saturday Survival School Application (doc version)

email completed application to brokenbeautifulpress@gmail.com or drop them off at the Inspiration Station (send an email if you need directions)

(note: Every family that completes the application gets to participate. Every group of people connected through love is acknowledged as a family, Donations not due until the Survival School starts. No one will be turned away!)

Believe in intergenerational Black Feminist community education and want all sorts of great ancestral blessings and kisses? Name a sliding scale scholarship ($70-150) after someone you love! Email brokenbeautifulpress@gmail.com to make it happen!

School of Our Lorde: Poetics, Pedagogy and Political Practice

The School of Our Lorde is comprised of weekly evening sessions that allow participants to deeply engage and build on the work of Audre Lorde as transmitted through the committed (obsessive) research of Alexis Pauline Gumbs on the poetics, teaching practices and political implications of Audre Lorde's work (and to enjoy delicious local desserts together) on Thursday evenings. Participants will also get coursepacks with some exclusive and unpublished materials on/by Lorde. Participants can choose to participate in one 3 week semester or the entire 3 month process. No one who completes an application and can attend will be turned away. Engaging, interactive poetic childcare will be provided at every session with amazing activities imagined with and implemented by Beth Bruch!!!!

February-

Poetics: Audre Lorde is best known as a warrior poet. In February, School of Our Lorde participants will get a change to deeply engage Lorde's poetry (with the benefit of Lex's archival research on her revisions) and write their own poetry. We will meet over dessert on Thursday February 4th, 11th and 18th (Audre's b-day!!!!) and the poets will perform their own new or transformed work at a community reading on Saturday February 20th.

Apply for the poetics course here: School of Our Lorde Poetics Application (pdf version)

School of Our Lorde Poetics Application

email applications to brokenbeautifulpress@gmail.com or drop them off at the Inspiration Station (email for directions)

March-

Pedagogy: Not everyone knows that Audre Lorde was breaking down the masters house by being a master teacher and librarian. Do you teach students armed and ready to text message? Well Audre Lorde taught John Jay College of Criminal Justice students who wore loaded guns to class as part of their uniform!!! Participants in this session will get to see Audre Lorde's syllabi, and course evaluations, practice their own interpretations of her teaching methods and transform the meaning of education. Participants also get to help design and facilitate the Audre Lorde Survival School. We will meet over dessert on Thursday March 4, 11, and 18th.

Apply for the pedagogy course here:School of Our Lorde Pedagogy Application (pdf version)

School of Our Lorde Pedagogy Application (doc version)

email applications to brokenbeautifulpress@gmail.com or drop them off at the Inspiration Station (email for directions)

April-


Politics: With a strong emphasis on Lordeian Economics (that's right!) this unit will allow participants to examine the creative power of difference in practice in community. Participants will learn about Lorde's diasporic politics of solidarity, and her critical perspective on Black feminist socialist organizing in 1980's. Participants will witness and process the impact of the Safe in Our Streets Durham events of April 16th created by SpiritHouse and the Durham Harm Free Zone and design action plans.

Apply for the politics course here: School of Our Lorde Politics Application (pdf version)

School of Our Lorde Politics Application (doc version)

email applications to brokenbeautifulpress@gmail.com or drop them off at the Inspiration Station (email for directions)

Believe in intergenerational Black Feminist community education and want all sorts of great ancestral blessings and kisses? Donate dessert or name a sliding scale scholarship ($150-200 for a particular unit or $400-500 for the whole curriculum) after someone you love! Email brokenbeautifulpress@gmail.com to make it happen!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Black Girls Rock!



Inspired by the new free Black Girls Rock Album by Res (downloadable for free right here: http://www.okayplayer.com/news/Res-Black.Girls.Rock-Free-LP-.html) and the amazing, brilliant, brave Greensboro singer and songwriter Laila...we are gathering all Black Girls Who Rock and all the beautiful groupies who know the truth for an informal listening session/jam session...because we rock, and what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than knowing it!

5pm Sunday December 13th
Lex's place (email brokenbeautiful@gmail.com for details)
Bring food if you wanna.

Kids rock too! Bring 'em and your instruments and favorite CDs and shoot...even rock band if you wanna.

Rock on.
love,
lex

Friday, November 27, 2009

Best Gift Ever: Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind DVDs.

Watch, share, enjoy, repost! If you'd like to order a DVD with these videos and more to use in your classroom (and to support the MobileHomeComing Community Documentation and Education Project) make a donation of $15 or more to the MobileHomeComing Project!

Get Your DVD with a tax deductible donation of $20 or more to the MobileHomecoming Project!

1) Click DONATE.
2) Enter an Amount and note that you are ordering the DVD.
3) Click Continue.
(or login to your paypal account).
4) Follow instructions to finish your transaction. You're Done!

For a copy of our budget or any more information please email us at mobilehomecoming@gmail.com

Here is the listing!

Picture 1

And to watch some previews check out: http://blackfeministmind.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/eternal-summer-of-the-black-feminist-mind-educational-videos/!

love,
lex

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Be Bold Be Re(a)d: The Podcast




3 years ago women of color came together and transformed what it meant to transform terror on Halloween, declaring October 31st Be Bold Be Red Day, a day for women of color and allies to speak out against violence against women. And 30 years ago women of color came together to respond to violence in the same critical and poetic spirit.

Towards the world the we all deserve, fully transformed from the misogyny and internalized racism we face in popular music to the frightening expendability of the lives and bodies of women of color this podcast places the brave voices of women telling the truth about gendered violence over the remixed sounds of Miles Davis. This year we take every sound back, starting with our own voices and the background that seeks to silence them.

Listen with your community, your class, your friends, your study group, your church, your crew, pass the link on or listen by yourself and see, hear and wear red.

listen here

[audio http://brokenbeautiful.wordpress.com/files/2009/10/real-be-bold-be-red-podcast.mp3]

or download here: http://brokenbeautiful.wordpress.com/files/2009/10/real-be-bold-be-red-podcast.mp3

Monday, October 12, 2009

Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Presents: Pauli Murray


Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Presents:

pauli murray as "the imp!"pauli murray as "the imp!"

This November, in honor of the 99th birthday of Durham’s own Black Feminist, Civil Rights Lawyer, Radical Preacher Pauli Murray Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist, Southerners on New Ground and the Pauli Murray Project present:

Gendered Im(p)ossibility: A Conversation Through Photographs

Drawing on a number of photographs of Pauli Murray from the Schelsinger Library and featuring audio from an interview with Pauli Murray, this promises to be a rich conversation about gender presentation, identity and queer history and reclamation.

Please join us on Monday November 2nd

at 6pm

at Lex’s Inspiration Station

and please bring a dish to share!

See you there!

love,

Lex

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Save the Date! Lex speaking @ Rutgers

Hey loved ones in the Tri-State Area…

Save the date. I would love to see your faces in the audience when I speak at Rutgers-Newark later this month. I’ll be talking specifically about the radical queer anti-imperialist black lovefest between Joseph Beam and Audre Lorde and how we can act like we know!

theirs and yours,

lex

UPDATE:

QUEERING AMERICAN STUDIES: A CONFERENCE AT RUTGERS-NEWARK

Essex Room, Robeson Student Center, 350 Martin Luther King Blvd., Newark, NJ

Friday Oct. 23, 2009

9:30 A.M. Welcomes

10 A.M. Session

Queering American Studies

“ ‘Wounded Attachments’ and Redress: Undoing Filipina Victimhood Under Colonial Rule”

Robert Diaz, Wayne State University;

“Queer Relative: Audre Lorde, Joseph Beam and Diasporic Solidarity”

Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Duke University;

“The Diva Ends/The Diva’s Ends”

Licia Fiol-Matta, Lehman College, City University of New York;

“The Queer and the Cosmopolitan”

Hiram Perez,Vassar College.

Moderator: Laura Lomas, Acting Director of Women and Gender Studies

and Associate Professor of English and American Studies, Rutgers-Newark

1:30 P.M. Session

Standing in a Ditch: Queer Encounters with the Public

Questions, answers and discussion with all four guest speakers.

Moderators: Aimee Cox, Assistant Professor of African and African American Studies,

Rutgers-Newark, and Taylor Black, graduate student, Graduate Program in American Studies, Rutgers-Newark

3 P.M. Comments: Carlos A. Ball, Professor of Law, Rutgers University School of Law (Newark)

3:10 P.M.: Closing Remarks, Beryl Satter, Chair and Associate Professor of History, Rutgers-Newark

3:30 P.M. Reception, Robeson Gallery

Co-sponsored by the Graduate Program in American Studies, the Women and Gender Studies Program, and the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience. Supported by a grant from the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate and Professional Education at Rutgers University.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Atlanta Loved Ones!: Come Hear Me Talk with Gloria Steinem and Beverly Guy Sheftall

Founding the Future: A Conversation with Beverly Guy Sheftall & Gloria Steinem, moderated by Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Thursday, November 5, 7:30pm (Doors at 6:30) at the Georgia Tech Hotel
Young feminist scholar and activist Alexis Pauline Gumbs will moderate a discussion with feminist icons Beverly Guy-Sheftall and Gloria Steinem about their places in the history of feminism and the possibilities the future holds.
Tickets are $35 for general admission; priority seating is also available. Tickets can be purchased online or in person at Charis Books & More. Founding the Future ticket info...


This is part of a beautiful weekend full of events celebrating and exemplifying the life and impact of the oldest Feminist Bookstore in the SouthEast! Come through!

Charis Circle and Charis Books & More Announce

Feminism, Books, & Beyond: Celebrating 35 Years of Charis Community

Atlanta, GA - November 4-8, 2009 - Charis Books & More will celebrate its 35th year in business with several commemorative birthday events in Atlanta. The two largest events will benefit Charis Circle, the store's non-profit sister organization, to support free community programs such as literary events, open mics, writing workshops, skill shares, activist discussions, film screenings, and more.

Charis Circle and Charis Books & More are pleased to present the following events as part of the 35th Birthday Celebration:

Atlanta Queer Literary Festival and Charis Birthday Kick-off Reception
Wednesday, November 4, 7:00-9:00pm at Charis
The AQLF and Charis will hold a joint reception to kick off the festival and Charis's birthday events, which will be going on simultaneously in Atlanta. The reception will feature performances by the following local women poets: Lisa Allender (emcee), Malika, Krystal Tift, Alice Teeter, Louisa Merchant, Sharon Saunders, Sincere, Charlene Ball and Libby Ware. This event is free.

Founding the Future: A Conversation with Beverly Guy Sheftall & Gloria Steinem, moderated by Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Thursday, November 5, 7:30pm (Doors at 6:30) at the Georgia Tech Hotel
Young feminist scholar and activist Alexis Pauline Gumbs will moderate a discussion with feminist icons Beverly Guy-Sheftall and Gloria Steinem about their places in the history of feminism and the possibilities the future holds.

Tickets are $35 for general admission; priority seating is also available. Tickets can be purchased online or in person at Charis Books & More.

Founding the Future ticket info...

Artists & Revolutionaries: The Transformative Power of Music and Words
Friday, November 6, 7:30pm (Doors at 6:30) at Hillside International Truth Center
Charis presents an evening of art and activism with performances and readings by Pearl Cleage, the Indigo Girls, and Alice Walker. Tickets are $35 for general admission; priority seating is also available. Tickets can be purchased online or in person at Charis Books & More.
Artists & Revolutionaries ticket info...

Birthday Party & Book Sale with Author Signings
Saturday, November 7, 10:30am-8:00pm and Sunday, November 8, Noon-6:00pm at Charis
The bookstore will hold its annual birthday party and sale, featuring birthday cake, refreshments, discounts on everything, and authors on hand to sign copies of books. A complete schedule of author signings will be announced soon.


Monday, October 05, 2009

Your Mother: June Jordan and the Orchestration of Anger

Hi Everyone,
This is the text of a talk I gave a few days ago at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at CUNY as part of an event called Rare Form.
Would love to know what you think!
love,
lex

I want to take a moment to remember the place we are in, and to remember, Audre Lorde, Toni Cade Bambara, and June Jordan who taught in the City University of New York’s SEEK opportunity program and participated in the student takeover of City College. I remember this in solidarity with the recent direct actions of the students in the University of California System.
I have to acknowledge what makes it possible for me to speak here. I am the beneficiary of generations of the righteous anger of people of color critiquing and transforming institutions and demanding space.
*This paper is dedicated to June Jordan’s mentor Fannie Lou Hamer whose birthday is October 6th and to the oldest black woman I know, my father’s godmother, cousin Floss, a self-identified “very outspoken person” who uses these words as a refrain to her ongoing critique of everything: “When ya wrong, ya wrong.”

Your Mother:
June Jordan and the Orchestration of Anger

Alexis Pauline Gumbs

Can we agree that anger is useful? We are often told that anger, especially when enacted by black women is pointless, ridiculous, amusing. A pre-existing condition. But black women’s anger must be useful. Why else would there be a weapon in the arsenal of the volunteer army of white supremacy listed on the first page of their guidebook called “the angry black woman.” Beware the angry black woman, the stalwart defenders of racism, classism and sexism are trained, pretend that her anger is spontaneous, primal, guttural, alien, anything to shift the conversation away from what she is angry about. That angry black woman must be saying something pretty dangerous to have earned her own stereotype. But fear not. Our anger is useful, and we, have our own handbook. Audre Lorde’s “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism.” Audre Lorde teaches us why the anger of women of color is valuable:
“Anger is loaded with information and energy….Focused with precision it can become a powerful source of energy serving progress and change. Anger expressed and translated into action in the service of our vision and our future is a liberating and strengthening act of clarification.”
“Women of Color in America have grown up within a symphony of anger, at being silenced, at being unchosen, at knowing that when we survive it is in spite of a world that takes for granted our lack of humanness, and which hates our very existence outside its service. And I say symphony rather than cacophony , because we have had to learn to orchestrate those furies so they do not tear us apart.”
So this is a question of form. We have had to learn to orchestrate those furies so they do not tear us apart. I think there might be people in here who can relate to that. And some say that it was the work metabolizing hatred within academic and activist spaces, even with this university system that took them from us early. Some say it was also the lack of stable and comprehensive healthcare. In each case, this practice of orchestrating our anger so that it does not tear us apart, is not a mere literary exercise. Our survival is at stake.
So tonight, I’m going to be looking closely at some examples of the orchestration of anger by one of the angriest black feminists I know about, someone who was incredibly concerned with form: the poet, June Jordan. As the first person to spend time in the unpublished papers and correspondence of June Jordan at the Schlesinger library I read angry letter after angry letter and it is clear to me that Jordan’s anger is not spontaneous, and it is not cacophonous. This anger is orchestrated.
I would propose that June Jordan’s angry letters, especially to editors within the periodical publishing industry constitute a shadow archive, an actual body of work that we can read for it’s own insights, its robust and consistent critique of the publishing industry and it’s own poetics which can bear on our reading of Jordan’s angry published poems. (The “your mama” poem she wrote for Daniel P. Moynihan comes to mind.) If racism slept, unfortunately it doesn’t, but if racism slept, it would have nightmares about June Jordan. June Jordan is the proof of the fearsome power of the angry black woman.
And in the popular imaginary the angry black woman has a form too. The form of black woman most associated with anger is the black single mother. The person most associated with everything bad, irrational, detrimental, and scary in the popular rhetoric of the United States is the single black mother. And my work is about this connection. The thing that is so queer and so dangerous about the single, or poor, or queer black mother is that she will not shut up, will not stop standing up for hers, will not simply disappear and stop making more race problems, by which we know it is meant, stop making more problematic black people. Let me be clear, the story about the angry black woman is about fear of the power of black woman, about fear of what we can and do create. Which is, on the level of body and discourse, what Hortense Spillers calls an intervening narrative. The black mother is criminalized, as crazy, loud, angry, irresponsible, because she stands at a precarious place in the social narrative, right on the social tension over the meaning of reproduction. And June Jordan says, here I am. Be afraid. As a black sometimes poor, sometimes single and sometimes woman-partnered mother, who was also an author and journalist troubled this intersectional tension even more explicitly. So if the media of the late 20th century when Jordan was writing was committed to reproducing narrative common sense about the worthlessness of black life, the expendability of black bodies in post-industrial New York, the justification of an expanding prison state and the responsibility of black mothers for the “culture of poverty” crime and inequality, Jordan was clearly committed to something else. This is the queer thing. This is why Cathy Cohen asks for a queer politic that centers and highlights the “welfare queen.” Point blank. In a society that thinks and says and enforces the idea that black people do not deserve to exist, it is a queer thing to create and love and nurture and uplift and listen to and empower a black child. Black mothering is queer work.
In this context queer black feminist mothers June Jordan insisted in the pages of Essence Magazine, that “Poems are housework.” The form of black mothering is a queer form and form matters. Jordan framed her critique of the New York Times, Chrysalis Feminist Publication and Seven Days publication…which I will focus on here….in her perspective as a black mother who saw racism as a life or death matter. June Jordan as a someone who understood ideological racism as an act of violence, actively reproduced through the practices of the publishing industry (on TOP of the actual racist content they continued to publish.) So this is where I am coming from. This is where I come from, this legacy where creation is a queer thing, where mothering retains its deviance. The place where accountability to silenced ancestors and children who public policy says should not be born explodes into voice.
Hatred destroys. But anger and hatred are not the same. And as Lorde explains, anger is an appropriate response to hatred.
June Jordan was not afraid to be angry.
This is the place where people like those of us on this panel…who are obsessed with form get very excited. We are out and proud, we cherish an intimacy with words. We are all creative writers, we all read closely, in context. And by close here I mean intimacy. And I have to say there is something really thrilling almost electric about becoming intimate with words so full of passion and rage. Sharp words designed to slice someone out of their racist apparel on my behalf. There must be something queer about that.
I am going to start with my favorite letter actually as I was writing this I realized that I have so much to say about this letter that I won’t even have time to talk about the other letters here.
Here is the context: (it’s a little bit gossipy and involved, but I need you to know that anger doesn’t come from nowhere)
In the late 1970’s Audre Lorde was poetry editor of a “magazine of women’s culture” called Chrysalis. June Jordan was a contributing editor. Adrienne Rich was also a contributing editor, and then there was a (white feminist) editorial board. So (to be clear) there were the “advising editors” and Lorde as poetry editor who ostenisibly had input into the magazine and then there was an all white set of women who made the day to day and final decisions and there were no women of color in that room. A number of important pieces, including Lorde’s essay “Poetry is Not a Luxury “and appropriately, as you will see, June Jordan’s poem “I Must Become a Menace to My Enemies.” Lorde used her role as poetry editor to highlight poetry by emergent women of color writers, but from the beginning the editorial collective, which was based in LA and the far-flung poetry editor had communication issues, and from the very first issue Patricia Jones, a black woman writer, complained in a letter to the editor that it seemed that women of color were marginalized within the magazine. As poetry editor, Audre Lorde had a critique of the magazine that specifically centered around poetic form and space. In October 1977 Audre Lorde wrote a letter (really a small essay ) complaining expressing her frustration with the Chrysalis collective for devaluing poetry. The third issue of the publication had only 9 pages of poetry, but it had 11 pages of blank space, used ostensibly to provide transitions between articles. Lorde was most distressed by the fact that two poems by June Jordan however we crowded onto the same page, which Lorde complained gave the misperception that they were parts of the same poem and “nullified the impact of each one.” Lorde copied June Jordan on this letter. It might be the case that Jordan herself had complained to Lorde about the way that her poems appeared on the page. In a letter the next year to her new publisher Beacon Press, Jordan insists that her poetry should get the same space the Seamus Heaney’s got, increasing the projected page-length of Passion to over a hundred pages.
In 1979 the Chrysalis collective received a National Endowment for the Arts grant to produce a special issue on poetry. By this time however, Lorde was fed up with the collective and had resigned as poetry editor, an act which was covered up the collective which published a special poem in honor of Audre Lorde and continued to list her on the masthead months after she had resigned. So Lorde wrote another angry letter, this time structured with numbers. She starts with the marker of second wave feminism and questions its very existence through her critique “If the personal is indeed political then grave questions are raised by your printing a poem to me under a paragraph of factual errors and insults to contributors at the same time as the editorial board is apparently unable to deal with me as a peer.” Lorde highlights three points that she says have fallen on deaf ears in the past.

1. critiques the objectification “thingdom” of black women in the magazine, particularly in response to what she sees as a fetishistic racist article about primitivism in women’s art

2. protests the expendability (superfluity) of work by women of color within the magazine, pointing out that the one poem by a woman of color that was to be included, a poem by Toi Derricote’s was missing from the issue…she predicts that the board will respond “we never noticed”

3. and finally the Lorde protects her own authority. She is angry to have her name associated with “a poetic composition over which I have no control.”

These three issues, objectification, expendability and authority are the exact issues which are contested in that narrative about black mothering and the reproduction of racism. Lorde’s at bottom Lorde is making an accusation. You are stifling the poetic work of women of color because you are afraid of what we will create. Remember the uses of anger. Here in list format, Lorde orchestrates that anger at being unchosen, that anger at being objectified and used.
“Jordan, in solidarity and frustration wrote this letter.
Read the whole letter.
Clearly this is not written in the form of a poem. It is written in the form of a formal letter. Almost in the form of a contract, she uses the word “hereby” begins the last sentence with the word “as.” The poetics of rage also make this letter a poem. Listen to the repetition, of the key words. Black and profoundly. This is a profoundly black feminist letter.
Jordan brings the important topics of labor, mothering, and state violence explicitly into the conversation and points out the connection between the personal miscommunications within the publication, the ideological violence in the magazine’s content exclusions and editorial policies and the state violence that this narrative violence reproduces. After Susan Griffin, spokesperson at that time for the Chrysalis editorial board, failed to respond to either Lorde or Jordan’s letters and instead wrote a long pleading letter Adrienne Rich, who had also resigned in alliance and agreement with Lorde and Jordan’s accusations of racism…rudely merely cc’ing Lorde and Jordan on what remained an exchange between two white women and, as you can imagine, incensing Jordan in particular even more, Jordan makes her connection between the ideological violence of the publication and the violence of racism and imperialism writ large even more explicit:
She writes “I am most angrily and disgustedly hereby confirmed in my viewpoint that Chrysalis and its allies do not fail Black and Third world people by accident. It is a failure guaranteed by a concept of identity that excludes my own, in the broad sense of my own.”
She goes on to elaborate on “the process whereby persons such as S. G. may avoid indefinitely, it would seem, an adult and serious consideration of her particular responsibility for the fact that I must tremble for the survival likelihood of every young Black man in this country, including that of my own son.” Jordan then describes listening, in public to a radio report about “yet another white police murder of an unarmed young Black man,” in her neighborhood and sincerely thinking that this time it might be her son.
This is the brilliance of June Jordan’s anger. For Jordan everything is connected. Accountability is always on the level of life or death. This is one of the reasons that Jordan gained a reputation, especially among her liberal peers for being so “difficult” and uncompromising. A racist editorial policy is never just a racist editorial process for Jordan. Because it is racist narrative that the media reproduces in it’s mechanics and with its content allows a collective common sense, that among other things enables the public to accept the actions of a police force that treats black people as if they are not human beings, but monsters to be shot on sight. Jordan’s anger is instructive in its logic and its clarity, even if it may depend on a binary. No incident is isolated, every practice, every decision we take on either reproduces an oppressive framework, or helps to produce something different…on the terms of the civil rights mantra, if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem. We could talk about the ethics of Jordan’s anger in conversations with work on ethic by Levinas, and Judith Butler. But we won’t. Because for one, it’s really past time for me to be talking, as advertised about the poetics of Jordan’s anger, and for two, I have decided that at least for tonight all of the theorists that I will quote, cite or talk about will be black women. So there.
Now, let’s look at the poetics:
If the racism of Chrysalis is like a death sentence to the black community…which seems to be the claim Jordan is making, she breaks out of the narrative structure of the sentence, even while parodying it with the contract like language of the letter, by breaking out into repetitive incantatory reveries.
Black women issues, Black women priorities, Black women poets
And on. The impact is cumulative and magical. It is almost as if the exclusion, tokenism, expendability and pigeon-holing of black women within the publication is undone by the spell that she is working in this first paragraph. In contrast to the publication, this paragraph is full of diverse black women, and not only that,
We have black women political analysts, black women storytellers, black women activists, black women laborers, black women mothers. We have black women that create, shape worlds, make meanings. This is not the first time the repetition of black shows up in Jordan’s body of angry letters. 10 years earlier in 1969 she had responded to a proto-bell curve pseudo-scientific article in the New York Times magazine about how black people are not capable of rational thought, with an eloquent letter with the refrain “Because I am Black.” Basically saying, because I am black I do not understand what could possibly be rational about you printing this trash to begin with. So here in the 1979 letter, the repetition of Black, capital BE and women lower-case W breaks out of the marginalizing assumption that black woman is just a slot to be filled. Or that by tokenizing black women on the advisory board but not taking their advice seriously you are somehow an inclusive publication. Remembering that “our very existence is hated outside of it’s service to the system” Jordan chooses excess, it’s raining black women hallelujah, black womanhood is so multiple it is a song. This is poet…we start with alliteration and move to rhyme, priorities, poets, painters, analysts, activists, mothers, lovers. This is a call. Suddenly the space is filled with black women, black women past present and future are called, attracted by the aesthetic, spirit crowds the discourse. This repetition, Black women, Black women, Black women, hails Fannie Lou Hamer back from beyond the grave, it hails me. Eleven times
Black women
Black women
Black women
Black women
Black women
Black women
Black women
Black women
Black women
Black women
Black women
Loving black women over and over again, day in a day out is a queer thing. This in a letter addressed to the white editorial board of Chrysalis, and then copied to Adrienne Rich, who Jordan understood to be an actively anti-racist white feminist ally, and 5 black women, Audre Lorde “my sister” Alexis DeVeaux and Gwendolen Hardwick the black women poet and artist who were attacked on the street with Jordan, Patricia Jones, the black woman who wrote the first angry letter about racism to the magazine and Barbara Smith, who as we know is a lifetime warrior for autonomous women of color publishing. Black women everything at the center of the paragraph. This is poetic because it says what we do not know how know. Right in the center of anger there it is resplendent. Ecstatic, evangelical, transformative love for self.
You cannot read this letter without knowing for sure, that June Jordan loves black women enough to fight for our existence. All Audre Lorde had to do was cc her on the letter. Beware the fierce love between black women. Profound. Jordan’s use in the next paragraph of the repeated word profoundly also make a language break. The sentence, or indictment begins in standard sentence structure, commas punctuate the accusations, hopelessly academic, pseudo-historical, incestuous. But then the failure is just too profound for the dominant language to hold. The commas drop out and the word profoundly hold the rhythm. Profoundly optional (I really love that, how a magazine that treats the lives of black women as an under prioritized “option” becomes “optional.”) Think about that for a minute. You imagine if someone called you that? Profoundly Optional. I really think that’s the most cutting point in the letter. Optional. Damn.
Alright. So profoundly holds the rhythm. Profoundly optional profoundly trifling and this is a turning point. Because you know where we are by the time we get to the word trifling, This is school-yard. This is what Jordan called black English in her classroom. No commas needed bring it home.
Profoundly upper middle-class attic white publication.
And then here is the thing that I love the most. After explaining why the publication is so dead ridiculous and optional that it need not even exist, she then actually proposes that the people publish the letter in the magazine! And this isn’t the only place she does this…after a back and forth between June Jordan and the editors of the magazine Seven Days about an article that she wrote about the outrage of a mob murder of black youth in Brooklyn, where they ask her to be less angry and more balanced, she tells them off and says if you want your readers to really know what’s going on, print this letter and give me my kill fee.
And this is a poetic act too. Sylvia Wynter, the genius Jamaican literary critic explains that the poetic is the way we make an capitalist relationship where objects relate to objects through the mediator of power obsolete, and imagine a different world by describing a relationship that cannot be described. And this is Jordan’s gesture at the end of these angry poetic queerly carefully crafted letters. You who know nothing of what publishing should be, publish this. A catch 22, if the words in the letter are true then we know they would never publish such a critique. If the words in the letter are not true then how can the publication participate in it’s own slander. I entirely expect that you will print this, she says. By which she means I dare you. I dare you. Not just to the recipient, but now to us. The shadow audience overhearing her love for us, carbon-copied. And the anger of black women is like that, a shadow archive of stolen love daring us to be afraid. And now you know about it. So what you gon’ do?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

poetics of anger: june jordan's letters to the editor

Hey loved ones,
Just wanted to invite you to the panel I am speaking on at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies this coming Thursday. It would be really great to see you. And while the description they have below of our panel makes us all sound really smart and somewhat inaccessible...you should know that what I am really talking about it the hilarious and powerful poetics of angry letters by June Jordan to the editors of publications she wrote for.
Should be a good time!
Would love to see you there!
love always,
Alexis

Thursday, October 1
Rare Form: Crafting Queerness in Contemporary Literature

LGBTQ Panel Discussion

This panel explores contemporary queer literature and culture with an emphasis on form. Situating North American literary and theoretical texts in a diasporic frame, the panelists will analyze forms of literary expression through the generic lenses of language, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and race and will also consider richer and stranger forms of difference. One of the central questions raised and discussed will be: How do representations of difference impose formal restrictions upon or create new formal possibilities for a text? Taking up contemporary work on futurity, the body, motherhood, sovereignty, and visibility and voice, these presenters ask what difference it might make for contemporary queer studies to make questions of form and craft central.

Panelists: Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Ph.D. candidate, English, Africana Studies and Women's Studies, Duke University; Sarah Dowling, Ph.D. candidate, English, University of Pennsylvania; Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, Ph.D. candidate, English, University of Pennsylvania

Moderator: Jennifer Williams, Assistant Professor of English, Michigan State University

Graduate Center
Room 9207
7-9 PM

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Buried Treasure

Hey y'all. Last night I filled in for Nia and spoke at the annual meeting of a Rape Crisis Center in the next county. I was honored to do it and affirmed by the people in the room. Feel free to participate in the prompt at the end of the speech!
love,
lex

Grassroots Organizing Against Sexual Violence


For the annual meeting of the Orange County Rape Crisis Center

Good evening everyone! I stand here representing Nia Wilson, director of SpiritHouse and co-founder with me and others of UBUNTU, a women of color, survivor-led coalition committed, with all of you, to ending gendered and sexual violence completely by filling our communities with sustaining transformative love.

I am not Nia Wilson, but I am proud to call her my sister, mentor, comrade, loved one, and dear friend. And some would say that we “look alike” because we have a shared vision of a transformed world full of inspired communities. And by community we mean groups of people connected by geography and affinity that truly support each member in having their physical, spiritual and emotional needs met, and their amazing priceless unique gift to the world expressed.

I am also here tonight in the legacy of Audre Lorde, black lesbian feminist mother poet warrior who also used her poetry, her life and her example to stand against sexual violence. I will be using on of Audre Lorde’s lesser-known later poems, “On My Way Out I Passed Over You and the Verazzano Bridge” in her collection Our Dead Behind Us to frame my discussion about women of color survivor-led grassroots organizing. Because I strongly believe that (as our other speaker, a high school English teacher and igniter of Scene and Heard youth poetry collective will also speak to) poetry is a powerful context for transformation.

I was asked to speak specifically about what grassroots organzing looks like from the perspective of women of color, those among us who have long held the under-rewarded task of ORGANIZING EVERYTHING often in the face of slander and disrespect…the exact kind of slander and disrespect that makes sexual violence against women of color seem normal.

Audre Lorde speaks for many when she says:

History is not kind to us

we restitch it with living

past memory forward

into desire

into the panic articulation

of want without having

or even the promise of getting

And this is often the position of women of color led initiatives like ours which do not conform to the standard of non-profit organizing. Organizations like SpiritHouse, which focuses on the soul work of healing with/as those most impacted by racism, sexism and classism, and coalitons like UBUNTU, which acts on the belief that we must create whoel communities full of shared childcare, shared, music, shared meals, collective gardents, and definitely poetry in order to grow a world where people are truly accountable to each other and sexual violence is no more….groups like ours are not always legible to foundations that value social services and policy outcomes, but which often overlook the community building work, the love work. Love is sadly undervalued in the non-profit industrial complex, but we as women of color are learning to be fierce beacons of love and finding support for that work is like planting your heart in the ground you stand on, shining your faith light and tears into your community and welcoming whatever grows up. Grass. Roots.

Even the present is not kind. We restitch it with living, past memory, forward into desire.

We draw on the resources of the brilliant women of color who have come before us and who hold a light to our vision today. SpiritHouse and UBUNTU have actively used the poetic work of Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Ntozake Shange and asha bandele in our healing performances and independent publications and writing workshops.

We also ally with contemporary warriors like genius filmmaker Aishah Simmons who’s film NO! reminds us who we are and what we deserve and reminds men who are allies committed to ending sexual violence of their stake in the matter. Deconstructing male privilege means that men are not helping to end sexual violence on my behalf, they are not stopping rape from a property perspective to protect wives, mothers, daughters, etc. If you identify as a man ending rape, you are ending rape because it is not what you would want someone to do to YOU, Period.

SpiritHouse youth program which I have been involved in for the past 5 years works with some of the most criminalized members of our communities. Young black people, mostly male-identified, who have often been long-term suspended and exprelled from Durham public schools because of their involvement in gangs or street organizations. These are the people most likely to get pulled over if they drive anywhere, who have the hardest times finding jobs, who are often harassed just for walking down the street or hanging out. And no, they don’t always have the most PC gender language. We know from being accountable to and led by these young people that being treated like a criminal does not give anyone a healthier relationship to their own sexuality or anyone else’s body.

If the increased surveillance and criminalization is not the way to end sexual violence, and I strongly believe that it is not, as a survivor like most survivors of sexual violence that was enacted on me by someone in my circle of trust, how do we heal our communities?

In UBUNTU, a coalition of which SpiritHouse is a founding organizational member, we believe that when everyone’s needs are met, when we can look at each other eye to eye, when we can tell the truth about economic violence, agist silencing and sex in general, and when we can tell the even harder, rarer, riskier truth about love, we will treat each other well, we will love each other right.

The committees of UBUNTU have created poetic performances, writing groups, a community garden, a national day of truthtelling and monthly potluck dinners as investments in the belief that as Audre Lorde says:

And I dream of us coming together

encircled driven

not only by love

but by a lust for a working tomorrow

the flights of this journey

mapless uncertain

and necessary as water,

And the flights are maples. The tragic thing is that we do not know how to navigate life without violence, distrust and harmful silences. But Lorde offers us this poem:

I am writing these words as a route map

an artifact for survival

a chronicle of buried treasure

a mourning

for this place we are about to be leaving

And in the spirit of that buried treasure, that necessary digging. I have a poem that I would like you to interact with. Are you willing to interact?

The poem is called Dig (available as a PDF here: http://brokenbeautiful.wordpress.com/lexicon/dig/

And at the end of the poem (and for you reading in the comments) please respond to the prompt for your community, for yourself, or for any definition of “here” that you hold:

“If you dig here you will find ______________________”

(at the event each person stood and declared that we would find, “a poem” “love” “hope” “more digging to do” “dirt” “roots” “a proud father of three daughters” “peace” “a hundred dreams ready to be lived” “intertwining pathways” and more! And each person remained standing until the entire room was standing for the depth of healing that will truly end sexual violence. And I said…)

I was asked to speak about what grassroots organzing looks like from my perspective. I think this is what it looks like. Learning to stand against sexual violence with our whole selves. Thank you for your bravery.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Oh My Gosh! Being in this book is a dream come true!

Does Your Mama Know bookcover

does your mama know?

(revised edition)
edited by Lisa C. Moore

By turns funny, passionate, angry and joyous, does your mama know? reflects the complexity of emotions that accompany a black lesbian’s coming out. These short stories, poems, interviews and essays—fiction and nonfiction—make up a powerful collection of original and new writing. Originally published in 1997, the 2009 revised edition of does your mama know? adds 16 new stories. Booksellers, please note the new ISBN.

ISBN-10: 0-9786251-6-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-9786251-6-0
Specs: Softcover, xx pp.
Price: $19.95
Pub. Date: May 2009
Cover art, design copyright © 1997 by Kamela Eaton

Contributors

  • Donna Allegra
  • Martine C. Barbier
  • L.K. Barnett
  • Samiya Bashir
  • Gwendolyn Bikis
  • Becky Birtha
  • Sharon Bridgforth
  • Tonia Bryan
  • C.C. Carter
  • Staceyann Chin
  • Cheryl Clarke
  • Tonda Clarke
  • Alexis De Veaux
  • Olive Demetrius
  • Gale “Sky” Edeawo
  • Tiffani Frazier
  • Roxane Gay
  • Lena-Nsomeka Gomes
  • Jewelle Gomez

  • alexis pauline gumbs
  • Imani Henry
  • Kiyana Horton
  • Michele Hunter
  • A. Naomi Jackson
  • Terri Jewell
  • Ana-Maurine Lara
  • Renita Martin
  • Hope Massiah
  • Tiona McClodden
  • Liz Messerly
  • mistinguette
  • Lenelle Mo├»se
  • Denise Moore
  • Letta Neely
  • Ekua Omosupe
  • Tonya Parker
  • Kimberly “Q” Purnell
  • Almah LaVon Rice

  • Mattie Richardson
  • Brigitte Roberts
  • Makeda Silvera
  • Sheree Slaughter
  • Sherece Taffe
  • Selly k. Thiam
  • Karen Thompson
  • Nailah Tulinegwe
  • Hanifah Walidah
  • Laura Irene Wayne
  • Liza Wesley
  • Michelle Wilkinson
  • Arlene Williams
  • Shilanda Woolridge
  • Eva Yaa Asantewaa
  • Shay Youngblood
  • akhaji zakiya
  • Fiona Zedde
    Kortney Ryan Ziegler

Praise for does your mama know?

“These voices are varied as are the tales they tell. Haitian, Jamerican, Afro-Canadian, biracial, Southern U.S., London by way of Barbados. Ages 14 to 90. …It is extremely rare to see a book of any kind that reflects the diversity of black people in North America, not only economically, but ethnically.”

—R. Erica Doyle, Women in the Life

“When I held this book in my hand for the first time it shook me to the core. I dreamt about it all night. Thinking, ‘if only I had had this fourteen years ago,’ because Lord knows I looked for it. If only I had known I was not the only one, what pain-filled places would I have left behind? The voices in does your mama know? share the stories of black lesbians making the proverbial ‘way out of no way,’ on the edge of self-definition. It is a catalogue of our longing, our grief, our innocence, our triumph, and, above all, our love.”

—R. Erica Doyle, Women in the Life

“…an excellent expression of tenderness and pain as womyn share their coming-out stories.”

—LaJaunessee Jordan, Outlines

does your mama know?… does a terrific job adding a voice that’s missing from the collective gay expression. This gathering of essays, stories and poetry captures black lesbians like a prism reflects the sunlight, throwing back a thousand divergent lives. There is rich lore here for gay history, as well as black history…”

—Emma Hayes, HX for Her

does your mama know? is a welcome addition to the history of our communities…”

—Deborah Peifer, The Bay Guardian

“Few…voices have been raised to sing the history of African American lesbians. Editor Lisa C. Moore noticed that and has set about to begin to correct the omission, and she has done a masterful job of it. …[These] are beautiful poems and stories, yes, but more than that, they are proof of our existence and show how essential it is that we have a literature of our own.”

—Dale Edwyna Smith, The Lesbian Review of Books

“Lisa C. Moore does the community a service by not censoring her anthology [does your mama know?], by allowing black lesbian voices to be heard in rich and varied ways…”

—Barbara I. Bond, Lambda Book Report

Eye to Eye: A Poetic Exercise

Greetings loved ones! This is a talk that I did at the very first LGBTQ school-wide program yesterday at Bennett College (a historically black college for women in Greensboro, NC).

To watch a video of the entire program see: http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=161321736717&h=l5jp4&u=7wLZ5&ref=mf

For the class of 2013 at Bennett College

Good morning Bennett Belles! My name is Alexis Pauline Gumbs and I am a queer black trouble maker, an afro-Caribbean grandchild and love embodied. I stand here this morning in the legacy of Audre Lorde, black feminist lesbian poet mother warrior, doing our work. I bring you an interactive embodied poetic exercise called eye to eye. Are you ready to interact? Are you awake? If you can hear me say “Audre Lorde lives!”

Thank you! This exercise is about healing. About what it means to love ourselves and to love each other as black women. Raise your hand if you have ever heard a black woman say some version of this: “I don’t really like to be around too many females. Too much drama. Women are shady. Can’t trust them. We can be associates, but I don’t really have to many female friends.” Raise your hand if you have heard a black woman or girl say that. Picture her in your mind. Close your eyes. What did she look like? How did her face look when she said that? Did she look peaceful? Resigned? Disappointed? On the verge of laughing? On the verge of telling someone off? What did she look like? Keep your eyes closed and raise your hand if you, yourself have ever said or thought something like that. “I can’t really let too many females get close to me. They talk behind your back, they try to steal your man or push up on your girl?” Keep your hand up if you have ever said or thought something like that yourself. Open your eyes, and look at me. Everything I say about black women, is true, about myself.

The other day a beloved comrade of mine told me that a young woman in a workshop he was leading about self-love and self-esteem said something to him the other day that is ridiculous enough to be funny, but is actually a logical extension of this thought about other women that many of us have had: “Love myself?” she said, with a disgusted look on her face. “Eww. That’s gay.” I laughed out loud when I heard my friend, a gay man, tell me this story. But at the end of the day, this is not a rare belief, and the costs are to cruel to be funny. We are taught so vigilantly not to love black women, we are taught, through violence and racism and sexism daily that black women are not worthy of love, we are taught that it is an amoral, disgusting thing to love a black women, and we have learned the lesson so well that we have forgotten how to love and affirm the black woman we know best. We have forgotten how to love ourselves.

I am talking about this to you because you might have the occasion to interact with a few black women over the next few years. Like everyday, all day, in class, in the dorm, in the hall, in the dining hall, in your own imagination. You have chosen brilliantly to be in a community created every day by and for black women. I am a proud graduate of a women’s college, but the power in this room, the singular majestic power of a college that is about one thing, the genius of black women, is miraculous to me. And I envy you. But that’s because I love black women. I love myself fiercely. If you are in here, surrounded by black women and you are fighting feelings of jealously, mistrust, judgement about your sisters your choice to be here at Bennett College for women is inconvenient at best. But this is also an incredible opportunity to learn how to love all different kinds of black women, and it matters that you LOVE black women, which is different than dealing with, smiling in the faces of, or tolerating other black women. The extent to which you love your sisters here at Bennett is the extent to which you can and will love yourself.

In the early 1980’s in Essence Magazine Audre Lorde, warrior poet mother icon, wrote about exactly this issue:

“We are African women and we know in our blood’s telling, the tenderness with which our foremothers held each other. It is that connection which we are seeking. We have the stories of Black women who healed each other’s wounds, raised each other’s children, fought each other’s battles, tilled each other’s earth, and eased each other’s passages into life and death. We know the possibilities of support and connection for which we all yearn and which we dream of so often. But connections between Black women are not automatic by virtue of our similarities, and the possibilities of genuine communication are not easily achieved..”

“Often we give lip service to the idea of mutual support and connection between Black women because we have not yet crossed the barriers to these possibilities, nor fully explored the angers and fears that keep us from realizing the power of a real Black sisterhood. We cannot settle for the pretenses of connection, or for parodies of self-love. We cannot continue to evade each other on the deepest level s because we fear each other’s angers, nor continue to believe that respect means never looking directly, nor with open-ness into another Black woman’s eyes. I was not meant to be alone and without you who understand.

Okay. Here comes the interactive part. What better time to interact intimately with another black woman than now. We are about to experiment with how difficult, uncomfortable and unfamiliar it feels to look directly into another black woman’s eyes. Please choose a black woman sitting near you who you do not know well, maybe someone sitting in the row in front of you or behind you. Does everybody have someone. Work it out y’all…everyone needs a partner. Someone you do not know or someone you are just getting to know.

Okay. So now look into that sisters eyes. Directly. It’s not a staring contest. You can blink, just don’t look away. Keep looking. Keep looking. Breathe. Let your eyes settle on your sister’s face. Think about how much she reminds you of yourself, think about how different she is from you. Do not look away. For 30 more seconds just chill. Look into your sister’s eye and breathe.

So how did that feel? Awkward? Strange? Did it get less or more uncomfortable for you? Were you aware that you were looking at an amazing person? Were you afraid that she was seeing the crust in your eyes from earlier this morning? How did you feel? I did this in a middle school class once and one girl whispered loudly “I think that lady’s a lesbian” which is fine, because I am a proud queer black woman and I stand here in the legacy of Audre Lorde, black lesbian genius warrior poet. But this is not some kind of gay conversion exercise. This is about learning how uncomfortable we are just looking at other black women face to face, eye to eye, and over coming that so we can really build sisterhood with each other and love ourselves. How often have you really looked any black woman in the eye for a significant period of time. That was only one minute. It felt like a lifetime because of the lifetimes we have spend avoiding each other. Have you looked in your mother’s eyes, your grandmother’s eyes, your aunts, your sister’s, your cousins?

Why not? This is what Audre Lorde said:

“We do not love ourselves, therefore we cannot love each other. Because we see in each other’s face our own face, the face we never stopped wanting. Because we survived and survival breeds desire for more self. A face we never stopped wanting at the same time as we try to obliterate it.

Why don’t we meet each other’s eyes? Do we expect betrayal in each others gaze, or recognition?”

What is dangerous about a black woman who loves black women? What is dangerous about a black woman who loves herself? What does society get from us when we are afraid to love ourselves and each other. I want us to support the students in BRIDE in really bringing out the conversation about what everyone loses in a homophobic society and to remember that homophobia in the black community isn’t really about sex. It is really about fear. How afraid are we to love each other, even as sisters, even as friends, even as students and mentors? How afraid are we to love ourselves and what are we missing?

Thank you for your bravery. Thank you for you attention this morning, thank you for looking at yourself with love and honesty, eye to eye.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

BrokenBeautiful: Fall in Love All Over Again!

moment of arrival

Schools in! And your summer-lovin, nerdy quirky space for creation is exited to check out your new And you keep on keep on falling in love with the world we are making together! I know you are so ready to see what BrokenBeautiful Press is up to in this amazing season of transformation!

MobileHome Money!: Buy Lex and Julia this MobileHome for our traveling queer black intergenerational community documentation and education project! Read all about it and contribute via paypal if you can here! Also, all proceeds from the DVD and Lex's speaking circuit will go towards the sustainable media making love bug extreme!

the mobilehome we want!!!!

Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind EVERYWHERE!!!: Spreading the gospel of black feminist possibility and legacy by every means necessary, the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind project has a multi-media life of it's own! In addition to the in-person study group (see more details below) Eternal Summer stays portable and interactive with the new

Eternal Summer PODCAST Series with amazing music, poetry and information! Scroll down or click here to download or listen to 1979 and Meditations on the Rainbow. I just recently got word that sistas in Kenya are using the podcasts for discussion sessions. You should too!

Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist MIND TV!!!! If you have the great sense to live in Durham, North Carolina you can get black feminist goodness right in your living room on Channel 18 Monday nights at 9pm!

AND the videos!

Picture 1Eternal Summer DVD of black feminist educational videos (available on a sliding scale fee for use in your community or classroom.) Paypal a donation between $11-25 to brokenbeautifulpress@gmail.com for your copy. shipping included!)

AND the Black Feminist Poet/Speaker/Workshop Leader for hire!

4495_1148688561670_1361255849_389085_216113_nThis year Lex is using her best developed and most cherished skill-the art of the life-changing workshop-to raise funds to support her decision to spend the next year doing the MobileHomeComing an immersive intergenerational community documentation and education project based on her lust for back queer community! (It’s weird that somehow I have to be consistent with a choice to talk about myself in the third person here, but I want to interject in the first person to say that your support means everything to me and it is evidence of the fact that it is possible to be a community supported, community accountable scholar in the 21st Century. :) More details here!

soft_launch_juliaQueer Renaissance Film Screening/B-day Bash Fundraiser: BrokenBeautiful Press is partnering with Queer Renaissance to create the party of the fall! On Saturday September 19th in Atlanta, GA we'll be screening Julia Wallace's film "Until" two Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind videos, a fashion line, music dancing, ties and more beautiful madness. For more details look at the event page here! The event is a fundraiser for intergenerational technology classes that Julia will be conducting in under-served communities in Atlanta.

Love Harder: Women of Color Working it Out

This is a reading group specifically designed for women of color in different communities to respond to the complicated matrix of oppressions that face us by loving each other even harder, with more intention, focus and specificity. We will be reading, gathering locally and posting our insights at www.loveharder.wordpress.com every season. Fall 2009 we are reading Andrea Smith’s essay about the three pillars of white supremacy. Comment on the blog or email brokenbeautifulpress@gmail.com if you want to participate!

The Summer Recap:


How amazing was our Summer!!??? Check it out!

Black Feminism Lives...ALL SUMMER LONG!

ffsmoiseCombahee Lives!: All summer long the Combahee Survival initiative has been sparking conversation on the Quirky Black Girls discussion forums and the Combahee Survival Blog invoking the brave brilliance of the 1977 Black Lesbian Feminist Socialist Combahee River Collective with contribution and statements from contemporary movement genuises! And it don't stop! Join Quirky Black Girls or email brokenbeautiful.wordpress.com if you want to get weekly discussion prompts!

Eternal Summer Study Groups: This summer Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist mind grew wide and deep. With intimate session on Lex's porch in Durham we discussed the poetry of Audre Lorde and Nikky Finney and we kicked of the Eternal Summer Warrior film series with a documentary about Ida B. Wells (which we screened in honor of her birthday!)

ida_wellsaudrenikky-finney2

Sistas in D.C., Ethiopia, Chicago, etc, have been doing local Eternal Summer sessions. Stay posted at www.blackfeministmind.wordpress.com to see what's happening near you...or better yet...gather with folks in your own community and read along!

In MAY Lex spoke at the Caribbean Studies Association meeting in Kingston Jamaica and Lex and Julia of the BrokenBeautiful Press/Queer Renaissance MobileHomecoming Collabo attended the inaugural visioning session of the Caribbean Region component of the International Research Network, a clearing house for LGBTQQI activists, artists, scholars and community organizations in the Caribbean!

speaking @ csa

In JUNE the hotness of the annual Gemini Jam (replete with Gemini juice and love message posters and the sweet sounds of DJ Superfree) popped off in Atlanta.

gemini jam

And THEN Lex went to the AMAZING Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University in Virginia and had the honor of celebrating Lucille Clifton's birthday and her amazing body of poetry with some amazing poets and teachers (including Nikky Finney and Akasha Hull! AND in a very BrokenBeautiful way...her chosen family and community paid for her to go! Here is a link to the thank you video!

furious flower with lucille

In JULY BrokenBeautiful Press was all over the Allied Media Conference in Detroit!

Alisa shows us what's up! Julia teaches livestream!

Shawty got Skills2Share was a space created by our beloved Cyberquilting Crew that encouraged Women of Color to learn skills from each other, from digital social networking, to quilting to video livestreaming to urban foraging.

lex working it out1lex workin it out2strategize

The Cyberquilting/SPEAK/INCITE: Radical Women of Color Media Strategy Session was the jumpoff of a year of collaborativeworld changing initiatives (like the above mentioned LOVE HARDER) about to pop off in your local and cyber community!

See more pics from the AMC (taken by Moya Bailey) here!

In AUGUST the education working group of Bull City (Durham) Affiliate of Southerners on New Ground and the Queer Collective took an idea from Lex's kitchen table to the streets and created a grassroots guerilla film festival focusing on Queer People of Color in just over a week! Imagine Born in Flames, Paris is Burning and Flag Wars projected large as life on a wall in downtown Durham y'all! The fest also featured Lex's short video "So You Know" about black queer publishing!



And just now over Labor Day Weekend was the delicious delectable Queerky Black Girls Cookout in the middle of the Black Pride Exuberance!

queerky cookoutqueerky cookout 2

in short...BEST SUMMER EVER!!!!!

also feel free to share amazing videos and pictures from your transformative summer. Email links and pics to brokenbeautifulpress@gmail.com and we'll post them here!

Happy to be falling in love with you all over again!

love,

lex