White Space, Banana Ketchup & Karaoke: A Review of Kimberly Alidio’s After projects the resound


I was introduced to Kimberly Alidio at Effie Street in Silverlake, Los Angeles, at a quaint reading in the backyard of a professor’s house. I was intrigued by the book Alidio held in her hands—a sky blue volume with a longhaired figure on all fours, seemingly ingesting or expelling pink and orange confetti. Soon I was even more jarred and enthralled by the pieces she read aloud, poems speaking, stuttering, and singing about empire, migration, diaspora, and queerness—subjects I had become familiar with as a queer Filipina American and budding academic. After projects the resound (Black Radish) does not only interrogate these concepts, but transforms them, remakes them, and melds them through reverberating word play, experiments with sound, and even through the strategic use of white space. The final stanza in “All the Pinays are straight, all the queers are Pinoy, but some of us” demonstrates this:

                                                                      I will never not 

want to be violent with you (dare you to say 

this isn’t love, queen)

pray for

her resurrection every easter


“I’m just so bored and so pretty and not white” (66)

Although you may need to take a second to comprehend what is occurring, the sleek alliteration of the “w” and “n” sounds in the first two lines allows the poem to roll off your tongue, a slow, accentuated, but nevertheless pleasurable foray into the complexities and obscurities of Pinxy queerness. The enjambments, line breaks, and spaces in between help anchor and pace the reader, allowing us to appreciate the various intonations of sound. These rhetorical, sonic, and spatial devices showed me that I did not need the convenience of clarity to enjoy and appreciate Alidio’s work. Her delightfully playful and musical words and sounds, for me, emulate the witty banter between Pinxys as we process the intersections of Catholicism, queerness, and brownness together in conversation. Continue reading

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Rah! Rah! Roundup

rah rah roundup“[T]o condemn the uprising in Charlotte would be to condemn a man for thrashing when someone is trying to drown him.” 

Self Care in the Multiracial Movement for Black Lives.

The Black Lives Matter Fall 2016 Syllabus.

Learning from Trans Poets” is starting soon at The Poetry Project. 

“[W]omen are going to rule the 2016-17 art season.”

A Queer Historical Tour of San Francisco’s Mission district.

On how women created book clubs.

Submit to Monstering, a new literary and cultural arts magazine, written by and for disabled women and nonbinary people.

The new issue of Neplanta is here, featuring work by June Jordan, Tommy Pico, Erika L Sanchez, and more.

[T]here’s a chance that when you are writing about personal vulnerabilities, you are not alone.” – Read an interview with Rios de la Luz.

What did we miss this week? Let us know in the comments.

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Identity is a Fickle Thing: An Interview with Marisa Silver

A child is born in an unknown country and two things are immediately noticed: The girl, named Pavla by her parents, is both beautiful and her growth is absolutely stunted. So begins Marisa Silver’s magical new novel, Little Nothing, which traces Pavla’s transformations from a young girl with dwarfism to a beautiful non-dwarf teenager, and finally, into a wolf. The story bursts with magic, with the longing to discover identity, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, a forbidden love between Pavla the wolf and the man who protects her. I spoke to author Silver about this new novel, so read on to reveal more of the magic:


Kati Heng: Is there a metaphor hiding inside Pavla’s transformations from dwarf to beauty to wolf?

Marisa Silver: When I wrote the book, I avoided thinking about what it meant. I know that’s probably an odd thing to say, but if I decide in advance what a novel is supposed to be about, what its big themes are, then the resulting work will not find its way towards surprise. I just put my head down and write characters and try to make their actions and behaviors true for them during any given emotional moment or situation.

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Rah! Rah! Roundup

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An  open call for women  from Yoko Ono.

We’re obsessed with this ode to brown girls everywhere.

Shak’ar Mujukian writes about class privilege and the “Queer Poor Aesthetic.”

Flavorwire launches a new Jane Austen column. Continue reading

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FROM THE STACKS: The Honesty of Jean Rhys

From the Stacks is a new series on Weird Sister wherein we pull a book—old, new, or anything in between—from our bookshelves, and write something about it.


The Collected Novels of Jean Rhys

The Collected Novels of Jean Rhys #feministshelfie

I recently had a conversation with a man about Bukowski. Had I read much Bukowski? I said I’ve avoided a lot of the bro-writers: Bukowski, Burroughs, Miller, Kerouac (though I’ve come to love Kerouac). He said, Yeah, those guys are great writers, but, you know, they’re not really great toward women.

It’s not surprising we have a whole genre of literature by men who disrespect, objectify, reduce, and silence women. A more interesting question is, who are the women—especially the early women writers—of whom we might say the same: they aren’t really great toward men, you know, but they’re still worth reading.

I posed this question to a brilliant poet friend, who responded that while male writers are often being sexist when they write about women, women are often being honest. So the comparison doesn’t really work, she said, laughing. She then made some contemporary suggestions: Dodie Bellamy. Kathy Acker. Rebecca Solnit.

But what about going further back into the archives?

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Between Memory and Forgetting: An Interview with Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes

Photograph by Brittainy Lauback

Photograph by Brittainy Lauback

I’m lucky to have known Gabrille Lucille Fuentes for several years now– we both live in Athens, GA and attend the same PhD program, and we co-curate a reading series together at our local indie bookstore. The first time I got to hear Gabrielle read her work aloud I was spellbound– not only was her prose riveting, but her ability to embody the work as she read it made for a thrilling listening experience. I knew she was a serious workhorse when it came to writing– working on several novels at once, and more diligently than most writers I know– and brilliant to boot, so it would only be a matter of time before her work began to enter world as books. Fuentes’ first novel, The Sleeping World, is out tomorrow (9/13) from Simon & Schuster/Touchstone, and it is ferocious, a book hot with searching and loss, tension thrumming constantly at the periphery. Per the jacket copy:

“Casasrojas, Spain, 1977. Military rule is over. Bootleg punk music oozes out of illegal basement bars and fascists fight anarchists for political control. Students perform protest art in the city center, rioting against the old government, the undecided new order, against the university, against themselves. At the center is Mosca, an intelligent, disillusioned university student, whose younger brother is among ‘the disappeared,’ kidnapped by fascist police, missing for two years, and presumed dead. Spurred by the turmoil around them, Mosca and her friends carry their rebellion too far and a violent act sends them spiraling out of their provincial hometown. But the further they go, the more Mosca believes her brother is alive and the more she is willing to do anything to find him.”

You can feel this novel in your bones– when the characters are sore and tired, sweatily roaming through Spain and France, your body meets the book in feeling. I was excited to ask Fuentes some questions about her writing process, the seeds of the book, and much more.

Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes is a writer and teacher. Her first novel, The Sleeping World, will be published by Touchstone  (Simon & Schuster) in 2016.  She has received fellowships from Yaddo and Blue Mountain Arts Center and was a Bernard O’Keefe Scholar in Fiction at Bread Loaf. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in One Story, Slice, Pank, The Collagist, Tweed’s, NANO Fiction, Western Humanities Review, The YokeSpringGun, and elsewhere.

* * *

Gina Abelkop: What and when were the first seeds of this novel planted? Where were you living? Did it begin with a plot, character, or an emotional impluse?

Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes: Song lyrics often start stories for me. I’ll become obsessed with a song—especially one with a scrap of narrative and want to enter into the world of the song through my writing. Or the song will provide entry into a world I’ve carried but didn’t yet have access to. The Sleeping World began as a short story I wrote while listening to The National’s song “Runaway.” I was living in Boulder, Colorado and had just started my MFA. Boulder is a surreal town—it’s surrounded by gorgeous mountains but the town itself like a play-land created by Patagonia and Disney. Very new, very expensive, very white. The initial story came quickly, transported by a few of the lyrics. I wanted to communicate a tension between forgetting and memory, and when I went back to the story, I found that I was writing my own, despite the distance between me and the narrative. My brother had recently passed away and writing was a way for me to grieve, to speak to the dead and carry him with me in the living world.

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Rah! Rah! Roundup

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Back-to-school beatitudes from the Crunk Feminist Collective.

Cosmo on RADAR’s pioneering Drag Queen Story Hour.

Submissions are open for an expanded print edition of An Anthology of Fiction by Trans Women of Color.

Oh hey, it’s the best writing group everContinue reading

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We Were There: Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter at The New Museum

Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter
Thursday, September 1st, 2016
The New Museum, New York City

Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter


At 6pm there was a line coming out of The New Museum that went down Bowery and Stanton nearly meeting Chrystie. We were here to see the one-night pop-up event Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter (BWAforBLM). As part of her residency, artist Simone Leigh invited BWAforBLM, a collective she organized this past July, for an evening of solidarity.


We were all in line waiting to see Black women artists. We were essentially waiting for them.

Through September 18th, Leigh is exhibiting The Waiting Room, a statement and response to what institutions do to the female Black body. She honors Esmin Elizabeth Green who died after lingering for 24 hours in a hospital waiting room.

“Obedience is one of the main threats to black women’s health; it was a survival mechanism that Green waited 24 hours before collapsing,” says Leigh. “What happened to Green is an example of the lack of empathy people have towards the pain of black women.”

For her exhibit, Leigh centralizes the care of the body, and asserts disobedience as a form of self-determination. There are stations for healing and time for healers.

Waiting or not waiting is a form of privilege choosing. I saw the waiting of us, the diverse formation of folks standing in line, as a kind of belated honor to Black women artists. As I stood with friends, young people of color who work in museums, there was a patience in the statement our collective waiting body said to institutions of art that evening, We value Black women, the bodies and spaces they inhabit, and the art they create. Give them your time, space, and attention. Continue reading


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Women Working: 10 Poems for Labor Day

women working poems for labor day
Everyone’s last chance to soak up the end of summer, Labor Day is also, of course, a day recognizing workers. Take a break from the sun to read these great poems about women working—in the fields, in the home, in the office and beyond.


Woman Work – Maya Angelou

I’ve got the children to tend
The clothes to mend
The floor to mop
The food to shop
Then the chicken to fry
The baby to dry
I got company to feed
The garden to weed
I’ve got shirts to press
The tots to dress
The can to be cut
I gotta clean up this hut
Then see about the sick
And the cotton to pick.

Shine on me, sunshine
Rain on me, rain
Fall softly, dewdrops
And cool my brow again.

Storm, blow me from here
With your fiercest wind
Let me float across the sky
‘Til I can rest again.

Fall gently, snowflakes
Cover me with white
Cold icy kisses and
Let me rest tonight.

Sun, rain, curving sky
Mountain, oceans, leaf and stone
Star shine, moon glow
You’re all that I can call my own.

(And Still I Rise. Random House in 1978)


The Common Women Poems, II. Ella, in a square apron, along Highway 80 – Judy Grahn

She’s a copperheaded waitress,
tired and sharp-worded, she hides
her bad brown tooth behind a wicked
smile, and flicks her ass
out of habit, to fend off the pass
that passes for affection.
She keeps her mind the way men
keep a knife—keen to strip the game
down to her size. She has a thin spine,
swallows her eggs cold, and tells lies.
She slaps a wet rag at the truck drivers
if they should complain. She understands
the necessity for pain, turns away
the smaller tips, out of pride, and
keeps a flask under the counter. Once,
she shot a lover who misused her child.
Before she got out of jail, the courts had pounced
and given the child away. Like some isolated lake,
her flat blue eyes take care of their own stark
bottoms. Her hands are nervous, curled, ready
to scrape.
The common woman is as common

as a rattlesnake.

(New & Selected Poems (1966-2006). Red Hen Press, 2008)


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The NYC’s Mayor’s Office launched a #SupportNotShame campaign:


Read how Snapchat is giving a voice to survivors of sexual assault in India.

You want to know how to talk to a woman who’s wearing headphones? YOU DON’T.

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