Author Archives: Gina Abelkop

It’s Kinda Creepy Because I Am: An Interview with Myriam Gurba

Myriam Gurba

When I read Myriam Gurba’s Painting Their Portraits in Winter last year I got that special book-soul-mate feeling that the best books give you, a sense that someone really GETS you, and the universe. Because I can never love anything without going full fangirl, I knew I had to reach out to Myriam for an interview, which– lucky you!– you get read below.

Myriam Gurba, Ms. Gurba, if you’re nasty, is a native Santa Marian. She attended U.C. Berkeley thanks to affirmative action. She is the author of two short story collections, Dahlia Season and Painting Their Portraits in Winter. Dahlia Season won the Edmund White Award, which is given to queer writers for outstanding debut fiction. The book was also shortlisted for a Lambda Literary Award. Gurba is also the author of two poetry collections, Wish You Were Me and Sweatsuits of the Damned. She has toured North America twice with avant-garde literary and performance troupe Sister Spit. Gurba’s other writing can be found in places such as Entropy.com, TIME.com, and Lesfigues.com. She creates digital and photographic art that has been exhibited at galleries and museums.

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Gina Abelkop: My first question has to be about one of my favorite things about your writing: your sense of humor. It’s silly, smart, biting, and joyful even in stories and poems that are emotionally taut. How and on what teeth was this sense of humor cut? Who are some of your favorite humorists and what is it that you love about their humor and/or work?

Myriam Gurba: My sense of humor was primarily sculpted by the sickest people I know: HELLO MOM AND DAD. My dad likes to joke about the horrific, like free-range children and customer service, and by example, he taught me that these are the things you are supposed to laugh about. My mom is different. She’s more elf than human. She doesn’t say funny things; she says things funny. For example, she’ll tell a story about getting into a car accident but she’ll refer to her car as her mystique since she actually drives a Mercury Mystique and her story will take on this exciting, Daliesque quality because imagine a normal conversation about a car accident but replace the word car with mystique. My parents, however, aren’t into queef jokes. In fact, I’m not even sure they could name a queef though I’m certain they’re familiar with the sound. In high school, I was socially attracted to girls who got accused of being unfeminine since they were funny and gross and so they shaped me, too. Boys accused me of not being feminine and of having too big of lips. My favorite funny people are people I know. My boyfriend makes me giggle. When I have low blood sugar and am surrounded by whites, everything gets hilarious. I appreciate humor that is gross, goofy, self-conscious, and, above all, humiliating. As far as publicly funny people go, I like Carol Burnett, Gilda Radner, Cardi B, Kristen Wiig pretending to be Bjork, Peter Sellers, Cheech Marin, Chris Rock and angry teenagers.

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Best of 2015: Top 10 Feminist Zines, Chapbooks & Blogs

In no particular order:

Tinkypuss

  1. Tinkypuss: my favorite local feminist fashion line has its own zine! With writing from Athens’ feminists on music, identity, music, poetry, and more, this dreamy zine makes me feel warm and fuzzy about my (relatively new) hometown.

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Framed in the Right Kind of Light: An Interview with Poet Carrie Murphy

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Photo by Sarah Perry Photography

I’ve known Carrie Murphy since 2011, when my DIY feminist press Birds of Lace published her chapbook Meet the Lavenders. Through Twitter we became online pals who shot the shit on everything from television to poetry to fashion, and eventually ended up on a short poetry tour together in 2012. This fall marks the release of her second collection of poetry, Fat Daisies (Big Lucks 2015), a whipsmart collection that interrogates white privilege, late capitalist consumerism, waste, and the gaping void of modernity—with wry humor, non-didactic feminism, and firm sincerity, natch. You can read two poems from the collection here; you can also take a selfie with Fat Daisies and enter to win a massage, a box of beauty/self-care supplies, and a copy of her first book Pretty Tilt!

I interviewed Murphy about Fat Daisies and her poetry in general: how to be a feeling, living person in this world that seems to turn every living thing into a consumable commodity.

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Gina Abelkop: Where did Fat Daisies begin: did it begin to emerge during the writing/editing of your previous book, Pretty Tilt, or sometime else entirely?

Carrie Murphy: I started writing these poems during National Poetry Month in 2012. I was doing a poem-a-day to get myself writing again, living in a tiny apartment in Alexandria, VA, functionally unemployed, and basically miserable. Continue reading

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Grassroots & Glitter: An Interview with Tinkypuss’s Prosper Hedges

Tinkypuss has become a little flag I notice around Athens, Georgia: when I see someone wearing theirs I give a silent nod of acknowledgement. I see you, feminists! Founded this year by local jill-of-all-trades Prosper Hedges, Tinkypuss is “a for-profit feminist fashion house partnering with nonprofit women’s organizations.” This past spring, for the launch of the line, Hedges partnered Tinkypuss with the Georgia Reproductive Justice Access Network, a grassroots organization that “promotes and support reproductive justice in the Southeastern United States,” doing everything from helping women get to their closest clinic (sometimes 12 hours away) to assisting with the costs of abortion.

For this summer’s new line, “Transparency,” Tinkypuss has partnered with Atlanta’s Feminist Women’s Health Center and their Trans Health Initiative. I interviewed Prosper about Tinkypuss, its accompanying zine, fashion, activism, feminism in the South and more.

Hedges in Summer '15 Tinkypuss (Photo by Avery's Lightwork Photography)

Hedges in Summer ’15 Tinkypuss (Photo by Avery’s Lightwork Photography)

Gina Abelkop: How did Tinkypuss get its start? Did you know from the beginning that you wanted to partner with feminist non-profits? What were your first partners, and how/why did you choose them?

Prosper Hedges: It started as an attempt to reconcile the gendered marketing that infiltrated my childhood with feminism. Continue reading

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