Belly Song

Apr. 14th, 2007 08:25 am
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As I walked in Boston last weekend, I kept having waves of feeling about the fact that when I moved there twenty-four years ago (I was only twenty-three at the time), what I wanted with ferocious intensity was to be a serious writer. Remembering the desire of that much younger self, it moves me that being a novelist is, in fact, what I do and who I am.

In honor of both the fact and the feeling, here's "Belly Song," from my book Belly Songs (which I published with Sally Bellerose and Janet Aalfs -- we did their books, too -- and which is now selling used for $45 on Amazon.com. I've got boxes full, but am not really set up to sell them.) I wrote it in Boston, and it describes working on the fire escape that I went looking for last weekend. Writing it was also an important moment in the ongoing process of coming to love and truly be in my body. There is some explicit content.

I sit naked on a chair with my legs slightly apart. I hold my bones very straight. My belly pours, hangs, moves, grows hair, shines in marks that fall like fingers curving up around its sides.  )
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Praise for the fat old ladies.
Praise our bristles.
Praise our groaning in the morning
as we negotiate our nightgowns,
appliances and pills.

Praise the unquenchable carnality
of our coughs, full of moist depths,
and the way our mouths hang open
and our faces converge in gatherings
of ineffectual concentration
as we give another round of dominoes
our (impure? because, after all,
competititive and human) best thoughts.

We lose, of course, but play again.
The nightgown tears on the seam above the breast,
but we wear it, still, unmended,
while young women make big curls
in their hair with juice cans,
the results glossy and time-consuming,
as if the war were never over and
victory gardens were all lucky girls might sow.



Lake Buchanan, TX 2006
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Here, in response to earlier, beautiful posts by [livejournal.com profile] pitbull_poet, is a piece I wrote more than twenty years ago, after I spent a little time at a women's peace camp in Seneca Falls, New York. There are some graphic descriptions of pictures from the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing in the piece. It was first published in Sinister Wisdom.

Read more... )
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I've got a poem, "Met Roof Garden," up in the brand new issue of Lodestar Quarterly, where [livejournal.com profile] final_girl (yay!) is poetry editor.

The poem is dedicated to Thomas Struth, a German photographer, because of an exhibition of his work that was up at the Met when I wrote this. It was photos of people visiting museums and monuments.

Here are photos of Roy Lichtenstein's house sculpture, which was on the roof of the museum.

This is The Dwarf Don Diego de Acedo, "El Primo," ca. 1636–38 by Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez from the Manet/Velázquez exhibit that I had gone there to see.

I wrote the poem a year and a half ago, when I was in NYC for Jiggle-O. I got shy about length at that reading, and didn't read the prologue from Venus of Chalk, which I had meant to read and which would have been perfect for that moment, but it was a trip to city full of glistening, shimmying excitement for me: I got to spend time with great, smart, interesting world-shifting fat girls like [livejournal.com profile] beccawrites and [livejournal.com profile] bounce_n_jiggle, I saw my delicious friend Sarah Van Arsdale, I saw all of this fabulous art, did some Jonathan Edwards research, and wrote two poems that I'm very fond of. Plus, it was just a few days after that that Firebrand offered to publish my novel.

And, yeah, when things are going like that, and people audibly in my presence discuss their impression that I look like a freak, well, I just double-back to look again at the painting of The Dward Don Diego de Acedo from four hundred and thirty-odd years ago, then go up to the garden and write a poem in the sun.

Plus, Mark Doty, whose work I love, is the featured writer of this issue. His essay, "Infernal Sympathies," includes thoughts on devils, obstacles, and a strange, wonderful description of the Procession of the Ghouls at Halloween at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC!

I just read Michelle Tea's piece here, and it's really strong, too.
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I wrote a review of this ambitious book of ghost stories this winter, and it's just been put up at Strange Horizons.

Garden

Aug. 1st, 2004 07:10 am
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My fingers are scented
from pushing through marigolds
to reach tomatoes
and stripping
flowering basil of
its puckering leaves.

Water, even cattails.
Frogs, pinwheels,
numerous fish.

Birds thrash the air
on sharp paths to the sunflowers,
their seeds.

It’s a tall year for corn.

The donkey is
insisting, strenuously,
on breakfast.
The black-and-whites
arrive, panting.
You’ve been on a walk
in the woods, while I’m
taking one leaf of kale – lush
if too early – potatoes,
and sweet corn back
in a white plastic
bag to be
food for the week.

Amen, small wind.
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Can't remember if I've done this before, but it's been a while if I have. We were having a conversation about fat and economic class, so I thought I'd post an article on fat and greed that I wrote which was published in the Women's Review of Books in July 01. I'd really, really, really rather be talking about the pleasures and rigors of literature, and will go back to that soon, but when people are publishing opinions on this that I find as dangerous as the article I posted yesterday, I feel a responsibility to at least try to express some of my own.


Read more... )
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My essay Cracks has been posted at Artists Without Borders, a website for artists in all media interested in interstitial art (art that crosses the common lines of genre). I wrote it after I attended the wonderful feminist science fiction convention WisCon for the first time last year. WisCon is about to happen again, and I wish I were going to be there -- it was stimulating and unexpected in so many ways.

I posted "Cracks" here many months ago, but thought that those who've started reading since then might like to see it, and that others might like wandering around the Artists Without Borders site, where a lot of new material has been added.

If you have responses to the essay that you have time and energy to articulate here, I'm always interested.
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[livejournal.com profile] misia's review is lovely, lovely, lovely -- specific, attentive, and gorgeous. She starts with the language, the writing, which makes me feel -- sure enough -- as if magic has occurred, as if what has seemed invisible has been made visible, has been seen, acknowledged, and praised. Hard to say how much that means to me -- a lot. It'll be in the summer issue of Bitch.

My father has sent me beautiful letter about the book, in an envelope also stuffed with his account of the early roads of their county in Texas, complete with Polaroids of an old railroad underpass on the old Fort Worth line, and two former filling stations which have been converted into houses; a family history by my mom; and a bunch of newpaper clippings: a cowboy riding a bucking horse at the annual rodeo at the junior college across the street from their house, an ad for a Willie Nelson concert (he'd shaved his beard), and a bunch of articles about the poor officiating at the end of the last game of the season by the Baylor Lady Bears basketball team. Hard to imagine anything better.

And here's an old poem of mine for fat girls and also for anyone willing to take the sweet, reckless leap to identify with a fat girl:

A Practical Guide to Successful Living

Fat girls let your shirts ride up
Lie down on the cold spring dirt
and get mud on your fat backs.
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The new Lodestar Quarterly is up today!

This is quite a good online zine of queer writing, and it's got two pieces by me in it: an excerpt from my new novel, and a very short piece that is part of the early work for the novel afther that. If you're interested, just scroll down the page to find the links to my work. Daphne Gottlieb,[livejournal.com profile] final_girl is the poetry editor, and she's fabulous. It was the fiction editor, Aaron Jason, who asked me for work, though. He'd seen an earlier excerpt from the novel in Blithe House Quarterly.

The Lodestar editors entice people to my stories by saying, "Slow, easy rides -- and those stupendous details along the way." I love this -- love it so much when folks praise the details in my work, because those sharp, expressive specifics of life excite and please me every day. It's one of the good things about being so slow.
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Whooohooo! I love it when things start rolling! Just heard that Lodestar Quarterly, "an online journal of the finest gay, lesbian, and queer literature" is going to publish an excerpt from Venus of Chalk in their December issue. Plus another piece of short fiction that's part of my work on the novel after THAT! I'll let you know when it's out, but if you want to check out the magazine in the meantime, it's

Yay.

PS I just posted this to the Curve message board, too, so if you're one of my friends from there, apologies for the repetition (although I just heard a theory the puritan preacher Jonathan Edwards based the repetition in his sermons on scientific insights from Newton's Opticks. Hmm, that's probably not a passable explanation in this case, though.)

Rave Review

Oct. 3rd, 2003 08:35 am
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What Love Is
Moon Creek Road: collected stories by Elana Dykewomon,

(Spinsters Ink Books, Denver, Colorado: 2003. 229 pages. $14)

This review will appear in The Journal of Lesbian Studies in 2005, but I wanted folks to be able to read it now.


The stories in Moon Creek Road are full of light, deft strokes of language as apparently casual and irrevocably thrilling as the way some brilliant young women’s arms might brush against each other as one teaches the other to play the piano. Panoramic ambitions are common here, most often appearing as memories whose grip on the present is unclear, made lush with the pleasures of women enjoying each other’s seriousness and recounted with a delicious mix of wryness and devotion. The depth and resonance of this work rests on two things: Dykewomon’s subversive explorations of the nature of love, and her willingness to unobtrusively press against a moment until it yields all of its terror and delight.

Read more... )

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