The Lesbian Poets of Headmistress Press: Watch Carolyn Boll and Ruth Lehrer in Duet

There are many things you don’t know about lesbian poets. The poetry establishment—major literary journals, male poets, poetry professors—cannot hear, see, recognize or value lesbian poetry. Lesbian poetry is largely ignored. Headmistress Press is determined to make a change in this status quo. In this special Ms. series, the brilliant, lively, lesbian poets of Headmistress Press are bringing you their conversations with each other, in a sort of online lesbian poetry conference. Previously, Jessica K. Hylton and Jen RouseJoy Ladin and Risa DenenbergGail Thomas and Lesléa NewmanMarissa Higgins and Samantha PiousRobin Reagler and Diane FurtneyLaura Foley and Maureen Bocka, and Freesia McKee and Farrell Greenwald Brenner conversed.

This week, Carolyn Boll interviews Ruth Lehrer about her book, Tiger Laughs When You Push, and Lehrer interviews Boll about her book Social Dance: A Book of Ballroom Poetry. Boll is from Montreal, Canada, and Lehrer lives in western Massachusetts. They met at the celebrated Forbes Library in Northampton, MA to make this video. A meandering and convivial conversation ensued complete with delicious macarons and a waltz around the grounds of Smith College.


About and

Headmistress Press publishes books of poetry by lesbians, Lesbian Poet Trading Cards and Lavender Review. Their definition of "lesbian" includes both women who identify as lesbians and people who identify with lesbians, recognizing that lesbian communities have been and continue to be informed by bi women, trans women, Two Spirit, genderqueer, gender non-comforming and non-binary people, and that many of these labels are not mutually exclusive categories. In that spirit, they welcome submissions from all poets who feel an intimate connection with the term "lesbian." They will be accepting submissions for the annual Charlotte Mew Chapbook Contest from May 4 to July 4, 2018.
Mary Meriam advocates for the right of women to love each other in their poetry and art, and strives to give their work a place at the table. She writes about and publishes such work in the journal she founded, Lavender Review, at the press she cofounded, Headmistress Press, and at Ms. magazine, The Critical Flame, and The Gay & Lesbian Review. Her poetry collections, The Countess of Flatbroke, The Poet's Zodiac, The Lillian Trilogy, and Lady of the Moon, honor a cosmos of strong, creative women. Her latest collection, My Girl's Green Jacket, was published in 2018, and her poems have appeared recently in Poetry, Prelude, Subtropics, and The Poetry Review.