The women’s suffrage movement allowed women to re-examine, question, and begin to systematically rebel against the many restrictions they had lived under for centuries—including oppressive gender and sexual norms.
“I try to imagine being with Charlotte Mew on March 24, 1928, the day she killed herself. Let me befriend her. Let me do and say things to ease her pain and save her.
“I’m a lesbian poet from the year 2020, Charlotte, who adores your poems, how they transform your torment into art.
“If I couldn’t save Mew on that day in 1928, perhaps I could save her poems.”
Coming out doesn’t make you at home in the world; nor, certainly, does sex. You need bonds beyond sex: a community, a culture, a shared set of obsessions. “Love on the March,” Alex Ross, The New Yorker 11/12/12 When I was a young lesbian in rural New Jersey in the ‘70s, I was completely lost […]
“I believe in us. I believe in you. I believe in myself. While, I don’t know how, and I don’t know when; I know—just like my ancestors knew—that we will find a way through: as long as we remember who we are and what we are capable of.”
Do we read poems searching for answers? Do we write poems searching for answers? In the case of Naomi Replansky, yes and yes.
“Ask yourself: What does it take to become a really trustworthy person? The honest answer to that will change you. And this cannot be done at the exclusion of getting into the streets. We fooled ourselves into thinking it was one or the other. We must become a revolutionary person.”
Vi Khi Nao is a prolific, prize-winning author working in poetry, fiction, film and cross-genre collaboration.We talked about her two “sapphic” books—The Vanishing Point of Desire and Swans in Half-Mourning—and, knowing she’d give me brilliant answers, I also asked her two questions almost impossible to answer.
Learning is a reciprocal, life-long process. Elders learn from young people who bring new experiences and new knowledges to us all. Learning is multifaceted and continuous; all of us at every different age learn together and from one another.
There is a lineage. Let their names be sung and recited over and over again. Let the change they strived for be named. These change-makers were my sisters, my friends, my chosen family and my support system. We were responsible for changing the nation’s sentiments about undocumented migrant young people. We amplified our narratives and forever shifted migration discourse even if we weren’t held up publicly. We did the work to claim our lives.
Sinister Wisdom’s newest Sapphic Classic, A Generous Spirit: Selected Work by Beth Brant, releases into the world today. All of the Sapphic Classics are special to me, but this one repays an important debt from my youth.