Spotlight: Locked Horn Press (part 1of 8)
When the editors of Locked Horn Press asked me to participate in their double anthologies, I thought: YES. I thought: This is important and necessary. But I struggled to pin these questions down in answers.
And so I cheated. I wrote obliquely, choosing to speak specifically of how I attempt to address gender in specific collections or pieces. I couldn’t make a grand statement on gender and my poetics. For me, gender is shadow and mirror; absorption, refraction and light scattering.
Locked Horn Press does not use the term “feminist” in their introduction to Gendered and Written, though their contributors do. I too consider quite seriously the methods and goals of intersectional feminist engagement when considering my own poetics. When I do this, I recognize the temptation to mark determinations.
Perhaps because poetry is so underresourced, we find ourselves cordoning off territory. I know I cannot produce the perfect feminist work. I am an imperfect feminist. I am interested in work that acknowledges its implication within the oppressive systems at play and takes the opportunity to explore its implication, to examine this relationship of implication and defiance, without shutting down the conversation. This work does not proclaim immunity from the reach of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy (thank you bell hooks), but rather acknowledges and works through its own potential for perpetuating it. Because yes, the interplay of privilege and oppression pervasively and geometrically maps onto our lived lives, but no mathematical function, equation or ratio exists to accurately chart it.
Because my lived contemporary life is this old story: being asked: “What’s your nationality?” despite my previous response of “I was born and raised in the States” to the question of “Where are you from?” Being asked: “But where are your parents from?” Being told: “I just love your people.” I write this story not because it’s new or rare, but because it is the opposite of new
Because my body tenses up when I am asked “Where are you from?” Because I have to set up roadblocks to prevent being cast into an exotic role, and even when I do, I fail. Because in my lived life, in my privileges and in my frustrations, my class, gender and sexuality cannot be disentangled from my race and my nationality. Because privilege and oppression and what lies between do not operate solely on the extreme edges of bigotry, hatred, and violence.
Locked Horn’s twin collections show undeniable relationships between gender and written language. I am still often, usually, unable to find the exact language to express exactly their interaction and intersection. And so I value most highly the diversity in the collections, which offer a prismatic presentation of how gender manifests and ruptures through (in? within? despite?) written language for each artist represented.
As I read through Gendered and Written, as I nod, agree, reconsider, underline and think “YES!,” I am incredibly grateful to have the language of so many other talented, thoughtful and brilliant writers who are also working through matrices of gender, race, sexuality, personal and shared history—for those all times when my language fails.
by the editors of Locked Horns Press
Locked Horn Press is a multi-genre publisher founded upon the idea that any space in which conflict exists is an opportunity for new discovery and conversation. We strive to publish creative and scholarly work that provokes, inspires, and sparks not only excellent writing, but also dialogue about contemporary issues in literature. Locked Horn publishes works that are designed to speak to one another. Interweaving the creative and the critical, these collections will provide space for writers and readers to engage the various and persistent conflicts that surround us. Even as each text will stand alone, our hope is that in presenting two interacting texts, our projects can inspire further conversation about the state of contemporary literature and our world.
Locked Horn Press just released two collections: Read Women: An Anthology of 32 female/genderqueer/transgender writers, and Gendered & Written: Forums on Poetics where writers responded to four broad questions on the relationship between gender and poetics. The following posts will feature various poets’ responses from Gendered & Written.
Both collections are available for purchase now by visiting lockedhornpress.org.
Hari M. Alluri is a poet, editor and community facilitator. A VONA/Voices alum, his work appears or will appear in the following journals and anthologies, among others: Cutthroat, Chautauqua, Dismantle (Thread Makes Blanket), Kweli and Poetry International. Hari’s first book – Carving Ashes – is published by CiCAC Press.
Katie Fagan hails from New England despite the fact that she calls Southern California home. She is a founding editor of Locked Horn Press, HINGED Journal, and is a contributing editor for Poetry International. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry International and Blast Furnace. She also teaches Creative Writing at San Diego State University.
Amanda Fuller is a poet, translator, editor, teacher and a founding editor of Locked Horn Press. She previously served as contributing editor and assistant designer for Poetry International.
Carolann Madden holds an MA in English from Boston College, an MFA in Poetry from San Diego State University, and is an alumna of the Seamus Heaney Centre’s Poetry Summer School at Queen’s University, Belfast. Her work has most recently appeared in Town Creek Poetry, Cactus Heart, and she has contributed to the forthcoming book, Women in Clothes (Penguin, 2014). She is currently working on translating the poetry of Irish language poet, Aíne Ní Ghlinn.
Carly Joy Miller is a SoCal native through and through. She is the assistant managing editor for the Los Angeles Review, a contributing editor for Poetry International, and a founding editor of Locked Horn Press. She is also the co-curator of the reading series, The Brewyard. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Vinyl, Tupelo Quarterly, Midwestern Gothic, Four Chambers Press, Blast Furnace, Baseline Magazine, and Web del Sol Review of Books.
Angela Veronica Wong is the author of how to survive a hotel fire (Coconut Books 2012). She has also authored several chapbooks, including Dear Johnny, In Your Last Letter, winner of the Poetry Society of America New York Chapbook Fellowship. Her collaborations with Amy Lawless have been anthologized in The Best American Poetry. She is on the internet at www.angelaveronicawong.com.