Spotlight: Locked Horn Press (part 5 of 8)


Grady DL HeadshotColdfront is featuring responses from Locked Horn Press’ Gendered & Written: Forums on Poetics where poets respond to broad questions regarding the relationship between gender and poetics. When Grady Chambers was asked how gender influences his poetics, he replied:

I would say yes, gender does [affect poetics], in-so-far as the sex- based social structures (and their attendant social roles and expectations) that have compounded to form certain aspects of how I define myself (male, het- erosexual) seem to me to be inextricable from what I write. Much of my poetry (and likely one of its limitations) is first-person narrative accounts of my own thoughts and experiences. Therefore my gender, I suppose, is inevitably reflected in my work, though that seems to me distinct from saying it influences my work.

I would add that much of my writing pays attention to land- and city-scapes, and the histories of the geographies I’m writing about. I bring this up because it raises the question for me of whether one’s constructed gender necessarily “genders” the landscapes one describes. I suppose in some way it does, in that we select what we choose to make visible to the reader in those landscapes and their histories. However, I don’t know what that ultimately amounts to. I’ve been reading the work of the (now deceased) poet Lynda Hull lately, and feel a great affinity with the way she renders land- and city-scapes, with what she chooses to make visible, though we would, no doubt, define our genders differently.


Read Grady’s poem, “Dispatch: Bamyan, Helmand, Baghlan, Ghor, 2008” in Devil’s Lake.

Grady Chambers was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and currently lives in Syracuse, New York, where he’s an MFA candidate in poetry at Syracuse University. His poems and nonfiction have recently appeared in or are forthcoming from Ninth Letter, Devil’s Lake, The Rumpus, Tweed’s Magazine (formerly The Coffin Factory), Softblow, and elsewhere.

* Read part 4 of our spotlight here.