Writing Resistance: An Interview Chain

Featuring the voices of:

Grace Bauer, Rebecca Foust, Therése Halscheid, Christina Lovin, and Laura Madeline Wiseman


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How does writing about gender violence resist and disobey current cultural narratives about violence against women? How does poetry disobey conventional ways of telling stories about gender?

Grace Bauer: I think there are some people who would prefer to keep stories about violence (against women, against children, against disempowered groups of people) out of the main stream of cultural discussion, under wraps, in the closet where these stories won’t upset our comfortable notions about ourselves – our “it can’t happen here” illusions of safety.  But, of course, it can -- and does happen -- here, there, and everywhere, and not talking about it can become a kind of complicity. Writing about violence – or any of the things that disturb our comfort -- is a refusal to comply. An insistence on speaking about the unspeakable. So is writing about any of those personal truths/observations that contradict the so-called (over-rated and often just wrong) “normal.”

Rebecca Foust: I think of it as poetry of witness and as a sort of “calling out”—as these stories are disseminated more widely, they will, hopefully, do a few things: first, inform victims that they are not alone and encourage them to raise their own voices in resistance and protest; second, let the perpetrators know that when they inflict violence, it will be exposed; and third, help build a culture in which such violence is less and less tolerated so that bystanders will be moved to intervene to prevent more violence. Or, at least will not be passively complicit because, as we know from bullying research, this kind of violence never takes place in a social vacuum, without “enablers.”

Christina Lovin: Even discussing violence against women has always been in a whisper. Until victims started fighting back with words and litigation, many women suffered in silence. Still today, it seems that the whole discussion relating to gender violence is one that the general public does not want to hear. Just read the comments posted anonymously on any victim’s Facebook page or news item. The blaming continues: “Why were you wearing that?” “Why didn’t you leave sooner?” “Maybe she got what she deserved.”

Writing about these issues allows both the victim and the writer (who are often the same) free herself through language, even in the face of blame. Even in the face of misunderstanding and misogyny. A poet friend recently wrote a very brave piece about being sexually assaulted by a somewhat famous male writer. Even as a woman, it was hard for me to read and fully grasp the depth of degradation and deceit she had experienced. The experience demanded to be shared, however, regardless of the discomfort it created for the reader.

Poetry in particular seems to have a method to tell these stories (and others difficult to tell) in narrative fashion. Like paintings of terrible events, poetry makes the reader/listener come face to face with the violence. There is an immediacy not available through narrative prose.

Laura Madeline Wiseman: One poem that I admire from Women Write Resistance that does the work of resisting and disobeying gender violence is Monica Wendel’s poem “Sexual Assault Awareness Week,” a found poem that offers opportunities to consider discourses around gender violence. Her poem explores campaigns to raise awareness on rape and sexual assault, narratives about who is responsible for preventing violence against women, and the limitations of survival strategies offered to women and girls as they negotiate public spaces. The collage aspect of Wendel’s found quotations creates a chorus of voices that seek together to reframe assumptions behind rape whistles, walking home in pairs, checklists, and reminder signs to dissuade certain types of behavior, but rather than simply reiterate these creative suggestions to a cultural problem of gender violence, the poem asks the potential perpetrators of such acts to be responsible for insuring a sexual assault doesn’t occur. Her poem asks men to be responsible for men’s violence against women, disobeying conventional discourses that ask women to stop the violence inflicted upon them. I admire such a bold move of resistance because it refocuses the attention of gender violence on those who enact it. Too often in the media the question that is raised when violence against women is discussed, is “Why doesn’t she just leave?” which perpetuates a victim-blaming culture rather than considering the larger social narratives that make such violence possible.

Therése Halscheid: In response to the first question, I want to stray off topic to consider how gender violence stories and cultural narratives actually assist each other. A narrative that speaks to a violent act against a woman or group of women because of the culture in which they live, actually has the ability to move beyond a particular area or belief system, and resonate for women anywhere on the globe. Likewise, writing about gender violence can inform a woman in a suppressed environment, and work like an outstretched hand. And so I see a focused narrative (a cultural narrative) as a powerful way to exemplify gender issues. We learn so much from personal histories, and they move us. One tale has the ability to affect the masses. And I think writings that address gender violence serve as a strong voice for individuals, a lifeline for those who cannot yet speak.

In terms of the second question, I believe a poem disobeys conventional story telling in that it gives voice to the writer’s thoughts, but is not bound to common speech. Poetry is an art form, a force that relies on potent language. Its message resonates by way of poetic elements: images and precision, cadence and line breaks, and even by way of white space on the page that serves as a silent pause. Read aloud, a poem’s message transfers to others and lives inside them long after the last line is read. The voice of a poem can be the writer’s, but it speaks somewhat differently, as if risen out from some interior chamber. Perhaps it is the voice of the soul or the subconscious. A poem’s message can be given over to metaphor; it can speak on obvious and mysterious levels. It can be myth-like when imparting truth. It can take on the voice of someone other than the writer. In a poem, the writer’s message is both revealed and concealed. Whatever a poem is, it is on purpose – each word, each punctuation mark. I like the lines of Mary Oliver in her poem “Snapshots” when she writes: These are not just words talking. This is my life, thinking of the darkness to follow.

What are the differences between poetics of disobedience and poetics of resistance?

TH: Inspired by Alice Notley’s essay “The Poetics of Disobedience,” it seems that poetic disobedience has to do with a writer defying the ways in which she has been conditioned to think about things, a breaking out of constructs that have for years informed her, in order to search for truth and find the right words for new revelations … knowing well that our deepest understandings are ineffable and to give them over to language is to narrow their scope in the end. Poetics of disobedience are those poems that are paradigm shifters, they challenge old ideas or suggest new ways of being/thinking that seem enticing, exuberating, marginal, risky, absurd.

Poetics of resistance, I think, is poetry with a cause, a kind of activism to affect change. It is poetry that exposes situations and addresses circumstances that are unacceptable or demand our attention in some way – but the purpose can be somewhat different than poetics of disobedience. Different in the sense that poetics of disobedience is more about the self. The writer is striving to break out of herself, in order to find her true self or what is true about herself and the world around her. Poetry of resistance seems more of an outward mission, to give voice to oppression in all its many forms. When writing poems of disobedience or resistance, the topic may be the same – but intent is a distinguishing factor. One is either writing to transcend the self, or the world the self perceives.

GB: Disobedience and resistance – how to make distinctions? Maybe the former is more of an attitude, a stance -- and the latter more of an action that is based on that stance? In the Alice Notley essay you mention in question 3, she says that “learning itself is a kind of disobedience.” If we accept that assertion – and I certainly tend to do so – then maybe we can see resistance as acting on what we’ve learned. We can do that (as writers) in our writing (“the pen is mightier than the sword,” as they say), but also in other ways we act in the world.

RF: Disobedience is more passive and personal, I guess. To me, resistance implies a higher level of commitment to activism, one that transcends one’s personal circumstances. In resistance, we work to actively oppose wrongs inflicted on others. In disobedience, we personally refuse to “follow the rules,” e.g. of being quiet about domestic violence and other “not nice” stuff to talk about.

CL: Disobedience seems to relate more to the act of not obeying a rule or authority. Therefore, poetry of disobedience most likely manifests itself as poetry that shines a bright light on rules, laws, or actions by government or church, and then urges the reader to either disobey those rules him or herself, or at the very least understand why the poet believes that disobeying said rules is critical. I think of Marge Piercy’s poem “Right to Life,” which was written at a time when, although abortion was legal to some extent, the government had made it illegal for women on Medicaid to receive abortions unless their lives were in danger. The whole idea disobedience against courts and churches that wanted to have control over a woman’s body is succinctly put in Piercy’s highly disobedient lines: “Priests and legislators do not hold shares/in my womb or my mind.” 

Resistance seems broader than disobedience: resistance relates more to not allowing oneself to accept the status quo or using use some sort of action to keep some undesired event or activity from happening. I am reminded of the recent abduction of hundreds of Nigerian school girls by terrorists. There is nothing disobedient for the poet to write, but poems of resistance are appropriate under the circumstances.

Poets have always been at the forefront of writing disobedience, as well as resistance. Many have died for such. Many more have been jailed. As Mary Chapin Carpenter says in her song about Tiananmen Square: “They told us not to fear them, but history tells the tale: the artists and the poets fill up every jail.”

LMW: Both poetics offer alternative narratives that are subversive and dangerous because they critique violence myths that perpetuate stereotypes that promote ignorance, logical fallacies, and fear. Such poetics do more than speak to power. They resist the abuses of power. They enable poets to claim power over experiences and stories that are frequently missing from culture at large. As they do so, these writings invite readers to think through the narratives that might otherwise be taken for granted.

In Alice Notley’s “The Poetics of Disobedience” she writes about silences in poetry, about what’s permissible. She asks, “What are we leaving out now? Usually what's exactly in front of the eyes ears nose and mouth, in front of the mind, but it seems as if one must disobey everyone else in order to see at all. This is a persistent feeling in a poet but staying alert to all the ways one is coerced into denying experience, sense and reason is a huge task,” and “It's necessary to maintain a state of disobedience against...everything.”  How does disobedience inform your poetics? How does resistance?

RF: The part of this quote that glows for me is “staying alert to all the ways one is coerced into denying experience, sense and reason” and as Notley says, it “is a huge task.” What makes it huge that coercion is so woven into the fabric of our existence that it can be impossible to see, no matter how vigilant we are. Things can seem OK just because they always have been that way. I guess we need to learn new ways of seeing, need sometimes to be woken up into our existence, and poetry is great for that. Disobedience has ALWAYS informed my poetics because . . .I am disobedient by nature. I challenge everything, as my poor, long-suffering mother would attest. One reason disobedience comes naturally is that I have always found it easier to take a stand in response to a stand already stated, rather than to come up with one from scratch. And my default response position is to question and challenge. Resistance means going further than saying “no” or refusing to do something in a specific personal situation; it means taking it public, and taking stands on issues that do not affect me personally.

TH: Disobedience: I see disobedience in the choices I’ve made in carving out a writing life. I’ve taken a different writing path by defying convention and giving up the security of a full time job and having my own place. I do this for my writing. This giving up has put me on the road. I’ve been living an itinerant lifestyle for twenty-two years. These disobedient journeys have informed my work. I’ve stepped outside societal structures to live simply as a house-sitter. My lifestyle has not always been understood, but as Frost would say of a road less traveled: that has made all the difference.

Resistance: I once heard that when there is pain, a person will move towards anger or beauty. It still fascinates me to think these are the words for the two directions, the two choices for dealing with hard issues, but I have come to understand it is true. We are either taken down or embittered by tough circumstances; or we seek beauty such as the solace one might find in the act of writing. And then there is natural beauty. My father suffered sudden brain damage when I was fourteen. He had active dementia as well as physical limitations as a result. I resisted his tragedy the first year by starving myself, a form of inward anger. I was fourteen. My way out was through the beauty of the earth, an intense closeness that developed with the woods I walked through, to and from school. Living nature continues to be a large theme in my life and in my writing, but it is not a sentimental one. I can say that poetic resistance has been not so much about being forthright in revealing family illness – as much as it has been in connecting deeply with the earth, feeling the interconnectedness that comes from exchange, noting how nature mimics human nature and vice-versa. This was my way of resisting shame. It wasn’t until this year, that I came out with a book of poems that reveals my life with my father. This body of works defies years of silence. But also, it was because of earth’s rugged beauty and what it teaches, that I could even get to this point without being destroyed.

GB: I love what Notley says about “staying alert to all the ways one is coerced into denying experience.” In fact, I’m going to tape that quote over my desk. It’s not only good advice for writers – hell, those are words to live by. A reminder to all of us to pay attention and not let others coerce us into denying what we see. If the emperor is parading around the streets naked, let’s just say so.

As for how disobedience and/or resistance inform my poetics, I’ve always had a tendency to question things that felt restrictive to me – especially when the restrictions made no sense. I was always a “girly girl” in most ways, but from the time I was a kid, I bristled anytime someone said I couldn’t, or shouldn’t, do something just because I was a girl. It wasn’t so much a conscious decision; just my innate inclination to be ornery. So when I started writing poems, that attitude naturally made its way into the writing. My first full-length book, The Women At The Well, is a series of persona poems based on women from the Bible – revisioning the original stories from the women’s points of view. In some ways, I think that book probably began in my head somewhere around the second grade in Catholic school. In Beholding Eye, a book of ekphrastic poems, I explore images of women in the visual arts, and the challenges of being a woman artist. In my other two books, Retreats & Recognitions and Nowhere All At Once, that kind of questioning is more intermittent, but ultimately, I guess I’d say I’m a woman poet and often sound like one. That’s a brag; not an apology.

CL: I suppose the most noticeable way in which my poetry relates to disobedience and/or resistance is that I often write about personal struggles, whether my own or those of someone in my family. My oldest brother killed his new wife when I was just a toddler (he was acquitted). It was a family secret that I knew little about until I was an adult and began questioning and doing some research on my own. Although it seems popular to write about family sorrows and horrors, for me it has been very difficult to write about murder, abuse, molestation, and other issues that, in my family, were only whispered about in the dark. Writing about those things is, in fact, an act of disobedience for me. I loved the people involved, but yet I want to tell the truth. I have to become the disobedient child/sister/aunt to put down on paper what really happened. I’ve been told I should write my memoir. My response: “A few more people have to pass before I can do that.”

As for resistance, I feel that history tells us what has been right and what has been wrong. Much of my writing is more cautionary, and often relates (as my book ECHO does) to stories from the past that are true, and serve as warnings to those who read them today. I fear, however, that each new generation of women seem to have to learn the hard facts of life all over again.

I’m struck by Notley’s line “it seems as if one must disobey everyone else in order to see at all.” Last summer as I was writing Some Fatal Effects of Curiosity and Disobedience, my poetry collection that is a retelling of the bluebeard myth from the perspective of his wives, I did extensive research on the versions of the story, the plots offered, and the variations, including the ways the bluebeard story is told today, in news accounts of men who murder multiple women, in literature, and in film such as  the 1972 American version of Bluebeard with Richard Burton and Raquel Welch. I’m interested in plot, in the plots we’re given as women, as girls, as wives, as professionals, as writers. Plots such as the marriage plot, the higher education plot, and the career plot, are plots we resist (or not) even as we measure ourselves (consciously or not)  against them. There are other plots about gender violence that we might resist by our disobedience and one of those plots is one that I addressed in my women’s study class this spring.

I taught Women’s and Gender Studies 101 this spring and assigned the text The Kaleidoscope of Gender. Early on, we read the Christine Helliwell’s “‘It’s Only a Penis’: Rape, Feminism, and Difference,” an essay that explores her anthropological research on the Gerai of Indonesia, a cultural group in which rape doesn’t exist. Her essay documents an incident that she mistakenly assumed was attempted rape, but upon further study of the culture learned to understand that it was not to the Gerai people. She notes that though rape does occur “widely throughout the world, it is by no means a human universal: some societies can indeed be classified as rape free” (104). The researcher further explores the ways in which gender, sexuality, and the body in Western culture construct ideas about difference, power, and violence and the meanings Western culture ascribes to certain sexual acts, to genitalia, and to the gendered division and status of labor. As a scholar, writer, and editor interested in gender violence, I was wonderfully stunned by the essay. If prior to reading the essay, someone would have asked me if rape is a social construction, I would have answered, “Of course.” If someone had asked me to give an example of a writer who might have created a world without gender violence, I would have turned to my bookshelf and looked at the women writers I loved and who I’ve written about that challenge gender in their novels, short stories, and poems. But no one asked me to do those things, instead I thought about my anthology Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence and how it is an anthology only possible in a world with our understandings of men’s violence against women and the ways we construct gender difference. I felt a little thrill of excitement as I thought this. Gender violence is a plot, a story we tell, a set of narrative expectations. As writers, how might we be disobedient to those stories as we imagine and suggest alternatives?

What disobedient poets do you admire? What is it about their disobedience that you find compelling, ballsy, provocative, and bold? What strategies do these poets use in their poems?

TH: Oh there are so many but two stand out. They stand out because disobedience was the source of their poetic power, and because they were forerunners. One is Adrienne Rich – whose poetry not only reflected her political and feminist activism, but she exemplified her beliefs by refusing certain awards, in the name of a cause. I’m thinking of the 1974 National Book Award for her book Diving Into the Wreck. She declined the award as an individual thereby accepting it for all women. I’ll include an excerpt from Rich’s acceptance speech, which feels in sync with your interview questions:

We dedicate this occasion to the struggle for self-determination of all women, of every color, identification, or derived class: the poet, the housewife, the lesbian, the mathematician, the mother, the dishwasher, the pregnant teenager, the teacher, the grandmother, the prostitute, the philosopher, the waitress, the women who will understand what we are doing here and those who will not understand yet; the silent women whose voice have been denied us, the articulate women who have given us strength to do our work

The other poet is Sharon Olds. When she came out with “The Father” and “The Gold Cell” I was affected by the power of her poetry, her fearless imagery that gave rise to her own father story. Her books offered a kind of permission and I would put them beside me in the early days of attempting to write of my father.
Regarding strategies, both had a command of language. And both were taking topographical risks. Rich is known for creating lines with small spaces between phrases, which act as a pause. Olds’ long lines end with conjunctions and prepositions such as “the” and “of” – words that poets were told to shy from, because of the school of thought that said the last words of a line need to be strong, concrete. I revel in an artist’s individuality, and the brave moves certain writers take to make art. With Rich and Olds, I believe their creative style was a felt experience. Poetry as a genre has expanded because of it.

RF: Too many others to name here, but I recently was blown away by Camille Dungy’s and Roxanne Beth Johnson’s  determination to challenge the historical record in their neo-slave narratives Suck on the Marrow (Red Hen Press 2010) and Black Crow Dress, Alice James Books. Likewise for the Anthology Dungy edited, Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (University of Georgia Press, 2009) which collected examples of the traditional “nature poem” written by people of color, almost absent from poetry’s canon before Dungy did the anthology.

CL: Marge Piercy, whose poem I mentioned above. Her fiercely worded reply to the government’s and religion’s desire to commandeer a woman’s body is 35 years old, but still is relevant today.

Carolyn Forche, whose bravery and journalistic tone in her poems of Central America (“The Colonel”) show that a woman poet can observe and report as well as any man.

Muriel Rukeyser, who, from her earliest poetry, was writing disobedient poems. She brought the stories of notable women to the readers of poetry, through her in depth research and writing about the Gauley Bridge disaster that left many women widows and without their sons. She wrote about other women who, in their own lives, portrayed the tenets of disobedience and resistance: Anne Burlak (“The Red Flame”), who rallied for worker’s rights and Käthe Köllwitz, whose art represented the faces of the Holocaust.

Sor Juana, who although she was a nun, wrote (in 16 90) what is considered the first feminist manifesto: “Respuesta a Sor Filotea” (“Response to Sister Filotea”). a Sor Filotea” (“Response to Sister Filotea”),

Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Yes, that one. She wrote quite a lot of poems of resistance in her time: from protesting child labor to her treatise on gender issues in “Aurora Leigh.”

So, I guess Women Writing Resistance is nothing new, is it? :-)

LMW: One young poet I admire for her compelling, provocative voice is Sarah A. Chavez. In her poem “In the Toaster Room at Irene’s Café” she describes working class women examining one another’s breasts on break at work, breasts that had recently been augmented in Mexico by plastic surgery paid for by their sugar daddy. The poem is a critique on the femininity maintenance women ascribe to as they modify their bodies to do a gender that is crucial to their survival and sense of self. In such an intersectionality reading, it is possible to consider interlocking effects of identity such race, class, and sexuality and the ways gender can be a site of power strategically applied. It enables women in the poem to thrive. Chavez suggests breasts care for women. It’s not the men. It’s not the money. It’s not the job waiting tables. It is the physical body, the breast, the body that cares for the girl. Also provocative is the way Chavez ends the poem on a question without an easy answer, let alone a single one. What does the breast feel? What does the reader? What do the characters in the poem? It’s a ballsy move of the poet because it doesn’t let the reader off the hook. The poem asks the readers to answer the question, a question that may linger for some time.

GB: In her essay, Notely also says, “there was probably nothing more disobedient than being a comic poet.” While I admire many poets who generally write resistance using a more serious tone (Ai and Rich come to mind), I have always been drawn to those who use humor as a weapon to disarm. Early on it was poets like Sexton and Wakoski (and Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti, if we’re going to include male poets in the discussion). Lucille Clifton can often undermine with a gentle (or not so gentle) humor. Carole Ann Duffy. Denise Duhamel. The poets from our recent AWP panel – Jan Beatty, Julie Kane – and, of course, you, Madeline – and many others. I don’t know if any of these poets necessarily made (or makes) a conscious decision to “try to be humorous” or if they, like me, simply find certain things funny – often in a dark or absurd or can you believe this shit?! kind of way.

What other ways might poetry be disobedient that could enable social change?

RF: I alluded to one above, publishing an important anthology of poems that the canon has overlooked, just as Laura Madeline Wiseman did with her Women Write Resistance Anthology. Language poets reject the syntactical and other rules developed and imposed for centuries by a white male majority. The main thing, because women are trained to be obedient and silent, is to speak loudly and widely and often, in ways that empower other women to do the same thing.

LMW: Poets don’t have to accept narratives about gendered violence. Such narratives are hegemonic as they support and celebrate power structures by erasing, mitigating, or silencing other possible stories. The media is one place we find that story, a narrow one that rarely extends beyond abstract descriptors of gender violence or their graphic equivalents. The real life consequences of violence against women are obscured when newspapers, videogames, films, and television programs depict violence in superficial or sexualized ways, when violence is disregarded or glorified, and when victims of violence are dehumanized. Such depictions make light of violence and fail us as a culture by erasing the trauma of gender violence. However, we as poets can enact social change by making poems. We can disrupt, re-write, and challenge conventional narratives by pointing to alternative narratives through our words.

GB: People love to quote Auden’s famous “poetry makes nothing happen” line to dismiss, or argue against, any attempt to “use” poetry to address, much less encourage, social change. But if you read the third section of his elegy for Yeats, it sure as hell doesn’t sound to me like he truly believes that line. I’m usually not a big fan of poems that are overly didactic in a heavy handed way, nor do I necessarily want to tell readers what to think, but to make them think (and feel) – that seems to me a noble goal for poetry. And that, to me, ain’t nothing.

TH: There is an interesting article by Erica Hunt titled “Notes for an Oppositional Poetics” which analyses oppositional writing techniques and their affect on a culture. There is something that she says about Primo Levi’s memoir Survival in Auschwitz, which stays with me. She mentions the “dispassionate tone” of Levi’s book, and speaks of this as the force that actually validates his experiences in a concentration camp. This is a reminder that voice plays a definite role in believability. The detached tone can be a believable one, because the message is not colored by the writer’s bias. What I mean is, the writer is not insisting upon right or wrong. The writer is revealing but not intruding. And so, I am now thinking about a neutral stance as a form of disobedient poetry. A poem can share a very painful issue without demanding that readers take up the cause. Instead, causes arise out of readers naturally, by way of their engagement with the piece. It’s tricky, what I am trying to describe. But it is something to think about, this notion of addressing an issue without imposing oppositions towards the oppositional force. It is yet another style to consider, when attempting to enable social change through poetry.

CL: I remember hearing the great Lucille Clifton read several years ago when I lived in North Carolina. A young man in the audience stood up and asked her how spoken word/slam poetry fit into the world of poetry. Her response: “Poetry is a big house: there is room for everyone.” Perhaps one of the best ways that poetry can enact social change is to realize that it is not one thing. I’ve been on panels of spoken word poets who denounced anyone who felt the need to “publish” his or her poetry. I’ve heard poets who consider themselves “real” poets state that spoken word poetry is not really poetry. I know an editor in Britain who believes most American poetry “sounds as though it came off of someone’s blog.” Formalists continue to write form poetry while being blasted by those who find it archaic and out-of-date. Who are any of us to say what might touch another person and provoke some sort of transformation in society? What if any poetry that embraces the need to enact social change is accepted? What if the real disobedience is acceptance of any poetry that moves us to be better, to do better, to life better?



Grace Bauer's
work has appeared in a wide variety of anthologies and journals. Her newest books include a full-length collection Nowhere All At Once (Stephen F. Austin State University Press) and a chapbook, Cafe Culture (Imaginary Friend Press). Previous books include: Retreats & Recognitions, Beholding Eye, and The Women At The Well.

Rebecca Foust’s books include All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song and God, Seed. New work is in Hudson Review, Massachusetts Review, Mid-American Review, Narrative, Sewanee Review, and other journals. Foust is the recent recipient of fellowships from the Frost Place and the MacDowell Colony.

Therése Halscheid’s new book of poems is Frozen Latitudes (Press 53). Previous collections include Uncommon Geography, Without Home and Powertalk. She received a Greatest Hits chapbook award by Pudding House Publications. Her poetry and essays have appeared in such magazines as The Gettysburg Review, Tampa Review, Sou’wester, Natural Bridge. Since 1993, she has been an itinerant writer by way of house-sitting. Simplicity connects her to the natural world and has been the focus of poems. Her photography has appeared in juried shows and chronicles her nomadic lifestyle. She teaches for Atlantic Cape Community College in NJ, visits schools, and has taught in unusual locales such as an Eskimo village in northern Alaska, and the Ural Mountains of Russia. http://www.ThereseHalscheid.com .

A native Mid-Westerner, Christina Lovin has lived and worked in states as varied as Indiana, Ohio, Maine, and North Carolina. She now makes her home in Central Kentucky, where she lives with three rescue dogs in a town reminiscent of Mayberry RFD, and is currently a full-time lecturer in the English & Theatre Department at Eastern Kentucky University. Lovin's writing has appeared in over one hundred different literary journals and anthologies, as well as five volumes of poetry (Echo, A Stirring in the Dark, Flesh, Little Fires, and What We Burned for Warmth). She is the recipient of numerous poetry awards, writing residencies, fellowships, and grants, most notably the Al Smith Fellowship from Kentucky Arts Council, Kentucky Foundation for Women, and Elizabeth George Foundation.

Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of twenty books and chapbooks and the editor of Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013). Her most recent book is Drink (BlazeVOX Books, 2015). She teaches English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. www.lauramadelinewiseman.com