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The Lesbian Poets of Headmistress Press: Robin Reagler and Diane Furtney in Conversation

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 Newman, and Marissa Higgins and Samantha Pious conversed.
 
This week, Diane Furtney interviews Robin Reagler about her book, Teeth & Teeth, winner of the Charlotte Mew Prize, and Reagler interviews Furtney about her book, Riddle, finalist for the Charlotte Mew Prize.

Furtney: Your best moment in Teeth & Teeth, I think, is that admission of need to travel halfway across Texas while driving in reverse. It’s a terrific, flamboyant metaphor for defiant lesbian experience across a mostly unaccommodating world. I wonder where it came from? Is it too much to hope that autobiography was involved? A transmission problem, perhaps—and no helpful state trooper in sight?

Reagler: How’d you know about that state trooper?!

Teeth & Teeth is a grief story, tracking the recent loss of my parents. They lived in Arkansas; I’m in Texas; so I traveled back and forth constantly for the years of their decline. Autobiographically, a friend commented that she bet I’d done that trip so many times, I could probably drive it in reverse. That’s the impetus for the poem, “We Holy Thieves.” The route from Houston to Hot Springs is entirely rural, and I certainly felt my queerness keenly on those journeys. The most dramatic encounter took place at a small town mechanic’s. I was getting a tire replaced, and a man was taking down Hilary Clinton. A more sensible lesbian might have kept quiet, but I’d been up all night with my mom in the ER, and his comments provoked me. Instead of asking questions, I was arguing. We both left the shop at the same time, and back on the highway I realized that he was following me. I slowed down to a ridiculously slow speed which frustrated him. Within a minute, he gunned the engine of his F450 pickup truck, passed me, and roared into sunset. My heartbeats were crazy for days after that.

I will say that in these drives I was pulled over three times, and in each of those interactions, the police were not just courteous but generous. In fact, on the day my dad died, an officer offered to escort me that last 25 miles to make sure I got there safely. To move through the South as a lesbian, you meet up with all of America. My experiences have ranged from condemning to accepting to celebratory.

In Riddle, Diane, you write an autobiography through your poems. I wonder if you could talk about how poetry recasts the lesbian life—in this case, your own—in ways that, say, nonfiction, fiction or film might not. In other words: How do poetry and lesbianism work together in your book?

Furtney: Not a question I’ve been asked before! A smart-aleck answer would be that lesbianism is the real poetry of life. More honestly, though, poetry writing and lesbian experience share the fact of a frequent solitude that frequently deepens into loneliness. Because so many lesbian works conclude unhappily, Riddle deliberately celebrates the eventual arrival of an important love that thrives in the midst of a good deal of solitude.

What I think a lyric line of poetry can do, better than other arts, is entrap more of the vividly lighted moments and, if there are firm and distinctive rhythms in the line, keep those moments brightly lit. Prose sentences rarely maintain that same concentration and flare. When they do, it’s likely the prose is so full of sound-stitching that it has a secret identity as a prose poem. What I hoped to do in Riddle is describe, as lyrically as possible but with energetic line breaks, not the ways in which lesbian love experiences are unique but rather ways in which they’re indistinguishable from what’s experienced in the general population.

What wonderful Texas troopers! They must be so bored they turned nice just to have something different to do. I could wish they’d tutor their brethren in Oklahoma. I once experienced a police shakedown there—almost midnight outside a small town, another woman with me, which the solitary deputy did not like. Lots of careful, delicate talking. Finally cost $ 50 each, cash, no receipt, the air heavy with threat. Not that I’m complaining, mind you: could have been much worse. Still, the good and not-so-good experiences of lesbians encountering police authorities could make for an extremely interesting anthology, especially in poetry.

MaryM-150x150-2Mary 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.  

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.

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The post The Lesbian Poets of Headmistress Press: Robin Reagler and Diane Furtney in Conversation appeared first on Ms. Magazine Blog.

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BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Rock a Power Blazer This Fall, Make Diane Keaton Proud

Woody Allen and Diane Keaton on the set of "Annie Hall."

Woody Allen and Diane Keaton on the set of Annie Hall. Note her power pose/blazer; Image: Bettmann / Contributor

Here’s one thing we’re reminded of over and over when we look at the recent collections: Annie Hall. In the book Vogue on Ralph Lauren, the titular American designer (who supplied clothing for the film’s leads) is quoted as saying, “Annie’s style was Diane’s style — very eclectic. Oversized jackets and vests, floppy men’s hats and cowboy boots. We shared a sensibility, but she had a style that was all her own. Annie Hall was pure Diane Keaton.”

Power blazer street style sighting.

…A modern day adaptation; Image: Imaxtree

Cowboy boots walked at Raf Simons’ Calvin Klein debut, not to mention the Fall 2017 runways of Céline, Yeezy and Louis Vuitton. Floppy hats are a Spring 2018 must-have: they showed up at Jacquemus, Giorgio Armani and Missoni. And as for oversized blazers, they’re everywhere. This past fashion month, brands such as Gucci, Tom Ford, Chloé, Chanel, Céline, Monse, Tom Ford, Off-White and Marques ‘ Almeida proved that a power blazer can dress up literally any outfit. (Cue Alvy Singer’s voice-over: “It was great seeing Annie again.”)

Power blazers on the Spring 2018 runways.

Blazers at Max Mara Spring 2018, Acne Studios Spring 2018 and Miu Miu Spring 2018; Images: Imaxtree

Yes, tons of designers borrowed Annie’s ultimate outerwear staple, the big, bold blazer. But they often flouted her styling conventions. At Max Mara, a two-tone denim blazer came paired with a camel top, chiffon-overlaid pencil skirt and matching T-bar heels. Acne Studios saw the return of pinstriped 70s-inspired suiting. There, the oxblood-tinged blazers were marbled and done in patent, the stripes on the suits laced with delicate fringing. At Miu Miu, outsize blazers clashed with neon socks and Birkenstock-esque sandals.

Power blazer street style sightings.

Further proof you need a power blazer in your life; Images: Imaxtree

As with the fanny pack, the fashion crowd was way ahead of the trend. A vast majority of Spring 2018 showgoers swapped their denim jackets and leather motos for the more polished form of insulation. Blazers for women of the oversized, strong-shouldered, double-breasted and check persuasion were a particular favorite. Super-saturated, primary-colored blazers came in a close second.

Oftentimes, the sharp, nine-to-five-ready toppers came as part of a two-piece set (hashtag pantsuit nation). Others used ‘em to dress up their everyday denim. Still others paired their blazers with floral skirts or velvety bottoms for a cool contrast. Then there were the blazers-over-dresses-over-pantsers and those who seemed to have forsaken bottoms altogether (until a glimpse of micro-mini skirt proved otherwise).

Some final notes. (1) Power blazers call for power poses — stand tall, show your confidence. (2) On occasion, switch things up and cinch/define your waist with a belt (bag). And now, without further ado, shop our picks for the best power blazers for women in the gallery below.

[ Next: How to Style a Blazer Like It’s 2017 ]

The post Rock a Power Blazer This Fall, Make Diane Keaton Proud appeared first on theFashionSpot.

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BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Josh Brolin And Diane Lane Are Officially Divorced

It’s over.

According to court documents obtained by TMZ, Josh Brolin and Diane Lane are officially divorced. Lane first filed divorce papers back in Feb. 2013, citing irreconcilable differences.

The documents were filed in Los Angeles Country Superior Court on Nov. 27 and stated that Brolin, 45, and Lane, 48, have a private financial agreement and the actress will not seek spousal support outside of that arrangement. She will however change her name back to Diane Lane — she legally went by Diane Lane Brolin while they were married.

Brolin is currently dealing with other legal issues after he was arrested for public intoxication just before midnight on New Year’s Day of this year. He has since had several drunken incidents and checked himself into rehab last month.

Brolin and Lane, who married in Aug. 2004, have no children together.
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