30 March 2006

What We Have In Common: Poets and Folksingers

When Merry started the Woman-Stirred radio hour a few months ago, I was thrilled that she was going to interview not only poets and writers but also musicians and artists. For me the creative expressions of our queer-ness is not limited to words but must necessarily include our bodies - our ears, our eyes, our hearts, our souls. We need that stimulation of all senses.

Still, I as a poet feel a special kinship with the folksingers. I confess, it may be jealousy that is the root of my kinship; I'd like to be alone on a stage with a guitar singing my poems. I can't carry a tune. I can't play the guitar. My poems don't have the refrain of the folksongs. They don't have the reassuring lilt of a song. I would wish that they did, but they don't.

Fortunately, others write folksongs. Amazing folksongs. Like Catie Curtis. I first heard Catie Curtis when she had just put together her first album, From Years to Hours. She came and sang at a local coffeehouse. I loved her. Her lyrics made me swoon. They were poems set to music.

But I'm not being radical when I kiss you
I don't love you to make a point
It's the hollow of my heart that cries when I miss you
And it keeps me alive when we're apart
Is it morning? Is it night?
She don't know, can't remember which is dark and which is light
Is this the end of life?
She don't know, can't remember if she's young or if she's old

I've got my grandmother's name, but she don't remember who I am

Her music grew from that first album to now include a handful of CDs, online song releases, regular tours, and my favorite venue for her: Provincetown.

All of the women (wimmin?) of Woman-Stirred have been talking about how amazing Merry's show is because it captures our shared lesbian/bi/trans culture. Catie Curtis is an important part of that for me. You'll want to tune into www.wgdr.org on Thursday, April 6, 2006 at 4:30 p.m. EST to hear Merry interview Catie. The Woman-Stirred radio show starts at 4 p.m. and extends until 6 p.m. Tune in early--I bet Merry will be spinning some of Catie's early and current hits.

26 March 2006

Our Mother Poetry Contest Winner is ...

Mother's Day does not fall on the same day for every country around the world. Woman-Stirred group members are from the US and UK, and so we are thrilled today to announce the winner of the Woman-Stirred Mother Poetry Contest as Mothering Sunday is being celebrated in the UK.

Over the next few weeks we will be featuring poems from our three finalists, leading up to Mother's Day celebrations in the US and other parts of the world on May 14, 2006.

The winner of the 2006 Mother Poetry Contest is ...

Zara Raab, for her poem, My Daughter Drives

A special mention goes to our other finalists:

Charles Fishman for War Story: 1942 and What It Was to Be Stone
Claire J. Baker for A Protest Against the Passing of the Great Ship

Thank you to everyone who supported Woman-Stirred by submitting to the contest. Our congratulations go to Zara Raab for a moving poem we hope you all enjoy.

My Daughter Drives

She strides to the cherry red wagon
parked curbside by the leafy beech,
then folds her slim form and slips in,
a love note, entering the reverie of
change, tuning inward, gazing out
beyond the locked steering, into
the oncoming rush of her dreams.
All summer, stretched on the sofa,
she's cried, "If only I could drive!"
On a dime, she'd close herself -
packing it all into eyes and hands
and leans forward into the wheel,
learning to leave me, learning to leave,
learning to live on her skin, letting
the wind ruffle her hair, making the
red car her tutor, her lover, hers -
until a flesh-and-blood one arrives.
From my kitchen, I witness the news:
My child, my child, is learning to drive.

© Zara Raab

Zara Raab tells us ...

Zara RaabI was born in Willits, California, 165 miles north of San Francisco, to parents whose great-grandparents had settled in Humboldt and Mendocino Counties in the 1800s. At boarding school in the rainy outskirts of Portland, I memorized Keats, Yeats and Shakespeare and wrote my own poems. Later at Mills College, the Black Mountain College poets like Charles Olson or Louis Zukofsky were my influences.

I moved to Paris for a year, obtained a graduate degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and lived by my pen in Washington, D.C. until the Reagan era of fur coats and limousines. I headed west again to San Francisco, worked as a copywriter, married and raised a family. My poems appear occasionally in small literary magazines and I am a member of the Northern California Book Reviews.

Mother Poetry Contest submission guidelines and prize details
Read more about the international history of Mother's Days
Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation 1870

23 March 2006

Tee Corinne taught me what a lesbian looks like

UPDATE !! TEE's appearance on Woman-Stirred Radio has been delayed to her illness. Hopefully she can join us in a future show. Meanwhile, keep Tee in your thoughts and prayers.

The incomparable Merry Gangemi is going to interview Tee Corinne on the Woman-Stirred Radio show on Thursday, March 30th at 4:30 p.m. I was thrilled to hear about this because it was Tee Corinne who taught me what a lesbian looks like.

Certainly I learned what a lesbian looks like from the women in Ann Arbor where I came out at college. And I learned what a lesbian looks like at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival. And I learned what a lesbian looks like from the women that I loved. Those were real women and they presented their lesbian bodies to the world that still wanted in too many ways to deny them. They were there, though, in full flesh, loud and proud lesbians, living in the world. Certainly they taught me what lesbians looked like, too, but it was Tee Corinne with her photographs that taught me what lesbians look like artfully.

Tee Corinne captures our bodies in photographs. Art-graphs, actually. Images that you can frame and hang on the wall. I had never seen lesbians in that context. Photographed, captured, filtered, treated, framed, and hanged. I loved it. I wanted a house filled with huge photographs from Tee Corinne.

You can see some of her photographs and an interview with her here:


Tee also created The Cunt Coloring Book. You can still purchase it and spend hours coloring the beautiful pussies. I saw it and spent hours with watercolors creating my own cunts that I could write across - letters to friends, poems, grocery lists. They were a backdrop in my life. Yes, Tee Corinne taught me what a lesbian looks like.

She is an incredible artist. You will want to hear this interview.

Unfortunately, my excitement of hearing Tee Corinne live on the radio is tempered because she was recently diagnosed with liver cancer. A friend of Tee's is maintaining a blog with updates on her health and you can send a card or flowers to Tee as well. Check it out:


And don't forget to tune in at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30th to hear great tunes from Merry and then the interview at 4:30 p.m. You can listen online at www.wgdr.org.