26 May 2011

Joan Larkin on Woman-Stirred Radio





On Thursday, June 9th, at 4:15 pm (eastern), I'm thrilled to welcome poet and playwright, Joan Larkin to Woman-Stirred Radio. We'll be talking about her collection My Body : New and Selected Poems (Hanging Loose, 2007), as well as some new unpublished work slated for a new chapbook.


Larkin, who has taught at Brooklyn, Sarah Lawrence, Goddard, and New England Colleges, was Distinguished Visiting Poet at Columbia College, Chicago, and Wichita State University in Kansas. She was the publisher of Out & Out Books, a small 


As Julie R. Enszer points out in her review of Larkin's collection, My Body, Joan Larkin's "work as a poet extends well beyond the gay and lesbian community," and of great importance, "her work has been published and nurtured by the small presses in the gay and lesbian community over the past thirty years" (Enszer, 2007).



Larkin is a poet with a powerful voice of surety and raw veracity. She speaks from the center of her being in language that is lyric and ironic, offering the reader multi-dimensional tensions and primal female experience, as in "Native Tongue":

My first language was wet
and merging
My syllables were not distinct
from hers; our liquid interface
floated my small vowels
into the infradark
of her hold

my serious fish  face
my belly with its tendril
registering her depth
charges. (89)


Here, in the poem "Waste Not," Larkin excavates the trauma that batters the survivors of a beloved's death:


We're using every bit of your death.
We're making a vise of your mouth's clenching and loosening,
an engine of your labored breathing,
a furnace of your wide-open eyes.


We've reduced you to stock, fed you to the crowd,
banked the pearl of your last anger,
stored the honey of your last smile.


Nothing's left in your mirror,
nothing's floating on your high ceiling.
We're combing pockets, turning sleeves,
shaking out your bone and ash,
stripping you down to desire.


Your beloved has folded your house into his
I'm wading the swift river, balancing on stones. (59)

So please tune in Thursday, June 9th at 4:15 (eastern) for a fascinating discussion with Joan Larkin. Listen locally at 91.1 and 91.7 fm, or stream us live at WGDR.org.




3 May 2011

Lucy Jane Bledsoe on Woman-Stirred Radio

This Thursday, May 5th, at 5:00 pm (eastern) author Lucy Jane Bledsoe joins Merry Gangemi for a conversation about her new novel, The Big Bang Symphony.


A deftly structured feminist novel of Antarctica, The Big Bang Symphony, is confidently intelligent in tone, and delightfully complex. Its narrative is character-driven and Bledsoe’s characters are authentic, pragmatic, witty, at times too serious, but talented, grounded, and blessedly flawed.


The Big Bang Symphony draws the reader into the world of McMurdo Station, a U. S. research base located just northeast of Mt. Erebus, on the southeast coast of the Ross Ice Shelf. There is adventure, mystery, and absurdity, and there is the majesty of Antarctica, its haunting emptiness and unforgiving environment a hologram, perfectly suited to reflect the indomitable forces which compel and sustain each woman’s search for what is true—even if that truth is the simple equivalent of what can be perceived as true. 


"Lucy Jane Bledsoe is the author of four novels, a collection of short fiction, a collection of narrative nonfiction, and six books for kids.  When she’s not writing, she’s sea kayaking in Alaska, backpacking in the Rockies, backcountry skiing in the Sierras, or biking the Berkeley/Oakland hills.

Lucy has traveled to Antarctica three times, as a two-time recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Artists & Writers in Antarctica Fellowship and once as a guest on the Russian ship, the Akademik Sergey Vavilov. She is one of a tiny handful of people who have stayed at all three American stations in Antarctica. She has also stayed in a number of field camps, both on the coast and in the Transantarctic mountains, where scientists are studying penguins, climate change, and the Big Bang." (source