Red Hen Press Poetry Hour has reinvented the traditional poetry reading with artists from across the spectrum: humor, drama, music, science and much more. For the next episode, we focus on the power of feminism with leading feminist poet Judy Grahn, activist and educator Amber Flame and performance artist Monique Jenkinson, known best for her cis-gendered drag queen persona Fauxnique. Fear of Flying author Erica Jong and interdisciplinary poet and gender-liminal, multi- and inter-disciplinary artist C. Bain also appear. Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh.
Highlights from Season 1 of Red Hen Press Poetry Hour
C. Bain is a gender liminal artist. His book of poetry, Debridement, was a finalist for the Publishing Triangle awards. His writing appears in BOAAT, Bedfellows Magazine, PANK, them,Muzzle Magazine, the Everyman’s Library book Villanelles, the Rumpus.net and elsewhere. He has a long history in slam and performance poetry, and his plays and performance art works have been presented at Dixon Place, The Tank, The Kraine, The Living Gallery, and the LGBT Center in NYC. He has been an apprentice at Ugly Duckling Presse and a Lambda Literary fellow. More at tiresiasprojekt.com
Amber Flame is an interdisciplinary creative, activist and educator whose work has garnered residencies with Hedgebrook, Vermont Studio Center, and more. A former church kid from the Southwest, Flame’s work is published widely and explores spirituality and sexuality, cross-woven with themes of grief and loss, motherhood and magic, and interstitial joy. A 2016 and 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee and Jack Straw Writer Program alum, Amber Flame’s first full-length poetry collection, Ordinary Cruelty, was published in 2017 through Write Bloody Press. Flame was a recipient of the CityArtist grant from Seattle’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs to write, produce and perform her one-person play, Hands Above the Covers. In early 2018, Flame co-curated the art installation Black Imagination at Core Gallery in Seattle. Her first solo exhibit debuted in 2019 with a project entitled ::intrigue:: 8, a multimedia installation, through Jack Straw Production’s Artist Support and New Media Gallery fellowships. Hugo House’s 2017-2019 Writer-in-Residence for Poetry, Flame’s second book of poetry, titled apocrifa, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press. Flame has created and implemented programming for more than 15 years, working in education equity, Black media, youth empowerment, and with women and youth impacted by incarceration. Recently named Program Director for Hedgebrook, she continues to work as a writing instructor while working on a third collection of poetry, remounting her full-length play, developing a few nonfiction anthologies, and raising her daughter. Amber Flame is a queer Black mama just one magic trick away from growing her unicorn horn.
Judy Grahn is a poet, writer, teacher, and cultural theorist; foremother of feminist, gay, and lesbian liberation movements and of the field of women’s spirituality. Earlier nonfiction books include Another Mother Tongue: Gay Words, Gay Worlds, and Blood, Bread, and Roses: How Menstruation Created the World. Her memoir is A Simple Revolution: The Making of an Activist Poet. Two collections of her poetry from Red Hen Press, and also The Judy Grahn Reader from Aunt Lute Books, are available. In 2000, she received her PhD from the California Institute of Integral Studies, where she is Distinguished Associated Professor. In 1996, The Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction was established by Publishing Triangle in New York; in 2016, the My Good Judy art and scholar residency was established in New Orleans. Grahn’s work has been anthologized in collections from W. W. Norton & Company, Penguin Books, Penngrove and Oxford University Press, among many others. She has received several lifetime achievement and foremother awards and has been Grand Marshall of two Gay Pride Parades. The Commonality Institute promotes her work overall, while a Metaformia journal archive at www.metaformia.org, retains articles on her Metaformic Theory. Her love of creatures and spirit is lifetime. She lives with her spouse in Palo Alto, CA.
Fauxnique is the drag queen alter-ego of artist/choreographer/dancer/writer Monique Jenkinson. Lauded for her “campy, intellectual juxtaposition of pop culture and high art (San Francisco Magazine),” she sees the performance of femininity as a powerful, vulnerable and subversive act. Her solo works have toured nationally and internationally in the zones of contemporary dance, video, theater and cabaret. Fauxnique made herstory as the first cisgender woman to win a major drag (queen) pageant. Other honors include an Irvine Artist Fellowship at the de Young Museum, SF Bay Guardian Outstanding Local Discovery (GOLDIE) Award, SF Weekly’s “Best Performance Artist,” 7X7 Magazine’s “Hot 20,” Isadora Duncan Dance Award and Theater Bay Area Award nominations, CHIME and CHIME Across Borders (with mentor Tere O’Connor) and residencies at Atlantic Center for the Arts (with Master Artist mentor Stephen Petronio), Headlands Center for the Arts and Tanzhaus Zürich. In 2017, she engaged in embodied conversation with Gender Theory pioneer Judith Butler and facilitated a talk with RuPaul bestie Michelle Visage in the space of a week. She has created space for kids to dress drag queens at a major museum, played The Dirt (originated by Justin Vivian Bond) in Taylor Mac’s Lily’s Revenge and Eurydike/Ismene in Anne Carson’s Antionick at Ashby Stage and originated (and choreographed) the eponymous role in David J.’s Silver for Gold: the Odyssey of Edie Sedgwick at the Met Theater (LA). Jenkinson has created curriculum and taught at San Francisco Art Institute and St. Mary’s College of California and has guest lectured at Stanford University and Williams College. Her writing has appeared in Dance History Scholars’ Newsletter and on literary site Her Kind. She is writing a drag memoir.
Erica Jong is a celebrated poet, novelist & essayist with over twenty-five published books that have been influential all over the world. Her most popular novel, Fear of Flying, celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2013. Never out of print, it has sold over thirty-five million copies translated into over forty-five languages including Chinese and Arabic. Erica’s latest novel, Fear of Dying, was published in 2015/2016 with many publishers all over the world. Her awards include the Fernanda Pivano Award for Literature in Italy (named for the critic who introduced Ernest Hemingway, Allen Ginsberg and Erica Jong to the Italian public), the Sigmund Freud Award in Italy, the Deauville Literary Award in France, the United Nations Award for Excellence in Literature and Poetry magazine’s Bess Hokin Prize (also won by Sylvia Plath and W.S. Merwin). Erica’s poetry has appeared in publications worldwide, including the New Yorker, the LA Times, the Paris Review, Haaretz and many more. Erica lives in New York and Connecticut with her husband and two poodles.
Sandra Tsing Loh is the author of six books, including The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones (2014, W.W. Norton), which was selected as one of The New York Times’ 100 Most Notable Books. It is based on her piece on menopause in The Best American Essays 2012, originally published in The Atlantic. The Madwoman in the Volvo inspired Sandra's hit play of the same name, as well as her stand-up show, The B***h Is Back: An All-Too Intimate Conversation, which ran at The Broad Stage in 2015. Her new book The Madwoman and the Roomba: My Year of Domestic Mayhem was published by W.W. Norton in June 2020.
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