Friday, May 29, 2020

Some questions raised by the Schultz&Schultz reading yesterday

Some questions raised by Schultz/Schultz zoom reading yesterday, curated by Laura Hinton. Carla Billitteri's request that KLS and I talk among ourselves inspired some of this, not all of it directly out of what was read yesterday:

--How do we write about the intimate act of having children in relation to a larger world that objectifies the woman giving birth or adopting a child? (The medical industry on the one hand, layers of bureaucracy on the other.)

--How do we deal with assumptions made about our children, who are not white, and ourselves, who are? How is being in public with our family a "thing"? (Or how is not being with family a very different experience?) How do we re-write the bad vocabularies used to talk about us? (KLS's son being told he's "mulatto," my kids constantly being asked about "real parents," my being asked "where did you get get them?")

--What does it mean to be a white woman writer now?

--How do we tell stories about the ordinary world in an extraordinary time? And (with thanks to Ann Vickery), what _is_ the ordinary now?

--What is the value of honesty in this time? How can we write honesty?

--What role does experimental writing have in this effort? (To me, it's a new realism, one that presents a world demented by illness or by politics as a mirror "dawdling in the street." For KLS, it has to do with writing a narrative that is conscious of itself as such.

--In what tense do we write, present or past, or some con-fusion of the two?

--What do we do with absurdity when it threatens to kill us? What is the tone and vocabulary for that?

--Why do the answers to these questions seem often to depend on poetic prose?

--How did the open mic contributors contribute to this discussion, because they did, in fascinating ways? In what ways are poets like-minded in a fractured time?

--When can we do this again? And where can we go for drinks after?

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