Independent Best American Poetry Nominations

Sinister Wisdom is pleased to nominate three poems for the Independent Best American Poetry Award.
The three poems nominated are:
“Ese Pateria” Geny Cabral (from Sinister Wisdom 97)
“Juanita Does: One Night in Richmond” Cathy Arellano (from Sinister Wisdom 97)
“After Marriage” Tricia Asklar (from Sinister Wisdom 97)

Congratulations to Geny Cabral, Cathy Arellano and Tricia Asklar!

Thank you to Didi Menendez for initiating the project!

2015 Pushcart Prize Nominations from Sinister Wisdom

Sinister Wisdom is pleased to nominate six pieces from the four issues of Sinister Wisdom published prior to December 1, 2015 for the 2015 Pushcart Prize.

The six pieces are:

“Para la Kathy de Colusa” by Cherríe L. Moraga
“Sailing to Mytilene” by Diane Furtney
“My Mother’s Gifts” by Elana Dykewomon
“So That You Will Hear Me” by Bessy Reyna
“A Great Big Woman of Color Tent” by Merril Mushroom
“Metafiction” by Maureen Seaton

Congratulations to all of the writers! Fingers crossed that one or more will be selected for a Pushcart Prize this year!

PDFs of all of the nominations are here.

Rainbow Williams Reviews Sinister Wisdom 93!

We are so honored to share this review of SINISTER WISDOM Issue 93, Southern Lesbian Feminist Herstory, 1968-94 from Rainbow Williams, SW contributor and member of Old Lesbians Organizing for Change!


Excuse me while I puff a bit. SINISTER WISDOM magazine has published Southern Lesbian Feminist Herstory, 1968-94, edited by Rose Norman and Merrill Mushroom.
It’s thick and juicy, and I’m devouring it. Lots of FLORIDA, the birthplace GAINESVILLE, 1968, when Judith Brown (who I met once when she visited Nancy Breeze) and her partners, Kathie Sarachild and Carol Hanisch, who wrote the FORMULA of Consciousness Raising: sit in a Circle, go around one at a time, speak from your heart. The fully democratic method that led us into TRUTH in 1968.

I was about to “come out” 1969, in an Orlando suburb, where I would join NOW and find it too straight to suit my overnight LESBIAN sensation. It took 36 years for me to get there, but then I stuck. I loved to travel weekends to Gainesville, where they had a vibrant community that I could soak in. Many were also taking strength from the beach community, Pagoda, where 12 cottages by the sea inspired one of the first Lesbian Lands. The first was North Forty, twenty minutes outside Gvle, where in 1972 a few bought some pineywoods and began to build their own domes and trailers and such. Amazingly, there are still some of the orginals there. Corky, Dore, Pat, Rockstar, and others. THERE MUST BE SOMETHING IN THE WATER, thought Ponce De Leon all those years ago. And Lesbian Feminists are living proof. Fed by the University of Florida, who hired some great thinkers, mainly in the Child Psychology Dept, such as Bylly Avery, Margaret Parish, and Judith Brown, who created the Womens Health Center, and taught the Shans Hospital Doctors how to treat women. The BIRTH CENTER was where you could find the Heart of Dixie Dykes. I met many of them on the PEACEWALK of 1983-4, from Gainesville to KeyWest. A parade of scraggly dedicated protestors who had bonded in jail, six JANE DOES who refused to give their names and learned how to meditate together and plan further actions, LEAP 1 and 2, and on and on. Many went to WOMONWRITES every summer practice their skills. 1979 was the first. This is the birthplace of the idea of the Herstory, and SINISTER WISDOM magazine has agreed to publish number 93.
In these pages, I find old friends like Corky Circledance, a published poet, and PHD. So is Ronni Sanlo, PHD, and published and publisher. Attorney Garnett Harrison.
FIERY FEMINISTS from FLORIDA who fired the shot heard round our world.

HOW PROUD AM I? Bust a gut!

I hope you will read it too, sooner the better."

Find this powerful issue here: and keep sharing the love!

Voices de Queer Femmes--Call for Participants

Check out this unique opportunity for publication!

SEEKING SUBMISSIONS from Lesbian, Queer, and Trans Women of color who identify or present as FEMME!

BE LOUD AND PROUD Or quiet and demure but either way LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!!!!
You are invited to participate in an anthology of our voices, a space to express how you navigate life as a Lesbian, Trans or Queer Identified Femme!

This call for submissions will culminate in the printed publication of Voices de Queer Femmes.
We are open to *all types of submissions (including original visual art, poetry, song lyrics, and mixed media)*, but we're particularly interested in poetry, personal narratives/essays, creative non-fiction, and social commentary submissions. If you are submitting art work or photographs please ensure a high resolution scan, if you need assistance with scanning we can help you.

Please feel free to submit work that might need a little work. Experienced editors are available to work with you if you are committed to a piece but feel it is not quite ready for publication.

Deadline for Submissions is December 31st, 2015

Submission Guidelines:

Opinion pieces/social commentary: 500-700 words
Personal essays: 700-1400 words
Poetry: 3 poems or no more than 1000 words
Photography: At least 3 images emailed in high resolution jpeg, pdf, or png files
Submissions should be in Microsoft Word, one-inch margins

Send your submission to with the subject line as follows:
Voices de Queer Femmes submission - [First Initial]. [Last Name]


Sinister Wisdom Fall Events

This fall is chock full of events celebrating recent issues of Sinister Wisdom and featuring amazing lesbian writers, poets, artists and activists. Please join us for an event in your community and help spread the word!

Friday, 11 September 2015 at 7:30 p.m., Reading to Celebrate Sinister Wisdom 98: Southern Landykes at Charis Books and More in Atlanta, GA. More information--and RSVP--available here.

Friday, 11 September 2015 at 7:00 p.m., Reading to Celebrate Sinister Wisdom 98: Southern Landykes at The CMC, next to Wild Iris Books, at 22 SE 5th Ave., (352) 375-7477.
Saturday, 12 September 2015 at 6 p.m., Reading to Celebrate Sinister Wisdom 97: Out Latina Lesbians at Laurel Book Store in Oakland, CA. More information--and RSVP--available here.

Sinister Wisdom editor and publisher Julie R. Enszer will read at the Hobart Women's Book Festival on Sunday, September 13th at 12 noon. If you are in or around Hobart, NY, please come by and say hi to Julie--and join the whole book festival which looks incredible.

Thursday, 8 October 2015 at  7 p.m., Reading to Celebrate Sinister Wisdom 97: Out Latina Lesbians at Bluestockings in New York City. More information--and RSVP--available here.

Friday, 9 October 2015 at 7:30 p.m., Elana Dykewomon reading at The White Rose, 284 High Street, Holyoke, MA. Join Elana to hear poems from What Can I Ask: New and Collected Poems 1975-2014 (Sinister Wisdom 96). More information--and RSVP--available here.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015 at 8 p.m., Elana Dykewomon reading a Womencrafts in Provincetown, MA. Elana will read from What Can I Ask: New and Collected Poems 1975-2014 (Sinister Wisdom 96) during Provincetown Women's Week. Make your plans to be there today. More information--and RSVP--available here.

Want to hold an event in your community? Organize one! Sinister Wisdom editor and publisher Julie R. Enszer is happy to work with you!

New Calls for Submissions to Sinister Wisdom


Sinister Wisdom is chock full of exciting future issues. Want your work to be included in the journal? Check out our submission guidelines here and our two newest calls from guest editors here and here.

Guest editor Alexis Clements in putting together an issue on Performing Lesbian Feminism and a collective of amazing womyn is curating an issue that celebrates the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival.

Take the plunge and join in the fun!

Call for Submissions: Honoring the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival

This special issue of Sinister Wisdom is dedicated to honoring the forty-year phenomenon of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (MWMF). It celebrates MWMF as an embodiment of radical feminist separatist collaboration, transformational self-defined autonomous spaces, a commitment to sisterhood and matriarchal culture, and a musical city sprung from the earth for one week in the woods. The guest editors will curate a diversity of womyn’s voices, values, traditions, and experiences of MWMF as it has changed and connected generations. We will explore what MWMF has meant to so many womyn, document its chronology, and commemorate the power of this unique community.

The guest editors are seeking submissions from writers and visual artists intimately connected with MWMF. Writers can submit poems, personal essays, short stories, oral histories, interviews, plays, and other original writing of no more than 5,000 words. Visual artists can send up to 5 paintings, drawings, photos, or other original artwork in black and white. Artists may submit one image in color for cover art consideration. All writing submissions should be in .docx, and for art, please use .jpg, .gif, or .tif (300dpi). We encourage vendors, performers, festivalgoers, facilitators, workers, and womyn from all races, ethnicities, sexualities, ages, abilities, religions, and gender identities to submit.

The guest editors welcome submissions that expand but are not limited to the following:

•Raising the Stages

•Preparing the City

•Body Acceptance

•Safety and Nudity

•Healing and Recovery

•Life Backstage

•Worker Community

•Womyn of Color

•DEAF Camping

•Pilgrimage and "Welcome Home"

•Orgasms, Sex, Romantic Love, and Exes

•Stories of Line Culture and Finally Getting In

•Growing up Gaia, Mothering the Younger Generations

•Chosen Families

•Gender Nonconforming Identities and Expressions

•Radical Spaces

•Workshops and Performances

•Finding Voice, Power, and Self

•Personal Agency in Workshifting

•Intersectional Communities

•Burlesque, Struts, and Walks and Parades

•Spirituality, Witchcraft, The Cult, and Woo

•Ecology and Nature

•Electricity, Plumbing, and Sound in the Woods

•Leather Community

•Babies and Crones

•Drugs, Fists, and Tears

•Lesbians, Lesbians, Lesbians

•Expanding Female

•Vending and Entrepreneurship

•Drum Circles, Hootenannies, Workshops with Artists

•Activism and Advocacy

•DIY Art and Culture

•Rehearsal Tent Hijinks

•RV Community

•Boys and Men

The guest editors want to preserve each submitter’s voice; however, where applicable we will be adhering to Sinister Wisdom publishing guidelines, which follow the Chicago Manual of Style. If you are not familiar with these guidelines, please contact the editors and we will assist with any questions you may have.

The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2016; however, early submissions are encouraged and appreciated. Any questions please email

Please make your submissions here:

Allison Ricket is a teacher; writer; young mother; vocalist; white, middle-class radical lesbian feminist; eco-advocate. Allison teaches English in rural southeastern Ohio; reports on local news for the only independent news publication in her town; teaches vocal lessons at Girl’s Rock camp; and works as an adjunct professor in the Rhetoric and Composition department at Ohio University. Previously, Allison blogged for Southern Poverty Law Center’s website Teaching Tolerance where she wrote about social justice issues in educational policy and practice. Through the mothering of other sober Amazons, Allison found the Land in 2009 and returned every year. Her daughter was five at her first fest, and every year, for one week, Allison watches The Land lift her daughter’s spirit, transforming her into a free girl-child.

Amy Washburn is Assistant Professor of English at Kingsborough Community College (CUNY) and Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Hunter College (CUNY). She has an MA in English from SUNY New Paltz. She also has an MA and a Ph.D. in Women’s Studies from the University of Maryland. Her articles appear in Journal for the Study of Radicalism, Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and Journal of Lesbian Studies. Her poetry collection Crestview Tree Woman was published by Finishing Line Press. Her recent poems appear in Sinister Wisdom and Flatbush Review. Her first fest was in 2011, and she has made the pilgrimage every year since then. She has two feline feminists, Lux and Volt, named after Rosa Luxemburg and Voltairine de Cleyre, that make re-entry possible.

Angela Martin is a fernilicious feminist. Her feminism was seeded in the experience of patriarchy and grew in the ferns of Michigan beginning in 2004. A clinical social worker in the world of non-profit, she has experience working with sex offenders, foster families, at-risk youth, and people living with mental illness. She understands we are all walking wounded. Mother of two daughters, member of RV and flex fest family since 2012; a blossoming radical leatherdyke.

Brynn Warriner is a freelance editor, typesetter, indexer, and all-purpose wordsmith based in Denver. Prior to going rogue, she was the managing editor at Marquand Books, an art book publisher in Seattle that produces catalogues raisonnés, artist monographs, and exhibition and collection catalogues for museums around the country and internationally. Michigan first saved her life in 2002, and she joined the worker community in 2012, where she has since served on the worker childcare/sprouts crew. Unrepentant feminist, striving antiracist, devoted aunt, and passionate gardener, she shares an urban space with her cat, three hens, and approximately sixty thousand honeybees.

Dream Gomez - Black lesbian technologist from Atlanta Georgia; female/woman-focused in thought and deed. She was introduced to the music of Ferron, the glories of midnight outdoor showers, and long walks alone in the relative safety of the festival woods when she first attended in 2002. Dream joined the worker Driver family in 2013. Participating in the publication of this special issue of Sinister Wisdom is one way to insure that “fest” lives on in her life in some way, shape, or form, whether she pilgrimages to those acres in the woods or not.

Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz is a separatist, zinester, archivist, writer, and black-dyke-participant of intentional, community-specific, collective spaces. A coordinator at the Lesbian Herstory Archives, and collective member of WOW Cafe Theater as producer of women of color theater, namely, Rivers of Honey, Shawn is a Librarian appointed as Assistant Professor at the Graduate Center, CUNY. From (the people’s republic of) Brooklyn, Shawn founded the Queer Housing Nacional List, and has since purchased a home designated for queer women of color (QWOC) with her wife in the Bronx. A board member of Fire & Ink, a national organization for LGBT writers of African descent, and founder of Lambey Press, independently publishing QWOC; Shawn walked into the woman of color tent in 2009 and it knocked her bra off.

Call for Submissions: Performing Lesbian Feminism

Alexis Clements is calling for writing at the intersection of performance and lesbian feminism for a special issue of Sinister Wisdom. At a time when queer theory and politics, popular culture, and ongoing misogyny have lead to things such as the Huffington Post’s live news series hosting an extended segment focused on “The End of Lesbians,” many feel not just the term lesbian but also the identities it encompasses are embattled. However, the political and theoretical legacy of lesbian feminists made significant contributions to the development of queer theory and the embodied practice of challenging gender and sexual norms, among others. Performance has long been a critical tool for lesbian feminists in celebrating, developing, and exploring ideas and identities, whether it be on stage, in bookstores and cafes, or even in the every day. This history includes many artists who have been involved in the WOW Cafe Theatre such as Split Britches (Peggy Shaw & Lois Weaver), Carmelita Tropicana, Holly Hughes, the Five Lesbian Brothers, and the Rivers of Honey series for queer women of color, to more contemporary work such as Allyson Mitchell's performance, installation, and collaboration Killjoy's Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House or the ongoing cultural organizing taking place at the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center in San Antonio, Texas.

For this volume Clements is interested in exploring how artists and individuals are performing and/or drawing on lesbian feminism at this moment. How do we enact lesbian feminism today? What does the legacy of lesbian feminism mean to people creating work and living today, among those who were there for its beginnings as well as those who have chosen to take it up since then? How does it intersect with the larger umbrella of queerness and the contemporary understanding of and focus on the many variations of gender and sexuality? Can the performance of lesbian feminism today serve as a counterpoint and/or complement to the all-encompassing ethos of queerness? In what ways does performance also offer opportunities for critiques of lesbian feminism itself? Performance/script excerpts, short essays, creative non-fiction, brief memoirs, excerpts from art projects, visual art, poems, and other forms of expression are all welcome. Please send questions and submissions to The deadline for submissions is Dec. 31, 2015.

Alexis Clements is a performance maker, arts writer, and journalist living in Brooklyn, NY. She founded the multi-disciplinary arts project New Acquisition, and co-founded Private Commission, a queer writing group and publisher. Her creative work has been produced and published in the US and UK. Her articles, essays, and interviews have appeared in publications such as Salon, Bitch Magazine, Autostraddle, American Theatre, The Brooklyn Rail, Two Serious Ladies, The L Magazine, Nature, Frontiers, and In the Flesh. She is a regular contributor, focused on art and performance, to Hyperallergic. And currently she is working on a documentary film project titled ALL WE’VE GOT focused on the spaces where lesbians and queer women gather.

Sinister Wisdom Cover 57

Sinister Wisdom Cover 56


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"Empowerment comes from ideas."

Gloria Anzaldúa

"Your silence will not protect you."

Audre Lorde

"Live your lives, honorably and with dignity."

Andrea Dworkin