Julie's blog

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.

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 femmeliterati@gmail.com 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!

Review of Elana Dykewomon's Sapphic Classic at Out In Print


What Can I Ask: New and Selected Poems 1975-2014 – Elana Dykewomon (A Midsummer Night’s Press)

This is a terrific collection from a poet whose work spans decade, and it’s a rich body of poetry in which one can see joy, heartbreak, and elegy, but growth most of all–personal as well as artistic, though you’d be hard pressed to separate the two. Dykewomon’s work is all about acceptance and empowerment, looking inside for who you really are and exploring those avenues. Moreover, it’s about belief in yourself, belief in your identity, and belief in your abilities. Even though it’s plainspoken poetry, the lessons are as powerful as any which come with more flowery, ornate language. And Dykewomon is more than willing to pass on the knowledge she’s gained. In “a poem for my unborn niece,” for example, she states: We all know a fat womon is/what she eats./Can we watch you eating?/You must be hiding something/in your flesh,/is it rage or sex?/C’mon, we’re your friends,/we just care about you and we want to see/where the fabric hugs the expanse of your/stomach/the rolls at your waist/the fat that collects in pockets on your upper back. This self-examination is brutally frank, but its honesty resonates with anyone who has been deemed different at some point. Powerful and poignant, this is a collection of life lessons worthy of everyone’s review.

You can buy a copy here: http://www.sinisterwisdom.org/whatcaniask

Free Marissa Now!

This press release is from Sinister Wisdom Contributor, Cathy Marston:

On Tuesday, January 27, 2015, a coalition of San Antonio groups and activists, including Free Battered Texas Women, will have a 5 p.m. press conference and 6:30 p.m. protest at the Bexar County Courthouse in solidarity with nationwide efforts to support pardoning African-American, battering-survivor Marissa Alexander, M.B.A.
Alexander’s ex-husband violated a protective order to break into her house and trapped, strangled, and beat her. She was weak from having giving birth 9 days before, yet escaped into the garage, where her door opener failed. She grabbed her gun, which she had a concealed-carry permit for, and went back in to fire a warning shot into the ceiling.
The police inexplicably arrested Alexander instead of her batterer; and she was convicted on a charge of aggravated assault, even though the shot did not hit him. She was sentenced to 20 years.
Alexander's conviction was overturned in 2013. At that time, her prosecutor, Angela Corey, vowed to retry Alexander and get her sentenced to three, consecutive sentences for 60 years! Despite national outrage, Corey was not stopped. The federal government did not step in. In November 2014, Alexander pled out to three, trumped-up felony charges; and the judge sentenced her to three years in prison. As Alexander had already served 1,030 days on the first case, she will be released 1/27/15. Alexander is being denied the protection of the very “Stand Your Ground” laws that the notorious George Zimmerman used to successful acquit himself in his shooting death of black, male, teenager Trayvon Martin.
The fact that Alexander is being denied her right to self-defense reveals the interlock of sexism and racism in our criminal justice system. Canadian feminist criminologist Laureen Snider and American, feminist criminologist Meda Chesney-Lind look at data from the 1983-2003 timeframe and find the total number of incarcerated males increased 303 percent from 1980-99, it increased 576 percent for females. They also find that between 1986 and 1991, African-American women’s incarceration rates for drug offences rose by 828 percent, that of Hispanic women by 328 percent, that of white women by 241 percent.
Texas police uniquely arrest battered women instead of their male batterers at least 20 percent of the time on a domestic-violence call, according to the Texas Council on Family Violence. TCFV adds that this misogynist atrocity only happens 20 percent of the time in other states. This is partly due to bias in interpreting our state’s self-defense waiver, which is codified in TEXAS PENAL CODE, SUBCHAPTER C, SECT. 9.31.
While California has recently passed a “Sin by Silence” bill and New York is readying to pass a “Domestic Violence Justice Act,” Texas has not had legislation on this issue since 1991. The 72nd Legislature passed Senate Combined Resolution 26, which mandated that the Board of Pardons and Paroles review women’s cases on first-degree felonies related to domestic violence for pardons. The women recommended for pardons by TCFV were denied them by the BPP; and this lonely provision has been forgotten.
Since Free Battered Texas Women began keeping statistics in 2005, women convicted of domestic-violence-related felonies report: 74% defended themselves; 16 % defended a third party (child or grandchild); and 10% did both.

This is a public-safety emergency! Remember SELF-DEFENSE IS A RIGHT! BATTERING IS A CRIME!

Contact Information:
Cathy Marston, PhD
Director, Free Battered Texas Women
P.O. Box 47
Schertz, TX 78154

Attachment: FBTW Fact Sheet

Note to Editors: This release was prepared with information from the following sources:
Frumlin, Aliyah. (2014). Melissa Alexander accepts plea deal. Retrieved from: http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/marissa-alexander-accepts-plea-deal. Nov. 24.
Law, Victoria. (2013). Trapped in the dark: Marissa Alexander and how our twisted legal system re-victimizes domestic-violence survivors. Retrieved from http://www.salon.com/2014/05/16/trapped_in_the_dark_marissa_alexander_an....
Marston, Cathy. (2014a). Defending our right to self-defense to counter the normalization of violence. La Voz de Esperanza, 27(8), 3-4, 6.
(2014b). Domestic violence awareness – Newsworthy or not? La Voz de Esperanza, 27(10), 7.
(2014c). Texas Families for Justice rally. La Voz de Esperanza, 27(10), 12.
(2011). Stopping the real ‘cycle of violence’: Patriarchal battering and the criminalization of women by American police. Journal of Prisoners on Prisons, 20(1), 72-78, 82-83.
(2010). Stopping Texas’s war on women. La Voz de Esperanza, 23(1), 7-9.
Slater, Anne. (2012). Growing campaign to free abuse survivor Marissa Alexander turns outrage into action. Freedom Socialist, 35(1), 6.
Snider, Laureen. (2003). Constituting the punishable woman: Atavistic man incarcerates postmodern woman. British Journal of Criminology, 43(2), 354-378.
Torres, Annaliza. (2014). Marissa Alexander out of jail but not free. Freedom Socialist, 35(1), 6.


Support OLOC!

Dear OLOC Sisters: December 2014

In the 1970s and 1980s I worked with others to produce some of our early lesbian concerts as well as the large San Francisco Pride Stage. Since then the occasions we get to feel that fabulous lesbian feminist energy seem to have dwindled...except when going to OLOC gatherings!

It’s thrilling to have an organization dedicated to Old Lesbians!! Here’s a list of why I give to OLOC.

Hopefully you share these sentiments:

-OLOC is committed to creating space for Lesbians

- OLOC has an amazing website with all sorts of practical and fun information, including contacts and resource lists. Check it out at: http://www.oloc.org/

-OLOC has fabulous regional networks with meetings and social gatherings

OLOC produces fantastic National Gatherings that are wild and wonderful and energizing and inclusive and deep

· OLOC is committed to creating space for Lesbians (did I say that already? It certainly bears repeating) and also challenging and opposing ageism, racism, classism, sexism, and ableism; standing in solidarity with allies for racial, economic, and social justice

At our age we know who supports these types of activities – only we do! So please open your hearts and minds and your checkbooks/credit cards and contribute to this amazing, one-of-a-kind Lesbian organization. And then tell all your friends to do it too!!

You can also donate via www.oloc.org, click the “donate” button.

Sisterhood is powerful!!

Diane Sabin, San Francisco, CA born 1952

Suggested donations are $1000.00, $500.00, $100.00, $75.00, $50.00, $25.00 and Other

Note that your donation will all be placed in the general fund unless you specify some of it for financial assistance. Financial assistance contributions will go to help economically distressed Old Lesbians attend the 2016 National Gathering in Atlanta, Georgia.

To use a PayPal account or a credit card through PayPal, go to oloc.org and click the donate button on the bottom left. On the bottom left of the PayPal opening page is the credit card information.

To send a check or money order, mail to:
PO Box 5853
Athens OH 45701

Whatever method you use, please mark in the "purpose" section of PayPal or somewhere on a check that it is for the December fundraiser. If you and a partner are contributing together, include her name, too.

Thank you so much.


Black Lesbian DIY Fest 2014 on October 18, 2014 from 11am-6pm

Black Lesbian DIY Fest 2014 aims to offer black lesbians and allies with materials and content on or ​about black lesbians an opportunity to sell zines, chapbooks, posters, art, pamphlets, small press books or any other forms of handmade or DIY print based items. It’s also an opportunity to build community inside an institution that strives to keep alive the memories of our ancestors, our herstory, and to bring together lesbians from across communities and worlds.

The DIY Fest will feature:
Vending of print based materials such as zines, small press books, chapbooks, posters by or about self-identified black lesbians.
Various workshops and skill shares.
A raffle with prizes from participating authors, artists, and sponsors.
Tour of the Archives.

Information about Black Lesbian DIY Fest 2014 can be found in the press release attached and here: http://blacklesbiansdiyfest.wordpress.com
and http://blacklesbiansdiyfest.wordpress.com/registration/

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/614179118696907/

For more information about the Lesbian Herstory Archives 40th Anniversary celebration, go to: http://lesbianherstoryarchives40thanniversary.wordpress.com/


More photos of Joan Nestle, Sinister Wisdom 94 co-editor, in Slovenia

More photos from our sister/comrade Lepa of Joan Nestle's visit to Slovenia.



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"Empowerment comes from ideas."

Gloria Anzaldúa

“And the metaphorical lenses we choose are crucial, having the power to magnify, create better focus, and correct our vision.”
― Charlene Carruthers

"Your silence will not protect you."

Audre Lorde

“It’s revolutionary to connect with love”
— Tourmaline

"Gender is the poetry each of us makes out of the language we are taught."

― Leslie Feinberg

“The problem with the use of language of Revolution without praxis is that it promises to change everything while keeping everything the same. “
— Leila Raven