They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.
I saw this sign at the Oakland Women’s March on Saturday, and it has stuck with me since. I’ve found myself repeating these words to myself over and over again. There is power, I’ve understood, in that which others attempt to keep hidden. As writers, we have the added advantage of letting those seeds sprout into story. We put those stories on paper and add water. We nurture the stories as they develop. This is one of the great powers of story – through our words, we are able to endure, to rise, to grow.
If you are a member of this caucus, you probably understand what it means to be metaphorically buried. But even within our sphere, there are groups that are less visible, whether because of a combination of othernesss or because the group operates in less traditional (and often invisible or less respected) forms. From a panel about creating community outside of academia to another that hails “voices that have rarely been heard” to others about publishing these voices and their varied forms (and another about keeping those voices in print!), together, these 5 events highlight branches of our caucus everyone should check out!
Academic affiliation is not an option for many people of color, economically poor, geographically isolated, or traditionally excluded groups. Panelists show how systems used for community organizing can be shifted to grassroots artistic organizing in the form of cultural centers, worker centers, readings, & workshops. Community building around art and literature creates a means of access for under-served communities. Attendees will leave with tangible solutions and plans for action. Panelists: Jennifer Fitzgerald, Rodrigo Toscano, Rosalyn Spencer, Ailish Hopper, Rosebud Ben-Oni
Details: Thursday, 9:00 am to 10:15 am, Liberty Salon I, J, & K, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
Trans artists/editors/publishers of color shepherd daily into the world innovative work that is highly crafted. Immersed in our present material conditions, decolonially reimagining our pasts and futures, temporally/geographically refiguring the wheres and whens of our storied bodies, responding to calls issued by our communities as we issue our own, this panel posits the possibilities of our presence, our generative genealogies, and the care with which we consider our compositional/communal praxis. Panelists: Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán, Ryka Aoki, Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko, A.J. Alana Ka’imi Bryce, Max Wolf Valerio
Details: Thursday, 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm, Room 102A, Washington Convention Center, Level One
Zines, drag performance, oral history, feminist spoken word, and even 1950s and 1960s men’s physique magazines are among the folk forms that infuse LGBTQ writing. How can we reappraise these less celebrated forms and draw on them to energize the words we write today? This panel’s writers—invigorated by engagements around race, immigration, DIY, and queer punk ideologies, gender nonconformity, and other considerations—show how we can re-imagine and recast these vital forms in our own work. Panelists: Tom Cho, Derrick Austin, Juliana Delgado Lopera, Michelle Tea, Sassafras Lowrey
Details: Friday, 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm, Room 208AB, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Due to ableism, homophobia, and transphobia, the voices of LGBTQIA and disabled poets have rarely been heard. The panel I Sing the Body Queer and Crip will focus on the intersectionality of disability and queer poetics. Each panelist will read their poetry for five to seven minutes; then talk from five to seven minutes about their work. The remainder of the panel will be Q&A with the audience. Panelists: Kathi Wolfe, Meg Day, Lydia X. Z. Brown, Raymond Luczak, Donna Minkowitz
Details: Saturday, 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm, Room 207A, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
The publications of many important LGBTQ writers have fallen out of print and become inaccessible to readers today. This situation poses special challenges for LGBTQ authors published by small independent presses. As readers, editors, and publishers, how can we uncover and restore LGBTQ writing in danger of being lost? How can this work be brought to new readers’ attention? With our AWP audience, we will reflect on the recovery of this marginalized literary history, culture, and community. Panelists: Philip Clark, Lisa C. Moore, Julie R. Enszer, Jan Freeman, Stephen Motika
Details: Saturday, 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm, Salon F, Washington Convention Center, Level One