Sunday 16 June 2013

irreverent goddesses : photographic evidence

irreverent goddesses : Prue & Nisha

Irreverent Goddesses: Tantric and Flippant Feminisms in Dialogue


PC Flippancy is defined as a disrespectful levity or casualness, usually expected of a subject who is talkative and in the case of my poetics, is borne of a congenital lack of seriousness. That is not to suggest that the politics and subject matter, in this case feminism, is not of great weight, but that the attitude and response to it does not demonstrate the gravitas it warrants.
     Flippancy operates as a tone of voice, an affectation, in part – a performance – of a constantly moving and faithless reporting of the unfolding feminist politics of contemporary London. The tone is realised through a first-person, who moves throughout the city, attending different events, writing highly subjective lyrics about the experience. Although not disassociated from emotion, flippancy is an attempt to demonstrate humility, the possibilities for bathos that refuses both heroes and idols. It is an attempt to articulate disjunctures and misfits within a category in which one ostensibly fits.
     In The Promise of Happiness Sara Ahmed writes about the difficulty of being a feminist, and concludes ‘the history of feminism is thus a history of making trouble’, and my flippancy is an attempt to cause difficulty both within and without my chosen political category. Flippancy is also an assertion of individuality, or at least autonomy, despite my affiliation with a very specific collective. Despite feminism’s need for a united front, the politics benefits from a multiplicity of adherents, to avoid the development of an exclusive category. Ahmed writes that adopting positions ‘require one accepts that one’s own position might anger others and hence allow one’s position to be opened to critique by others’. The flippant speaker within my writing, while critical is simultaneously critiqued through its positioning in dialogue with wider-ranging feminism. This sense of mutual irritation and reciprocal troubling are vital to the progression of a movement that undergoes constant permutation to reflect social change.

NR You’ve just heard the argument against heroes and idols, but what about a little Goddess worship? Let’s throw humility to the wolves, puff up our chests and speak with booming voices. Let’s demonstrate our powers, tell the truth or shamelessly exaggerate, hold hands and sing or stand alone at the top of a mountain and scream bloody murder. The Goddess is a tricky symbol – she elicits a range of reactions, sending shudders and sparks through the crowd. She is an object of religious faith in a multitude of cultures, and yet she is ridiculous and blasphemous according to Abrahamic religious conventions. She is a clay figurine, she tickles the ears of male poets, she leads wild women to smear mud on their breasts, she resides within the modern girl, helping her to achieve domestic bliss… She is all of these versions simultaneously; your fingers get caught as you try to untangle her hair.
     The epic trilogy Iovis is Anne Waldman’s meditation on the historical, mythological, and social institution of male power. Men are denounced and deified, but Waldman is no demure priestess, trembling at the feet of her gods. She smokes with the men, argues about politics and philosophy, and then channels that anger and sly pleasure into her Beat-Buddhist-feminist poetics. She is the Goddess you don’t want to mess with (and not afraid to say so herself), the frustratingly beautiful bellicose woman: ‘What is a hero in poetry? What does waiting in ambush mean? What are words for this battle cry? What are the anapests doing in my sleep? Why do I wake up crying every day and loathe the lack of courage that could change this. Women most of you O women unite.’[1]
     The Goddess and Western feminist movements converged explicitly in the 1970s, although the relationship between the Goddess and women is ancient and complex. The Goddess transforms across vast historical and geographical distances, she is whatever she needs to be for specific communities and moments in time. Fragments of myth and ritual stick to her skin as she rolls into the contemporary – Goddess poetics embraces, appropriates, and encourages women to reimagine themselves as everything and nothing all at once.

Friday 22 February 2013

body : documentation : Becky

An absent fem body

In an anxious state of knowing I am not there and knowing you are there I sit and begin to consider what the thoughts may be or the words are and whether they are broken or full or both and will be both and will have stutter and breath and be of your body. This is body in my absence and is body in the action of being here and not there. The here is of its present and there is of a future. Both now will have shifted and altered as body and time have shifted from there and here and here and now. Movement of time in body as my body moves in time it is out of time with yours in another space in the same space and always in another space. The other space is.

Regulated as absent it was a striking look from there.

The present. Moving away from it is the position of where.

They are in my mind.

Steady as hip against side of chain.

Left there her bareness startles in constant forward of on-going.

Can a point drift further from this. Hip up and paralleled across.

Flattens out over come with non. Go between the negative yeah. Handling it as they do will.

They are in my on-going.

Left and across its leg bends to contract a joint going.

Having spent time combing it now moves.

To just stop is not enough. A way.

They are in my thinking.

Pointing further in the way of body. I aim to move from it.

Lengthening away from. Toward. Going.

Let it rest in the cup of it likening the wood to her bare neck as it moves.

They can ask. They going on in up motions pointing at. Closely.

Gentle and in a speaking voice let there considerations strike them.

How to stay to wait on to stutter through. Lining.

In action of non there is a present hole in. Because.

Shifting a code. Gender is less than it has.

Offering in an empathy. They progress.

In having it here. It is body.

Saturday 9 February 2013

voice : documentation : Eley

Sprechstimme [Minutes of a Meeting]

i. Their initials spell P-E-N which is a pretty trick.
ii. The speaker of the house is portable - Nisha carried her here in a pale body-bag.
iii. Our spectrum-correspondent caused colours to be discussed, and appropriate palates are established.

I’m discussing with either a) Canova’s The Three Graces or b), in terms of hair colour


the issue of ventriloquism, of braiding throats, of making statements ambient when you’re aiming to be easier on the ear than on the eye; ‘a face and poetry for radio,’ someone could have said, and her tastebud ellipses would Braille off into the King’s Cross Orion’s Belt Centre for Collaboration (trepanning for peepholes, there: that’s memory for you). More personas than chins, than limbs, the emphasis has a dying fall upon prosody - you can mewl some of the people some of the time but Plath sounded like she could present Listen With Mother and charge by the minute. According to yesterday’s news I’m [this] much closer to walking down an approved aisle at an approved pace while today a spokesman ‘emerged from a horsemeat summit’. If you’re going to topsy-turvy policy and activism I may as well

E: [raises yoghurt-spoon warningly]

get the words out in the right order for the three small bones of your ear and their metaphors that recall blacksmithery and gob-jockeys.

Friday 8 February 2013

voice : documentation : Prue

When you read
your reluctant cunt
poem I find it
erotic:             all mystics
are brown she says
& I check my privilege
with a big white smile

& the problem with getting involved
with a witch doctor ethnic-box-ticked
kind of woman is she says
I want you
to be the
grinning skull
of my ritual;
hair washed in Malbec
& alcoholic tannin
dictionaries &
soon enough we’re in
on Wednesday nights
planning how best to
queer her outfits for
the trendy poetics

which has evenings South
of where she’ll go with me
but even if it’s egotism were
we to mix like a compass
breaking on the pavement
& resolve this mess in undress
it’d be fucking wonderful

I drink a lot of
cheap wine today
to forget who I
would really like
to fuck            and last week
his heart was the Tooting street
outside against mine beating back-
to-chest  with this London
historic palpitating all ours to hold
like being 21 & aesthetically
all this sameness
with hair colour nostalgia

oh baby                      --- why do you resent me so?
I just can’t leave you alone
you suit these stanzas like
a well-fitted three piece
& if I were all stone & compacted fat
do you think we’d flirt like fingers
type-writing Steve McCaffery style
because I’d like to redo the communist
manifesto between your fingers & more

maybe have a carnival all our own
if we’re prepared to cut between the
papers & make mistakes like Alice did
when she played secretary in an
elaborate game of sleep deprivation
& secretary/boss

& while I still  would prefer to be the poodle
Eley is drinking blood somewhere in Twickenham
Nisha is deciding on a new London locatedness &
Emma has forsaken technology for her fabricated
Northern living                      coal fuelled & bleak 

and Her regime III