Over years of working on literary publications, I have never felt particularly compelled to self-disclose as a radical queer editor, instead hoping that the writers I support would make clear my editorial interests. Today, Red Hen Press editor Kate Gale’s tone-deaf, reactionary—perhaps satirical?—piece “AWP Is Us,” posted at Huffington Post, illustrates publishing’s implicit & explicit intolerance for critical engagement with intersectional oppression and its influence on art & literature. Today, I realize that my silence has been a mistake.
So here goes: I, Jesse Rice-Evans, hereby vocalize my ongoing commitment to seek out and publish queer & trans writers, authors of color, writers of varying dis/ability & class, and any writer similarly committed to dismantling the exclusionary fascist bullshit demarcated by Kate Gale’s oblivious editorial. As a queer, educated, white grrl-presenting poet, I am fully able to slip into privileged literary spaces, evidenced by my gatekeeper status as editor and writing instructor. It is of utmost importance to my practice in both of these spheres to remain committed to inclusion, challenging neoliberal & apologist discourses, and the act of becoming as necessary for any person of privilege interested in challenging the very real oppression within publishing.
The challenge of who discloses in submissions is also up for debate; I have not felt it integral to the experience of my work to self-identify as [whatever], but I am also questioning if this is misguided. Publishing is still incredibly insular, overwhelmingly white, cis, straight, wealthy, and otherwise paralleling normative, exclusionary patterns that dominate our cultural narrative. By neglecting to explicitly come out as an editor (or a writer) committed to rejecting those paradigms and publishing authors who challenge hegemony, I have done all writers who have submitted/will submit to Identity Theory and other publications I have worked for a great disservice.
I am deeply disappointed that an editor at an influential small press such as Red Hen would show her (racist) ass quite like this, but in truth, I am not surprised. (And I’m not surprised one bit at Gale’s affiliation with and blind defense of AWP, aka Apologist White Poets.) For my own well-being, I have elected to stay the fuck out of publishing as paid work for exactly this reason, but I am now doubly committed to signal-boosting writers of color and queers, and publishing them whenever I am lucky enough to have the opportunity.
I’m so pleased the online response to Gale’s willful ignorance of how institutions operate and her baffling writing style has been so strong. There are enough politically literate writers & publishing folks to push hard against these unacceptable incarnations of oppression in our community, and folks are out there fighting back. Let’s find each other! And buy each others’ books!
A great new essay by Rachel Wilkinson on late-stage capitalism, activism & academia, and family.
Excited to continue churning out fabulous releases from talented writers. Y’all make editing a thrilling gig.
Shut up and read. This goes for all of us, even/especially folks already familiar with these topics. Systemic racism never stops evolving, and we can’t either.
Good advice for folks doing social justice work willy-nilly: stop.
I hate the news. I try to avoid it at all costs and get my information from smart, critical sources like Professor Crunk.
Still waiting for white male pathology to be termed what it is: terrorism.
No matter what sort of bureaucratic nightmare I have to suffer to work as a professional writing tutor, the frustrations pale next to the exciting, multi-talented students that I get to support and challenge.
I have had an extra vibrant string of students this week–sociological studies on Michael Jackson, human geography of Tanzania, critical analyses of fast food and white pseudo-activism. Community college is obviously more diverse than my tiny liberal arts alma mater, and the students I tutor are no exception. Their opinions and experience often challenge my own academically-steeped politics, and I have to shut my white, Bachelor’s degreed, class privileged mouth and hear what they have to say. It’s humbling to be reminded that queerness and gender non-conformance aren’t the limits of diversity in my current tutoring job.
Too bad admin is such a mess, because SCCC students rule.