The Poem. The Poet. The People. Queer Women Poets On The Road: Revival 2012.
Author: Jade Foster
July 10, 2012
“To revive means to bring something back.
Or maybe it’s just a reminder to remember.”
Poetry loved me first. From sixth grade, to high school, to undergrad, the word/s followed me. And it was in college I learned that a poet exists not without the poem, and the poem exists not without the people. I had me and I had the poem. But the people were few and far between.
Where were they? Why weren’t they coming out? I was forced to question. And why weren’t they interested in my chapbook!?
A salon-styled tour of queer women artists, The Revival, is a literary search for those people, those women like me who don’t quite fit in where we’re supposed to. With dynamic performances from poets and musicians alike, The Revival weaves a night of artistry, libations and genuine fellowship. With the support of the community, the backing of our leaders, we aim to share language and a reclaim space, between Toronto, DC, Atlanta, New York and more. As a poet–and one of the founders of Revival–I never won a poetry slam while the rhetoric of the academics bored me. As a person, being gay pariahed me from the pews of my church, yet everywhere else I was asked to be petty things– my color, my clothes, my gender identity…No I have never been like them.
To revive means to improve the condition of…
Or maybe this effort is a convincing that I was never wrong in the first place.
Contrary to the media, the news, the billboards; we as women have something terrible in common and that’s each other. On the road, I was surrounded by 7 artists, half of us complete strangers cooking breakfast, trading stories, sharing lotion, driving shifts. Nobody is ass up. We remember each other’s names and our lines. Nobody is face down. T’ai throws in a new piece every time. Nobody is bitch. LOVE the poet pushes her books. Nobody is pussy. We are women on the road, fearless and stuck sometimes in crazy traffic. Flailing our arms, blasting Bob Marley, tweeting the next city that we are on our way. Calling out to the women, the rum, the rhythm of Chicago and hard rock.
To revive means to bring something back.
Or maybe it’s just a reminder to remember.
They (the media) say we are basketball wives and Dominican blow outs. We are. But we are so much more than boi and femme, thatway and dyke. We are. But we are so much more than Black women making a deliberate choice to listen to each other to love each other. And we do this with no example but ourselves. We do this to survive.
The Revival honors a queer tradition by utilizing the home as a safe space. Individuals offered a sanctuary for us to kiss in corner pockets; to share language, clandestine and direct. You enter a living room full of music and there’s no section for VIP. At The Revival, you can easily weave from raptured audience member to stage performer, one moment thirsty and another quenched. You might walk in a stranger, Whose house is this? you ask. And later you are hostess–you point another to the bathroom. You go outside to smoke. You help wash the dishes. All because you can, and because you want to. It’s as if everyone in the room has some sweet secret, and finally you were in on it.
The Revival is a reminder that I am different, yes. But I have never been and never will be alone. In our third year of touring this effort joins of synergy of queer women creatives in film, in transformative justice, in healing work and practices. We are honored to build with a collective of city sisters this fall including Durham’s Mobile Homecoming Project, Toronto’s People’s Project, DC’s Al Sura Foundation, and Brooklyn’s LGBT Pride Center. We are excited to work with these organizations and the spirits behind them to offer free poetry workshops in every city on the tour, connect folk across state lines and internet wires, to continue. I’ve so many people, and the poem, the poem has never left my side.