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Poet Collin Kelley Explores Adolescence and Sexuality in New Collection

Poet Collin Kelley Explores Adolescence and Sexuality in New Collection

Author: David Mattar

March 26, 2013

Though established as a journalist and novelist, Collin Kelley is also a poet, and until recently, tucked poetry in the passenger seat. In The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kelley details his writing process and the nurturing of his new collection, explaining the artistic links between himself and Virginia-born artist Sally Mann and how her work jolted his love for poetry once more:

As I was writing [Render] and the stanzas that catalogue her body of work, something kind of clicked in my head, and I was like, “You know what? I’ve kind of written about all of this stuff, in a way.” And so I went back and started looking at the poems again.

Mann’s work explores Civil War battlefields and the Body Farm (a research facility where human bodies are allowed to decompose in the open air for the sake of science) through photography and Kelley, discovering parallels between her work and his, proposed the idea of “a book of photographs in poetry,” propelling his poetic ambition with this in mind.

Supportive to the writing of others, Kelley is co-director of the Atlanta Queer Literary Festival and is deeply involved in Atlanta’s literature community. Kelly is aware that his poetry is “a calling”, a labour of love: “You’re not going to make a living off poetry. […] You do it for the art. Which is a cliché, but it’s true.”

Transgender Queer Theorist and Activist Kate Bornstein Rebukes Cancer With the Help of Friends

Having grappled with CLL (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia) for over fifteen years, Bornstein now has the weight of lung cancer drooping from her neck—recently diagnosed with the disease in August. Author of My Gender Workbook and Gender Outlaw, Kate has pushed the cultural acknowledgement of sexuality and gender to knifepoint, hurtling queer identity and expression into social consciousness. Laura Vogel, a friend of Kate’s, launched the “Go Fund Me” campaign on March 20 in an attempt to help lift the weight of treatment prices and has so far raised $59,000 of the targeted $100,000.

This surge of appreciation and support has ignited a ferocious determination to survive for Bornstein in order to carry on with her work. She tells the Huffington Post:

I was ready to die. I was making plans, but everybody has given me some extra time. It helped me find a good reason to stay alive. I haven’t always had one.

Intimate Letters of Willa Cather Reveal “Emotional Attachments” to Women

The Selected Letters of Willa Cather is to be published next month, nearly seven decades after her death, exciting literary scholars with the promise of a deeper understanding into the psyche of a writer whose personal life was something of a trapdoor secret. The compilations of letters that are to be published were thought to have been destroyed by Cather herself in an attempt to stifle any debate about her sexuality.

In a preface to the book, Ms. Stout and Mr. Jewell acknowledge that the publication of the letters defies the wishes Cather expressed in her will, however, it is argued in The New York Times that the publication “advances the deeper purpose of Cather’s restrictions: cementing her status as a major literary artist”:

These lively, illuminating letters will do nothing to damage her reputation, [they reveal her as] a complicated, funny, brilliant, flinty, sensitive, sometimes confounding human being.

Egyptian Feminist Nawal El Saadawi Condemned for “Promoting Gayness”

Saadawi is an ardent feminist, activist and writer who tackles the distresses of women in Islam, confronting, in particular, the practice of female genital mutilation. She recently published an article praising the Tunisian Feminist movement and the leading Islamist party, Ennahda, for their recent burst of support for female equality. Her article was informed by a visit to Tunisia during International Women’s day where she was welcomed warmly by the countries president and several other ministers.

Al-Fajr, Tunisia’s ruling party’s official paper, smeared Saadawi immediately after publishing the article, claiming that she promoted “homosexuality” and “prostitution”. Fadi, editor of GayDayMagconcludes that:

This is just one more proof to showcase Ennahda party’s hypocrisy. […] On the one hand they fill our ears with all the nice words they know we want to hear about the democratic transition and the other hand here comes their official paper to reveal again their sick ideology.

(Photo: Collin Kelly via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

David Mattar photo

About: David Mattar

David (Day) Mattar currently studies and lives in Liverpool, UK, where he studies English and Creative Writing. His poetry has appeared in Radical Faery Digest magazine and In The Red, where his essay, 'The Importance of Tea' was also published. He plans to move to NYC after graduation to apply for a MFA in Creative Writing.

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