"Writing White: Martha Collins’ Poetry of Collective Memory." Literary Imagination, 23.2 (2021): 232-247, https://doi.org/10.1093/litimag/imab011
In this paper, I examine Martha Collins' Blue Front (Graywolf, 2006), White Papers (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012), and Admit One: An American Scrapbook (University of Pittsburg Press, 2016). This “trilogy” of collections trace Collins' personal exploration of what it means to "write white” through a documentary technique, incorporating research and quoted material into the poems. In so doing, I assert that Collins’ poems become vessels of collective memory, showing white readers that the history of racial violence, white supremacy, and scientific racism must be incorporated, not only into their conception of whiteness, but also into their understanding of contemporary race issues.
"Beloved 'Yous' In the News: Juliana Spahr's This Connection of Everyone With Lungs." The Writer's Chronicle, 51.2 (2018): 79-86.
This paper explores how contemporary American poet Juliana Spahr harnesses this liminal poetic space of poetry in This Connection of Everyone With Lungs (2005). In this collection, which contains two lengthy sequences on 9/11 and the resulting "War on Terror," Spahr punctures the normally intimate enclosure of the lyric with references to the 24-hour news cycle, creating a diary-like documentary poem in which the personal and political intermingle. Encouraging readers to enter into a liminal space of collision and connection, Spahr directly invokes them as “beloveds,” “yous” who too are connected, interpenetrated and implicated, by the events of the world around us. Citing research into the psychological impact of the 24/7 news cycle, I argue Spahr uses the two long poems of the collection to move herself and her readers from a posture of protective detachment to a state of open, conscious connection both with the news and one another. As such, This Connection illustrate how the genre of poetry can be used to work against the retreat the news often inspires, especially during times of national turmoil and political unrest.
"Riot Grrrls Grow Up Gurlesque: Extending the Inheritance." Electric Gurlesque. Eds. Lara Glenum, Arielle Greenberg, and Becca Klaver. Saturnalia Books. Forthcoming.
In this article, I read poems from the first Gurlesque anthology alongside Bikini Kill songs and Riot Grrrl zines, exploring the way these texts' discourses of gender and sexuality are repeated and reworked in the Gurlesque. Additionally, I discuss poet Amy King's critique of the first anthology's heteronormativity, positing the Riot Grrrl concept of "girl love" as an unclaimed inheritance that might be productively embraced, especially by those Gurlesque artists who identify as straight.
“Eat, Pray, Love: Producing the Female Neoliberal Spiritual Subject.” The Journal of Popular Culture. Wiley Periodicals, www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com, 21 Sept. 2011. Advanced Online Publication. Appeared in Print: The Journal of Popular Culture 47.3 (2014): 613-633.
In this article, I interrogate the vision of spirituality presented in Elizabeth Gilbert’s popular memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, specifically examining the way in which the marketing machine surrounding the book encourages women to enact a depoliticized un-emancipatory version of feminism that equates empowerment with consumerism, a move that dovetails nicely with the capitalist aims of neoliberalism. Since Gilbert’s memoir hangs heavily on her experience of travel, in the latter half of this paper, I outline the problematic effects created by the EPL brand’s positioning of tourism as means of enlightenment.
"A Poet's 'Canny Acts of Sabotage': Diasporic Language in Cathy Park Hong's Dance Dance Revolution." College Literature 43.4 (2016): 645-667.
Cathy Park Hong’s second collection of poetry, Dance Dance Revolution (2007), introduces us to the Desert, a futuristic city through which the Guide, a post-revolutionary South Korean woman, leads an unnamed Historian. In this poetic allegory, Hong exposes readers to the defamiliarizing effects of “Desert Creole,” a linguistic creation that captures the “busy traffic” of an English run through a diasporic blender, creolized to become a language of many tongues. Using Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s concept of deterritorialization, this essay illustrates how “Desert Creole” subverts the hegemony of standardized English by unsettling systems of power that connect citizenship to fluency. By situating this language within a migrant population that embraces a similar cultural hybridity, I argue Hong offers readers a model for coalition that recasts revolution for a global era.
“’Female Poet’ as Revolutionary Grotesque: Feminist Transgression in the Poetry of Ch’oe
Sŭng-ja, Kim Hyesoon, and Yi Yŏn-ju.” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 29.2 (2010): 395-415.
In South Korea male poets are commonly referred to as siin (poet), while women poets are simply called yŏryu siin (female poet). As yŏryu siin, women poets are expected to write sentimental, “pretty” poetry that conforms to Korean poetic traditions as well as gender norms of femininity. In a radical transgression of these norms, the poems of contemporary South Korean poets Ch’oe Sŭng-ja, Kim Hyesoon, and Yi Yŏn-ju function like the body of a female grotesque as they seep from the page, protruding with images of violence, vomit, trash, bodily decay, and death. The poems’ “ugly” images weep an excess which transgresses not only Korean gender norms, but the strictures of the yŏryu siin literary tradition. By writing poems which are neither gentle nor pretty, Ch’oe, Kim, and Yi employ what I call the “poetics of the grotesque” to challenge Korean patriarchal gender constructions and to contest the rosy visions fostered by Korean nationalism. By embracing the seepage of the abject, these poets subvert the restrictive façades of beauty and social acceptability in favor of a grotesque permeability that creates openings within their work through which a new language of Korean womanhood can be voiced. Reading these poets’ work within the framework of Mikhail Bhaktin’s theory of the grotesque and Julia Kristeva’s concept of the abject illuminates how this work creates the problematic body of a female grotesque: a body which claims the unsettling power of ugliness to challenge and transform culture.
“Moving Beyond Necessary Targets: The Role of the American Feminist in Transnational Activism.” Michigan Feminist Studies. 23.1 (2010): 33-52.
In this paper, I critique Eve Ensler’s construction of the “proper” role of the American transnational feminist activist as it emerges from the pages of her 2001 play, Necessary Targets. Based on Ensler’s own experience, Necessary Targets explores the conflicts of two American psychologists who travel to Bosnia to work with traumatized refugee women. While I ultimately claim that Ensler fails to present a productive model for transnational activism, Necessary Targets provides a jumping off point from which to discuss the future of transnational feminism from an American perspective. As Necessary Targets illustrates, if American feminists are not self-reflexive about our national positioning in relation to those we seek to “help,” we will fail to collaborate in ways that bring about effective change both “here” and “there.” Thus, alongside my critical reading of the play’s characters, I examine how an American feminist who desires to work successfully with women, feminists, and organizations in other countries can construct a role that moves beyond a “necessary target.”