5.12.2004

The last section of my trilogy DaDaDa (Salt Publishing, 2003), is a book-length section of visual and sound poetry called "Legendary." It has, among other things, visual poems about female fashion designers, starlets, and strippers. Alas, there's a single prose poem (about Elsa Shiaparelli). I'm sure you know that Daphne Gottlieb (FINAL GIRL) and Martine Bellen (THE VULNERABILITY OF ORDER) are working in a similar area.

I didn't want to just send poems, when I know Arsenal isn't particularly interested in them. I would like to propose a brief "brief" I suppose, sort of like an explanatory author review of my book with embedded poems, or

perhaps together with Daphne's and Martine's and some others, a juicier than normal essay about how poets are treating your theme, with a few good quotes?

Call for Submissions

Marilyn Monroe, Mary Magdalene, Medusa; the Virgin Mary, the Mudflap Girl, Amazonia the 50-foot woman; Little Red Riding Hood, Foxy Brown, Playboy Bunny, Joan of Arc; Florence Nightingale, Wonder Woman, Pope Joan; Annie Oakley, Barbie, Frida Kahlo; Venus in Furs, Betty Boop, Calamity Jane, Jezebel . . .

Creative & Theoretical Framework

The 'female' has been a timeless yet culturally unstable site from the rise, fall, and re-emergence of the Goddess to changing notions of the 'mother' and social mores surrounding 'slut,' all at once reviled and desired. The female icon is a site where the 'female' is stabilized - made static and sterile - it can be argued that the icon is about cultural sublimation of fear for the 'feminine,' on mass scale. Hothead Paisan, by creator Diane Dimassa, is one of the few contemporary exceptions. Stripped of power, the highly-produced icon allows the culture to dislocate aspects of femininity that are frightening and place them in a repository. Because the icon doesn't exist as 'real' - rather as a screen upon which we project, undesirable aspects of femininity are denied, rewritten, controlled, and contained in palatable morsels. Cultural instability between desire and repulsion is what produces the female icon; this place of unrest is what Red Light: Superheroes, Saints, and Sluts seeks to explore.

Red Light: Superheroes, Saints, and Sluts will be published in fall 2005 by Arsenal Pulp Press.

Objectives

· To explore what female icons can, and do, mean for us
· To contradict popular culture's one-dimensional representations of 'girl power' for the purposes selling ideals of naturalized femininity back to us
· To present icons that are not taken up in popular culture- women who are queer, of colour, of all body types and sizes, and of diverse gender experience
· To elucidate complexity and contradiction in our lives
· To critique, with humour, what may or may not be a guilty pleasure of dressing up Barbie, collecting Wonder Woman comics, or feeling thwarted by the Mudflap Girl
· To present new interpretations of female icons - superheroes, saints, and sluts - created in our images, for our lives

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