VIDA: woMEN in literary arts

(Courtney Sanchez)

This is what happens when you place a dozen women in a room together: they start talking about men. Talking can eventually lead to opposition. Too much analysis can lead to feelings of confusion that require pain-numbing substances, coffee and alcohol enter here. Reverse the order and up the dosage and things start getting better. I am confused by women like me, who can plan an evening for ourselves—a ladies night when the word man is not to be used—but at some point, we will talk about men. And after attending the reading to benefit VIDA on March 29th at the Makeout Room I feel I am not the only one. There is comfort to be found in this, but I have to wonder: will we ever be able to give them up?

As much as there is a feminist in a bounty of women, we own our existences. We don’t want to need a man; we really don’t need men until… Kim Addonizio takes the microphone and tells us all about her “Penis Blues,” a hilarious poem about side-effects of bad break-ups and four year droughts (completed by a soundtrack of a broken musician’s cry). It is then that I am reminded of why so many craftswomen of words are compelled to write about some dick who dicked away the time she gave him.

Susan Steinberg’s ardent realism feels instinctual and is something that I am still holding onto. Her awareness of the taboo topics that we all think up and attempt to keep hushed is unearthly—”ugly people doing their ugly fucked up shit,” as she would say. Both she and Erin Belieu were peerless at making the audience able to relate to their words. Belieu is the woman who stands up for all injustices, won’t take it, will proclaim it and make you think about it. I enjoyed every performance and say that with conviction. It was electrifying to spend an evening with such ludicrously talented women. The conversation that Cate Marvin and Erin Belieu (co-founders) have started via VIDA is fundumental in building a solid foundation for women in literary arts and the community that surrounds them.

Join the conversation:

Erin Belieu

Kaite Williams

Susan Steinberg

Arisa White

Cheryl Strayed

Kim Addonizio

Danielle Pafunda

Keckla Magoon

Camille Dungy

Lucy Corin

Ann Townsend

Cate Marvin