Left/Write Conference 1981
I hold myself accountable to several communities: working class, gay, lesbian, feminist, leftist. Judy Grahn.
Art is not a way out. There is no way out. There’s only what we’ve got and how to turn it around to reinforce our fighting genius. Judy Grahn
Just because Cuba isn’t advocating lesbianism or homosexuality, it’s because they’re trying to solve problems 100 times more acute and more important to the people. Aljendro Murguia
In the USA, when we say something takes time, it means we’re not going to do it. Robert Chrisman
The left has done its best to hide behind the skirts, or actually jockstraps, of patriarchy and has made a fetish out of “great men” to look up to. Ted Matthews.
“the single most common accusation made about left writing is that it’s rhetorical. In 1930’s magazines such as New Masses and Partisan Review, cultural analysis and political strategy were seen to be closely interrelated. ” David Plotke
Native American writers:
Wendy Rose: reviewers say they are not qualified to review this writing because they don’t have an anthology background. Bookstore put our novels in the anthropology department,
Also the juvenile section, in libraries too, as though they had to be kids stories.
[Bob's aside: just as they put mine in Human Sexuality, Gay Sexuality etc.]
Sha’am Wilson Hayes
I see three basic resources for financial assistance. First is self-help. Second is “relative assistance” or assistance from your relatives. The third is manna from foundations which is of course rapidly drying up. There few new blooms in site, under the leadership of Shah Reagan.”
Discussion of how Black Nationalism and Lesbian Separatism have conservative elements. Discussion of black vs African American. “You try things out until they work”
A workshop on Translation as a Political Took against Poundism
A poem travels language to language and across time as common property, a portion of a greater text still to be elaborated, and “otherness that fecundates the commonplace, a translation turns us toward the original and beyond. A process that of both paraphrase and invention, it modifies the metabolism of the imagination, the earth’s intangible tilt. Michael Kotch
The question is not whom to translate but how. Do you want to preserve the cultural uniqueness of the poem or do you want to make it understood in San Francisco. Somewhere the potatoes is common, elsewhere it may be a luxury. Woman with German accent
There hasn’t always been an opportunity to read works by women of color. In some bookstores I still see their books in the “race” section separated from the woman’s section. Gabrielle Daniels
There is a moneyed establishment that feels if you write about El Salvador it’s not feminist writing but if you write about Tampax it is. Unidentified woman.
Discussion of new technologies as a means of publication.
Fewer podiums, more dialogue.
I see the cassette tape recorder as a lethal weapon. Vanguards of us should go out with radio cassette players and play some consciousness. Kush
Well, native people got poems from other planets. David Moe
In 1947 the California Labor School conducted the last conference in San Francisco like this one. But the school and the movements it launched was smashed by McCarthyism. What we are here today for is to make sure we are not smashed by Reaganism.” William Mandel.
This is one of the most exciting days of my life as a writer. Ron Silliman
In 1977 168,000 volumes of poetry sold, fewer than the 192,000 rapes reported that year. Ron Silliman.
We live in a class society. There is a bourgeoisie, lumpen proletariat and distinctions between peasants and intellectuals. RV Cottam
She found it odd that sexuality and the Soviet Union were the cutting edges of the conference and felt, therefore, gays and lesbians needed to rethink their relationships to the Left. Amber was more convinced now that ever we have to maintain autonomous movements or we’d be lost.
An unhealthy dose of militaristic politics both east and west has created a milieu of transfigured decadence, lunatic humor and bizarre behavior that defies American Tradition. It is an encircled phenomena with its roots in dada, futurism of fascistic Italy, constructivism of revolutionary Russia, surrealism, nihilism, anarchism, and film noir of Hollywood in the thirties. Richard Irwin
Ecology as a common denominator David Moe.