3rd Sep 2012
My 3 Favourite…Literary Lady Adventurers
Not only were we lucky enough to get an interview with Anne Elizabeth Moore (which you will have seen earlier today) as part of her current blog tour, but are also thrilled to be hosting this guest post. Remember when we talked about the women adventurers who inspired us? Well today, Anne shares her favourite literary lady adventurers – those taking risks and challenging literary conventions – with us:
A couple of years ago, I created something called The Adventure School for Ladies, an experimental graduate program devoted to adventuring outside of the extremely strict boundaries of decency to which the ladylike are usually confined. It’s affected my notion of literary adventurers, too: I most appreciate those cultural producers who move outside of strict boundaries and make new playgrounds. Perhaps most pressing, it means I refuse to be bound by these strict restrictions on listing only three literary lady adventurers! I have provided four. Each deserves about a decade of your attention, feel free to start over from the beginning once you’ve gone through the list at that pace.
Terri Kapsalis (unknown-present)
A trained violinist, Kapsalis currently works in the areas between performance, sound, and writing. A mandatory reading list would include her books Public Privates, The Hysterical Alphabet, and Jane Adam’s Travel Medicine Kit, but such a list would overlook her work as an organizer (she helped found an anarchist theater in Chicago), as a performer (in sound, performance, and traditional art venues) and as a teacher (at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and at a women’s health center)—which mustn’t be done. A profoundly focused thinker and dedicated collaborator, Kapsalis does work almost designed to be overlooked but boy, will you get a lot out of the act of learning to perceive it. Read more about her here.
Lynda Barry (1956-present)
First published in the mid-1970’s, Barry began serializing her comics in the late 1980’s. Since then, she’s captured heartache and hilarity, pushing even what comics could be with her latest graphic works from Drawn and Quarterly: Picture This and What It Is. Plus when I told her about my last breakup she vowed to go back in time and beat up my ex. You can read more of the conversation that ensued here.
Diane Arbus (1923-1971)
A photographer (and writer) who simply wouldn’t be told there was no time or place she wasn’t wanted, Diane Arbus’ discomforting images—of freaks, but of regular things made freaky—belie an extreme sensibility within which such images were merely normal. She photographed children in distress, trans people, the mentally deficient, nudists, and the overly tall, but to get to them she surmounted barriers of economic class, race, and gender. Don’t get me wrong: she came from money, and had a successful career in commercial photography, but many wouldn’t bother adventuring from there.
Djuna Barnes (1892-1982)
Sadly, the Brooklyn Museum’s Djuna Barnes exhibition Newspaper Fiction: The New York Journalism of Djuna Barnes, 1913–1919 just closed. It collected her drop-dead gorgeous illustration and reporting work, establishing her as an incredibly thoughtful, diversely talented, and deeply engaged media-maker—far beyond the “lesbian novelist” tag she’s often granted when mentioned at all.
Keep your eyes peeled next week for our review of Anne Elizabeth Moore’s new book, Hip Hop Apsara: Ghosts Past and Present.