Friday, May 29, 2009

Arielle Greenberg's comment on the Gurlesque

[Since it came in rather late in the "gurlesque" thread, I thought I would repost Arielle's comment:]

I mostly want to stay out of this conversation, but one point needs clarifying: I came up with the term and notion of the Gurlesque; I do NOT consider myself a Gurlesque poet, mostly. Some of my work veers that way; much of it definitely does not. The Gurlesque is (some of) the critical work I do, not the creative (by and large). So you might be understandably confused about the term indeed if you were to look to my own work to define it (as it seems some are).

But also, just as I have some pretty Gurlesque poems and other not Gurlesque poems, some of the folks Lara and I talk about in our antho are Gurlesque in one project and not in another. I don't exclusively write one kind of poetry--in fact, the pregnancy stuff Seth heard in Iowa is creative non-fiction, not even poetry, and is a political project. It's unlike any other creative work I (or Rachel) has done. Just a note to say it seems a little silly to completely define any one artist by any one work--and this was never my intention by coining the Gurlesque term, nor was it my intention to limit the term to one gender or one nationality or anything like that. I was/am just mapping a constellation I see happening, and trying to figure out where it's coming from as far as I can tell (hence the focus on the USA; I claim no in-depth cultural literacy about most other countries) and am interested in the expansions and exceptions everyone is suggesting.

But also, finally, there's nothing inherently "normative" about pregnancy any more than there is about sequins, drag, abortions or what have you, in terms of poetics, as far as I'm concerned. It's what you *do* with the content, not the content, that counts. And, too, believe me: pregnancy, a state in which you grow a live being inside of your body, and a time which is full of blood, excretion, discomfort, etc., can be pretty darn grotesque, not to mention burlesque!


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