Cultural Activisms

Poetic Voices, Political Voices

Edited by Gertrude M. James Gonzalez & Anne J. M. Mamary

Subjects: Lesbian / Gay Studies
Paperback : 9780791439661, 374 pages, December 1998
Hardcover : 9780791439654, 374 pages, January 1999

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Table of contents



I. Winged Tongues

Pauline Kaldas
Bird Lessons
In Line, Waiting
In the Park

Regie Cabico
The Trick

Cathy Daley
Live Girls

Pat Parker
For the white person who wants to know how to be my friend

Olivia Gude
Marcus Akinlana
Beatriz Santiago Munoz
Innovators and Elders: Painting in the Streets

Joanna Kadi
Moving from Cultural Appropriation toward Ethical Cultural Connections

Carlos J. Serrano
Latino Chess
Visit with Doc to Find My Identity

II. Passages

Britt Alice Coles
Drawing on Myself

Marcia Douglas
The Ascania Docks in Soughampton, circa 1955

Charles Peterson
A Long Way from Home

Myra Love
Reality's Friends

Susanne de Lotbiniere-Harwood
ACTING THE (RE)WRITER: a feminist translator's practice of space

What I Have to Do

James Baldwin
The Price of the Ticket

III. Spinning Memories

Ellen Frye

D. H. Melhem
Plain String
Gulf War

Alison Marchant
Wall Paper History

Gertrude M. James Gonzalez
Fading Prints of Childhood in St. Croix

Lucy R. Lippard

Adrienne Rich
Through Corralitos Under Rolls of Cloud
I. Through corralitos, under rolls of clouds
II. Showering after 'flu; stripping the bed
III. If you know who died in that bed, do you know
IV. That light of outrage is the light of history
V. She who died on that bed sees it her way

Paula Ross

IV. Bones & Shadow

Ronald Gonzalez
Devil Things

Martin Espada
The Hidalgo's Hat and a Hawk's Bell of Gold
The Skull beneath the Skin of the Mango
When Songs Become Water
Cuando los cantos se vuelven agua

Essex Hemphill
In the Life
Family Jewels
Pressing Flats

Nkiru Nzegwu
may the bullet not find me: Writing Memories, Writing Identity

Elizabeth Clare
Battle Rock
How to Talk to a New Lover about Cerebral Palsy

Jo Whitehouse Cochran
A Bone's Story
Trickster's Song
End of the Rainbow

Carolyn Forche
Book Codes: I
Book Codes: II
Book Codes: III

V. Night Blossoms

Jeffner Allen
tea on the beach at midnight

Becky Birtha
My Vision of a Women's Community
The Way I Want to Be Friends

Anna J. M. Mamary
Performance Art

Tamai Kobayashi
Duet in which the beloved remains silent

Thomas Glave
Baychester: A Memory

David Williams
Made in Mexico
Palo Santo
Light in the Highlands
Getting Through

PJ McGann
On the Transformation of Theory into Poetry and Praxis

Audre Lorde
The Politics of Addiction
The Night-Blooming Jasmine


Offers a multiple-genred mosaic of multiple resistances to oppression through a variety of styles and mediums.


This text presents art and writing which is political rather than theorizing about how art and writing might be political. The wide array of voices and styles is one of the book's strengths as it not only offers a multi-faceted approach toward activism and positive change, but also speaks a range of emotions from anger, passion, and fear, to joy and courage. This book also opens and creates space for the humor and hope which can come even in the presence of violence and despair.

Gertrude M. James Gonzalez is a Ph.D. candidate at State University of New York at Binghamton. Anne JM Mamary is Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy at St. Lawrence University.


"I found the book fascinating. When I sat down to read, I found I literally did not want to put it down. In this era of 'healing spirituality' and discussions of 'self identity' and 'self expression,' there are many people who wonder about the place of politics and activism. This book takes on the task of unabashedly drawing connections between cultural work and political work. I don't know of any volume that brings so many approaches together in a meaningful way." — Camilla Townsend, Colgate University

"In the beautifully written introduction, the editors provide an insightful analysis of the context in which cultural activism is produced and experienced today. Their explanation of terms such as 'resistance,' 'culture,' and 'activism' are useful for the scholar as well as the student. Though brief, the introduction goes to the heart of many of the issues and themes in contemporary cultural activism: issues such as writing and image-making (production), pedagogy (teaching and learning), reading (reception), and collaboration; themes such as language, location, history and memory, the body, mourning and loss, intimacy, and connection.

"I found this book to be one of the most interesting and engaging literary-artistic collections I've ever read. Many times while reading, I found myself lingering over passages so as to savor each and every word. There are few collections in this field that provide the range of genre and depth of issues and themes identified by the editors of Cultural Activisms." — Michelle Meyers, Independent Scholar