What does it mean to call oneself a queer poet, artist or academic? What does it mean to attach adjectives: trans, feminist, genderqueer, gay, lesbian, or other descriptors to our descriptions of ourselves? This will be a talk on the creative act, specifically writing, as a pathway to an ever evolving identity. Poetry, fiction, academic writing, lyrical work - often begin in the yearning to carve out space in the culture at large for the absolute specificity of the individual voice. That voice often starts in a call of anguish, discomfort, rage, the insistence on a place and the invention of language where perhaps none existed before. Words, thoughts, even identities, can appear on the page before they are said out loud. I will share work and speak about my own journey as an artist, the beginnings of my writing life in a workshop with Gloria Anzalduá, my connection with the explosion of queer writing in the New York City of the 80’s and 90’s, as well as my evolving identity as a trans and genderqueer poet in recent decades.
Samuel Ace is the author of three collections of poetry: NORMAL SEX, HOME IN THREE DAYS, DON'T WASH., and most recently STEALTH, with poet Maureen Seaton. He is a recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, two-time finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in Poetry, winner of the Astraea Lesbian Writer’s Fund Prize in Poetry, The Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction, the Firecracker Alternative Book Award in poetry. He was also a recent finalist for the National Poetry Series. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals and anthologies such as Fence, Plume, Aufgabe, The Atlas Review, Black Clock, Mandorla, Volt, Kenyon Review, Rhino, Versal, The Collagist, Eleven Eleven, Tupelo Quarterly, The Volta, and Troubling the Line: Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics.