So to Speak Panel at AWP on Thursday: Don’t Miss It!!

If you’re headed to the AWP conference in Chicago this week, make sure to attend So to Speak’s panel, which will feature an engaging discussion about the feminist literary label by four incredible writers!

“Troubling the Label: When Does a Text Become Feminist?” will feature the voices of award-winning feminist writers, publishers, and activists Arielle Greenberg, Cate Marvin, Eloise Klein Healy, and Ru Freeman. See the bottom of this post for bios. The panel will be held in Continental C, Hilton Chicago, Lobby Level, at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday. Here is a brief description of the panel:

From conception to critique, what is the significance of when the label is applied? Does it matter who applies it? How do we interpret works of literature through a contemporary feminist context? So to Speak: A Feminist Journal of Language and Art brings together writers, publishers, and academics to discuss the stage at which a work is labeled feminist and the issues implicated with labeling, writing, and publishing socially conscious work.

Our panelists include poets, prose writers, publishers, academics, and activists, representing diversity of identities and points of view within the literary world. Topics of interest to readers and writers across genres include: how feminism informs the agenda of content and form; how the labeling of texts and identities influences feminist contexts within cultural diversity; how social issues inform literary work; and how feminism can exist outside of academic institutions.

A few of the questions we’ll be asking our panelists include:

“When” or “at what point” does the feminist label get applied to a text? Is it at the moment of conception?  In a book review?  In a university class? Are there different criteria for labelling a text “feminist”? Is the label “different” according to who applies it? What is the difference, if any, between writing a feminist text, interpreting a text as feminist, or publishing a text as feminist?

What can “feminist activism” in academia mean in a broader context? Can feminist journals working within the confines of a university have the pulse of the people outside of academic communities? Can such journals inspire and enact change? Why are feminist literary journals and presses necessary?


A book signing with all the panelists and the So to Speak staff will immediately follow the event at our bookfair table, L18, which is listed in the conference program under “Phoebe/So to Speak.” The panelists’ books will be for sale, and they will be happy to sign copies. We will also be selling copies of the newest issue of So to Speak, back issues, and subscriptions, and we’ve got conference goodies to give out, as well! Make sure to stop by and say hello!

Stay connected to us in Chicago and at home via Twitter for up-to-the-minute news about the panel and more.



Arielle Greenberg (Panel Moderator, former STS poetry judge and contributor):


Arielle Greenberg is the author of the poetry collections My Kafka Century (2005) and Given (2002) and the chapbooks Shake Her (2009; to be reprinted in 2012) and Farther Down: Songs from the Allergy Trials (2003). She is also co-author, with Rachel Zucker, of the hybrid genre nonfiction book Home/Birth: A Poemic (2011). She is co-editor of four poetry anthologies: with Rachel Zucker, Women Poets on Mentorship: Efforts and Affections (2008) and Starting Today: Poems from Obama’s First 100 Days (2010); and with Lara Glenum, Gurlesque, based on a theory Greenberg originated (2010). She is also editing, with Becca Klaver, an anthology of contemporary poetry on girlhood aimed at teenage girls. Greenberg is the poetry editor for the journal Black Clock, a contributing editor for the Spoon River Poetry Review, a founder and former co-editor of the journal Court Green, and the founder-moderator of the poet-moms listserv. She recently left an Associate Professor position in the poetry program at Columbia College Chicago to move to rural Maine with her family.


Ru Freeman (STS 2012 Fiction Contest Judge)


Ru Freeman was born into a family of writers and many boys in Colombo, Sri Lanka. After a year of informal study at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia, she attended Bates College in Maine. She completed her Masters in Labor Relations at the University of Colombo. Her political writing has appeared in English and in translation. Freeman’s creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in many journals, including Guernica, Story Quarterly, Crab Orchard Review, and World Literature Today, and has been nominated for the Best New American Voices anthologies in 2006 and 2008. She is a contributing editorial board member of the Asian American Literary Review, and a fellow of Yaddo. and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her debut novel, A Disobedient Girl was long-listed for the DSC South Asian Literary Prize. She calls both Sri Lanka and America home and writes about the people and countries underneath her skin.


Eloise Klein Healy:


Eloise Klein Healy has published numerous collections of poetry, including The Islands Project: Poems for Sappho (2007); Passing (2002), a finalist for both the Lambda Literary Award in Poetry and Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Lesbian Poetry Prize; and Artemis in Echo Park (1991), which was also nominated for the Lambda Book Award. Healy’s work has been featured in many anthologies, including The World in Us: Lesbian and Gay Poetry of the Next Wave (2001), Another City: Writing from Los Angeles (2001), and The Geography of Home: California’s Poetry of Place (1999). Healy co-founded ECO-ARTS, a venture combining ecotourism and the arts, and in 2006 established Arktoi Books, an imprint with Red Hen Press specializing in the work of lesbian writers. Healy has taught at California State University Northridge, where she directed the Women’s Studies Program, and at the Feminist Studio Workshop in the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles. She was the founding chair of the MFA program at Antioch University Los Angeles, where she won the inaugural Horace Mann Award.



Cate Marvin:


Cate Marvin’s first book, World’s Tallest Disaster, was chosen by Robert Pinksy for the 2000 Kathryn A. Morton Prize and published by Sarabande Books in 2001. In 2002, she received the Kate Tufts Discovery Prize. Her poems have appeared in The New England Review, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Fence, The Paris Review, The Cincinnati Review, Slate, Verse, Boston Review, and Ninth Letter. She is co-editor with poet Michael Dumanis of the anthology Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (2006). Her second book of poems, Fragment of the Head of a Queen, was published by Sarabande in August 2007. A recent Whiting Award recipient and 2007 NYFA Gregory Millard Fellow, she teaches poetry writing in Lesley University’s Low-Residency M.F.A. Program and is an associate professor in creative writing at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York.




(Bios courtesy,, the Poetry Foundation, and, respectively.)


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