EP18circleThe Women in Visual Poetry: The Bechdel Test
curated by Jessica Smith
with Michelle Detorie, Gillian Devereux, K.S. Ernst, K. Lorraine Graham and Sheila Murphy
and an afterword by Maureen Thorson

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In EP 18, Jessica Smith prompts five female visual poets to discuss the current landscape of their community.
“Initially, my desire as an editor was to provoke interesting conversations about visual poetry among women who knew each others’ visual poetry, and knew each other, well. What emerged during the production process was different and more radical than I had anticipated. To me, the love of these women for each other and each other’s work is clear in the way they speak to each other. Here we have women openly taking up space together, talking to each other, loving each other, and creating with each other on a daily basis.”
Michelle Detorie lives in Santa Barbara, where she edits Hex Presse and coordinates the Writing Center at Santa Barbara City College. She is the author of numerous chapbooks, including Fur Birds (Insert Press), How Hate Got Hand (eohippus labs), and Bellum Letters (Dusie). She also makes visual poems, poetry objects, and time-based poetry. In 2007, Detorie was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship, and in 2010 she won a direct-to-artist grant from the Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative for her public art project, The Poetry Booth. Her first full-length collection, After-Cave, is just out from Ahsahta Press. Her current project, The Sin in Wilderness, is a book-length erasure project about love, animals and affective geography.
Gillian Devereux received her MFA in Poetry from Old Dominion University and directs the Writing Center at Wheelock College in Boston, where she also teaches creative writing. She is the author of Focus on Grammar and Twitter and Tumblr.
Much of K. S. Ernst’s work is painted, collaged or digital. In addition, she uses three-dimensional letters in freestanding sculptures. Her recent books include Drop Caps. Books with Sheila E. Murphy are Permutoria and 2 Juries + 2 Storeys = 4 Stories Toujours. Among places Ernst’s work can be found are The Brooklyn Museum, Ohio State University, The Sackner Collection, SUNY Buffalo and Yale University.
K. Lorraine Graham is the author of Terminal Humming from Edge Books, and a second collection forthcoming from Coconut Books in 2015, which will be called 1) Meta Horror 2) The Men Are Etcetera or 3) The Rest Is Censored. Occasionally she gets excited about transnational theory, network analysis and the relationship between technology and affect. Her current writing projects are about debt, anxiety and operatic suffering. She suddenly lives in Washington D.C. Wherever she lives, she lives with Lester Young, a pacific parrotlet, who is featured regularly on her Tumblr.
Sheila E. Murphy’s poetry has appeared over the past few decades in a wide variety of full-length books and other publications. In 1999, she began engaging with visual art, and has been active in visual poetry, both individually and in collaborative work, since the early twenty-first century. Her Letters to Unfinished J. received the Gertrude Stein Award from Green Integer Press. Murphy has led her eponymous consulting firm, Sheila Murphy, LLC, since 1994. Her expertise in organizational and executive leadership affords her considerable learning that she believes benefits her artistic endeavors.
Jessica Smith, Founding Editor of Foursquare and name magazines, serves as the Librarian for Indian Springs School, where she curates the Indian Springs School Visiting Writers Series. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, she received her MA in comparative literature, and her MLS from SUNY Buffalo, where she participated in the Poetics Program. She is the author of numerous chapbooks, including mnemotechnics (above/ground 2013), and two full-length books of poetry, Organic Furniture Cellar and the forthcoming Life-List (Chax).
Maureen Thorson is the author of two books of poetry: My Resignation and Applies to Oranges. She is also the author of a number of chapbooks and pamphlets, including The Woman, The Mirror, The Eye, forthcoming from Bloof Books in 2015. She lives in Washington D.C., where she is the poetry editor for Open Letters Monthly, an online arts and literature review.




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Essay Press is pleased to announce the two winners of the 2016 Essay Press Open Book Contest judged by Carla Harryman: Litany for the Long Moment by Mary-Kim Arnold and Of Sphere by Karla Kelsey, which will be published in Fall 2017.