The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: South Texas Experience: Love Letters by Noemi Martinez


In honor of Autism Celebration Month, this selection comes from the book, South Texas Experience: Love Letters, available from Hermanx Resist Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Noemi Martinez is a crip queer femme poet-curanderx and writer with magical roots in Mexico and Puerto Rico living in the Rio Grande Valley, in deep South Texas. A long time zinester, Noemi is interested in alt.media, diy, solarpunk, crip futures and cyborg worlds. Her work was saved by her mother on her nightstand, a few of her friends have her books and a few friends might be in possession of her letters. https://twitter.com/hermanaresist

Nilsa Rivera Castro writes about women with a socio-economic disadvantage and the effect of trauma, hearing loss, homelessness, and violence in their lives. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens, The Selkie Literary Magazine, LipServices Miami, Writing Class Radio, and The Cream Literary Alliance. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @nilsawrites.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Fever Dream/Take Heart by Valyntina Grenier

NEROLI

Lost echo
an arching sigh
Segments of citrus
your love is mine
I trace a helix over your sleeping eye
The tips of a trident
lift me
I float on my back
my arms spread wide
as I course out to sea
beseeching Chaos/ infinity
Help me
What is it
The embarrassment
the fulfillment
What
A sinister whorl


In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, this selection comes from the book, Fever Dream/Take Heart, available from Cathexis Northwest Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Valyntina Grenier’s FEVER DREAM / TAKE HEARTmarks a poetic “double debut” with a tête-bêche chapbook, two titles bound upside-down with two front covers (featuring paintings by Grenier), which can be read from either side. The poems shape their sense from sound, but do not hesitate to critique/navigate/decipher reality with a feminist protest. Associative and dreamy, the poems also prove to be starkly political. They explore how we are miraculously alive in the midst of degrading political and weather systems. Some of the poems derive their initial lexicon from source texts, but they all confront the tenderness and violence that mark our human natures. With subtle humor, word play, and linguistic inventions, Grenier has written a surprising tour de force whose discrete short books, taken together, range from the sexual and sinister to the prayerful and divine.

Nilsa Rivera Castro writes about women with a socio-economic disadvantage and the effect of trauma, hearing loss, homelessness, and violence in their lives. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens, The Selkie Literary Magazine, LipServices Miami, Writing Class Radio, and The Cream Literary Alliance. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @nilsawrites.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Fever Dream/Take Heart by Valyntina Grenier

CREATION MYTH

He tells the child about the turn of the seasons
about seeds and how flowers rise
Her chest compresses against the bathroom sink
He gazes in his eyes jerking and panting lies
See it’s raining he sighs
+
As I touch the bleeding swords of the sun
I say as I climb
through the scorching front seats
I’ll drive
to the center of the sun
to save our lives
I leap stone steps
built into the curve of a tower wall
to find my self dreaming this life
I run screaming to my mother’s side
away from a future
adolescent me
revolving slowly in a cave
w/ rays of light streaming
from my mouth nose and eyes
Fetal light like the tip of my toddler finger
translucent over the power light
on my great grandmother’s electric organ


In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, this selection comes from the book, Fever Dream/Take Heart, available from Cathexis Northwest Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Valyntina Grenier’s FEVER DREAM / TAKE HEARTmarks a poetic “double debut” with a tête-bêche chapbook, two titles bound upside-down with two front covers (featuring paintings by Grenier), which can be read from either side. The poems shape their sense from sound, but do not hesitate to critique/navigate/decipher reality with a feminist protest. Associative and dreamy, the poems also prove to be starkly political. They explore how we are miraculously alive in the midst of degrading political and weather systems. Some of the poems derive their initial lexicon from source texts, but they all confront the tenderness and violence that mark our human natures. With subtle humor, word play, and linguistic inventions, Grenier has written a surprising tour de force whose discrete short books, taken together, range from the sexual and sinister to the prayerful and divine.

Nilsa Rivera Castro writes about women with a socio-economic disadvantage and the effect of trauma, hearing loss, homelessness, and violence in their lives. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens, The Selkie Literary Magazine, LipServices Miami, Writing Class Radio, and The Cream Literary Alliance. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @nilsawrites.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Fever Dream/Take Heart by Valyntina Grenier

KITTEN AND CROCODILE

The soft nape of her neck
Woman and god
another rape another child
Why are there twins
Why does it thunder
We make this wind
its wrath


In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, this selection comes from the book, Fever Dream/Take Heart, available from Cathexis Northwest Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Valyntina Grenier’s FEVER DREAM / TAKE HEARTmarks a poetic “double debut” with a tête-bêche chapbook, two titles bound upside-down with two front covers (featuring paintings by Grenier), which can be read from either side. The poems shape their sense from sound, but do not hesitate to critique/navigate/decipher reality with a feminist protest. Associative and dreamy, the poems also prove to be starkly political. They explore how we are miraculously alive in the midst of degrading political and weather systems. Some of the poems derive their initial lexicon from source texts, but they all confront the tenderness and violence that mark our human natures. With subtle humor, word play, and linguistic inventions, Grenier has written a surprising tour de force whose discrete short books, taken together, range from the sexual and sinister to the prayerful and divine.

Nilsa Rivera Castro writes about women with a socio-economic disadvantage and the effect of trauma, hearing loss, homelessness, and violence in their lives. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens, The Selkie Literary Magazine, LipServices Miami, Writing Class Radio, and The Cream Literary Alliance. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @nilsawrites.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Fever Dream/Take Heart by Valyntina Grenier

WE’RE POSSIBLY OUT OF CAKE
our brainstay
Tomorrow earth clear skies /w
degrees of intervention and departing no
spontaneously combusting selfblind
a chance of embitterment or cathexis
I feel it arriving something fast
making against some same
Sine and rain we condensate
Think of beads of mist gathering
along the outside of a water glass
Cool down against them and we do
have a pool
on some deeper hunter from go


In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, this selection comes from the book, Fever Dream/Take Heart, available from Cathexis Northwest Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Valyntina Grenier’s FEVER DREAM / TAKE HEARTmarks a poetic “double debut” with a tête-bêche chapbook, two titles bound upside-down with two front covers (featuring paintings by Grenier), which can be read from either side. The poems shape their sense from sound, but do not hesitate to critique/navigate/decipher reality with a feminist protest. Associative and dreamy, the poems also prove to be starkly political. They explore how we are miraculously alive in the midst of degrading political and weather systems. Some of the poems derive their initial lexicon from source texts, but they all confront the tenderness and violence that mark our human natures. With subtle humor, word play, and linguistic inventions, Grenier has written a surprising tour de force whose discrete short books, taken together, range from the sexual and sinister to the prayerful and divine.

Nilsa Rivera Castro writes about women with a socio-economic disadvantage and the effect of trauma, hearing loss, homelessness, and violence in their lives. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens, The Selkie Literary Magazine, LipServices Miami, Writing Class Radio, and The Cream Literary Alliance. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @nilsawrites.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Fever Dream/Take Heart by Valyntina Grenier

CAPILLARY ACTION

Fish in bird flight
the whistle blows
one lonely boat
turns on the sea


In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, this selection comes from the book, Fever Dream/Take Heart, available from Cathexis Northwest Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Valyntina Grenier’s FEVER DREAM / TAKE HEARTmarks a poetic “double debut” with a tête-bêche chapbook, two titles bound upside-down with two front covers (featuring paintings by Grenier), which can be read from either side. The poems shape their sense from sound, but do not hesitate to critique/navigate/decipher reality with a feminist protest. Associative and dreamy, the poems also prove to be starkly political. They explore how we are miraculously alive in the midst of degrading political and weather systems. Some of the poems derive their initial lexicon from source texts, but they all confront the tenderness and violence that mark our human natures. With subtle humor, word play, and linguistic inventions, Grenier has written a surprising tour de force whose discrete short books, taken together, range from the sexual and sinister to the prayerful and divine.

Nilsa Rivera Castro writes about women with a socio-economic disadvantage and the effect of trauma, hearing loss, homelessness, and violence in their lives. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens, The Selkie Literary Magazine, LipServices Miami, Writing Class Radio, and The Cream Literary Alliance. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @nilsawrites.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: All We Knew But Couldn’t Say by Joanne Vannicola

I needed the silence. The page and pen became my friends, my confidantes, my soft place. It would be the one place where my thoughts, voice, politics, ideology, and identity could exist freely.

I believe that I will be okay. I believe that using my life for the purpose of helping others matters. That creating space and being okay within my own skin matter — being authentic and vocal, emotional and present, trying new things, and even if I fail, getting up to try again. And if I am lucky, I will learn many lessons and rise to as many occasions as present themselves. What exists in me now is the belief that I can make a difference, that my story and life experiences have value. I have much more to do in the world. Art, writing, poetry, music, film, and self-expression matter.

In my deepest place, I go to gratitude and love. It’s love and hope that keeps me motivated, the idea that there is so much more out there. And there are so many young people who have it right, like the Parkland students and young feminists and intersectional queer kids who are ahead of my generation culturally and politically, who are invested in the equity of race and gender, of embracing our differences, and of helping the planet and changing the world. So many beautiful souls.

It is impossible to continue without mentioning the Me Too movement and the women who are bringing awareness to sexual violence and rape. Brave women such as Anita Hill and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and, in Canada, women like Lucy DeCoutere — warriors who stand up in the face of hatred and fear and speak out regardless.

Historically, there has always been backlash against women who stand up and against any movement that threatens the power of those who hold it, that tries to right the wrongs of oppression: misogyny, racism, homophobia.

We will win these battles one day. We need to believe that.

As writer and civil rights activist Audre Lorde said, “Revolution is not a one-time event.”


In honor of National Women’s History Month, this selection comes from the book, All We Knew But Couldn’t Say, available from DunDurn Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Joanne Vannicola is an Emmy award-winning actor, author, and advocate. Vannicola is the chair of outACTRAto, the LGBTQ+ committee at ACTRA Toronto, and sits on the sexual assault ad-hoc committee for women in film and television. Vannicola is the recipient of the Leslie Yeo award for volunteerism (2019), and the recipient of The Margaret Trudeau Advocacy Award (2020). Joanne founded the non-profit organization, Youth Out Loud, raising awareness about child abuse, sexual violence, youth rights, and LGBTQ+ equality. http://www.youthoutloud.ca All We Knew But Couldn’t Say, was released in June, 2019, and has been featured as the Top 21 memoirs to read in summer by Bustle magazine, and was featured on The Next Chapter by Shelagh Rogers, the Toronto Star, the Globe, CTV mornings, NOW Magazine, The Girly Club, and the Lambda Literary Reviews. They are currently co-developing a new series, and working on their second book, exploring themes of LGBTQI homelessness. You can learn more at: http://www.joannevannicola.com. Or on Twitter or Instragram: @joannevannicola

Nilsa Rivera Castro writes about women with a socio-economic disadvantage and the effect of trauma, hearing loss, homelessness, and violence in their lives. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens, The Selkie Literary Magazine, LipServices Miami, Writing Class Radio, and The Cream Literary Alliance. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @nilsawrites.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: All We Knew But Couldn’t Say by Joanne Vannicola

I HELD ON TO MY SECRETS about my mother in feminist circles. I had to. No one talked about women who hurt women. I didn’t want to take away from the larger conversations about sexism,
racism, or male violence against women, but when I started to ask or mention the idea of women as perpetrators, I was chastised. It kept me out of the circle, unable to speak to it because the space was
needed to talk about misogyny. I understood because I felt the same way, except I needed to be silent once again, even though I wanted to fight the women who screamed at me, and on a few occasions I did.
“It doesn’t mean I hate women because they hurt me. I know what it’s like to be hurt by men.” I wanted to say It’s not my fault. It wasn’t, wasn’t my fault that I carried my mother on my back, all
the shame she heaped on my shoulders. I apologized for exposing it when I heard things like “It’s so rare, there aren’t even any stats” or “It’s not the same.”

I wasn’t comparing, and if it was rare, then I was rare but just as real.

But it wasn’t healthy to apologize for a history I had no part in making. They could not hold on to my reality while battling sexism; it inspired a rage in others I didn’t know what to do with, so I apologized.

Women could not let go of their ideas of the struggling mother or the good mother or the abused wife, and the narrative I presented took away from that focus. But people forgot the context — that men and women who grew up in violence or abuse were not immune to repeating the patterns of abuse simply because they might be female. We hadn’t been able to get the culture to acknowledge that sexism and male violence were at the core of so many of our struggles as women, so to expose the abusive woman, the abusive mother, was just too much for many.
Women may live in a misogynist culture, but so, too, do women have power over those more vulnerable: children. We do no one any good by believing we do not have power, or power over. Just
as my mother had been an abused girl, had been victimized by the province she grew up in and the rules of her generation, she, too, had power over her children. All of this was true at the same time.

I couldn’t allow myself to feel invisible, not after surviving both my parents, not after the journey to get to where I had arrived. It had been a lifetime of trying to tell. I could not speak when I was a
child, could not find words as an adolescent, had nearly died from starvation while trying to tell the world about my mother and my father, and had almost erased my lesbian identity to keep others
safe, to not rock the boat, to fit into the industry. It had been a lifetime of secrets. I could not allow my reality to be dismissed in order to protect someone or something else anymore.

Every woman I met carried their experiences in their bodies. It was in every face and story shared, even by the most stoic and brave of women, the toughest women or butches, even those who
had killed men or had been in prison, whose armour cracked and who shed tears while recounting the wounds of homophobia, hate, rape. I presented an unusual and complex reality without reference for others, which made it difficult to believe and hold.

So I found solace in silence again, the safest space.


In honor of National Women’s History Month, this selection comes from the book, All We Knew But Couldn’t Say, available from DunDurn Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Joanne Vannicola is an Emmy award-winning actor, author, and advocate. Vannicola is the chair of outACTRAto, the LGBTQ+ committee at ACTRA Toronto, and sits on the sexual assault ad-hoc committee for women in film and television. Vannicola is the recipient of the Leslie Yeo award for volunteerism (2019), and the recipient of The Margaret Trudeau Advocacy Award (2020). Joanne founded the non-profit organization, Youth Out Loud, raising awareness about child abuse, sexual violence, youth rights, and LGBTQ+ equality. http://www.youthoutloud.ca All We Knew But Couldn’t Say, was released in June, 2019, and has been featured as the Top 21 memoirs to read in summer by Bustle magazine, and was featured on The Next Chapter by Shelagh Rogers, the Toronto Star, the Globe, CTV mornings, NOW Magazine, The Girly Club, and the Lambda Literary Reviews. They are currently co-developing a new series, and working on their second book, exploring themes of LGBTQI homelessness. You can learn more at: http://www.joannevannicola.com. Or on Twitter or Instragram: @joannevannicola

Nilsa Rivera Castro writes about women with a socio-economic disadvantage and the effect of trauma, hearing loss, homelessness, and violence in their lives. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens, The Selkie Literary Magazine, LipServices Miami, Writing Class Radio, and The Cream Literary Alliance. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @nilsawrites.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: All We Knew But Couldn’t Say by Joanne Vannicola

“We have received a complaint about you both,” said the director of the program at George Brown College. Elia and I were taking some courses together and had both been summoned.
“You’re kidding, right?” Elia asked as if she already knew why.
“What for?” I asked.
“There was a complaint about your kissing in front of the school.”
“Are you serious?” Elia asked.
I didn’t say anything. For the first time in my life I had a girlfriend who was demonstrative, who didn’t hide her lesbianism and did not care what other people thought. Fuck them. I had a right to kiss outside like other young lovers did. Being gay was no longer a crime under the law. If we wanted to kiss, that was our choice.
The meeting with the director didn’t last long. She knew she had no right to ask us to hide.
“Let’s have a kiss-in,” Elia said when we were outside again,
looking around at all the other students who shared programs with us. “I wonder who the homophobes are?” Elia and I looked for straight couples. Were other people kissing, holding each other?
Was someone looking at us with a scowl on his or her face?
“Kiss me now,” I said to Elia, making sure we were as close to each other as possible, facing each other on the steps in front of the main doors with our hands reaching out to one another. We kissed as if it were our wedding day.
After a long kiss we walked back inside the school and went to class.
We made it a rule to kiss as often as we could on campus. Other people would just have to deal with it. We hadn’t committed any crime, and unless kissing was going to be regulated for all students in love, straight and gay, then we would kiss every chance we had.


In honor of National Women’s History Month, this selection comes from the book, All We Knew But Couldn’t Say, available from DunDurn Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Joanne Vannicola is an Emmy award-winning actor, author, and advocate. Vannicola is the chair of outACTRAto, the LGBTQ+ committee at ACTRA Toronto, and sits on the sexual assault ad-hoc committee for women in film and television. Vannicola is the recipient of the Leslie Yeo award for volunteerism (2019), and the recipient of The Margaret Trudeau Advocacy Award (2020). Joanne founded the non-profit organization, Youth Out Loud, raising awareness about child abuse, sexual violence, youth rights, and LGBTQ+ equality. http://www.youthoutloud.ca All We Knew But Couldn’t Say, was released in June, 2019, and has been featured as the Top 21 memoirs to read in summer by Bustle magazine, and was featured on The Next Chapter by Shelagh Rogers, the Toronto Star, the Globe, CTV mornings, NOW Magazine, The Girly Club, and the Lambda Literary Reviews. They are currently co-developing a new series, and working on their second book, exploring themes of LGBTQI homelessness. You can learn more at: http://www.joannevannicola.com. Or on Twitter or Instragram: @joannevannicola

Nilsa Rivera Castro writes about women with a socio-economic disadvantage and the effect of trauma, hearing loss, homelessness, and violence in their lives. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens, The Selkie Literary Magazine, LipServices Miami, Writing Class Radio, and The Cream Literary Alliance. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @nilsawrites.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: All We Knew But Couldn’t Say by Joanne Vannicola

I had thought that once I’d escaped my mother and my past, once I’d found independence, that somehow all my fantasies and dreams would come true. It was all a lie, all a bunch of false information that we ingested from television shows, news, and school, the fallacy of a
better tomorrow. Lies.
There would be nothing better, nothing to look forward to. I knew too much. I believed I knew everything there was to know. I believed that kids like me, from violent or broken homes, couldn’t buy in to societal norms. They were lies, imposed concepts — marriage and children, houses, nine-to-five jobs — designed to keep us in line. Lines I had no use for. I lived outside of them. I wanted nothing to do with them. With anything.

I was fifteen and no longer satisfied with just starving.


In honor of National Women’s History Month, this selection comes from the book, All We Knew But Couldn’t Say, available from DunDurn Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Joanne Vannicola is an Emmy award-winning actor, author, and advocate. Vannicola is the chair of outACTRAto, the LGBTQ+ committee at ACTRA Toronto, and sits on the sexual assault ad-hoc committee for women in film and television. Vannicola is the recipient of the Leslie Yeo award for volunteerism (2019), and the recipient of The Margaret Trudeau Advocacy Award (2020). Joanne founded the non-profit organization, Youth Out Loud, raising awareness about child abuse, sexual violence, youth rights, and LGBTQ+ equality. http://www.youthoutloud.ca All We Knew But Couldn’t Say, was released in June, 2019, and has been featured as the Top 21 memoirs to read in summer by Bustle magazine, and was featured on The Next Chapter by Shelagh Rogers, the Toronto Star, the Globe, CTV mornings, NOW Magazine, The Girly Club, and the Lambda Literary Reviews. They are currently co-developing a new series, and working on their second book, exploring themes of LGBTQI homelessness. You can learn more at: http://www.joannevannicola.com. Or on Twitter or Instragram: @joannevannicola

Nilsa Rivera Castro writes about women with a socio-economic disadvantage and the effect of trauma, hearing loss, homelessness, and violence in their lives. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens, The Selkie Literary Magazine, LipServices Miami, Writing Class Radio, and The Cream Literary Alliance. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @nilsawrites.