We look forward to seeing you this September at &Now: Points of Convergence!
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Sunday, September 22 • 9:00am - 10:15am
Re-Building Realities: Experimental Forms & Formats in Queer Writing

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Traditional literary forms often strain to express lived experiences, particularly when those experiences do not conform to collective notions of reality. LGBTQ writers have, throughout history, found ways to convey non-normative experiences through literary experimentation. Our panel will examine techniques used by past and present queer writers to convey our experiences. Specifically, we will explore how alternative literary forms and formats can contribute to hybridity that can assist in re-working and re-building reality. Similar to postmodernists whose work attempted to disassemble hierarchies of authority, the writers we will discuss often work with fragmentation--however, for many of them, there seems to be a stronger desire to create a sense of community and connection through a process of reassembly than is true for most postmodernists. These ways of thinking can be particularly useful for all writers during times of flux, like our present moment, when reality feels destabilized by dysfunctional public discourse, the dismantling of governmental structures, and continuing climate catastrophe.

To provide context and guidance from the past, we will touch on Modernist writing and the way that queer writers of that time used experimental techniques to convey their experiences during an era of uncertainty. Then we will look at contemporary versions of the lyric essay, speculative memoir, and literary fantastic as well as experimental formats like zines, other independent publications, social media, and projects that are unconventionally bound as clothing or other artifacts. These texts may profess love for unusual/ignored things, redefine common terms, tell a true story in the form of a fairytale, or otherwise describe realities overlooked by mainstream publishing. Quite often, the authors attempt to create communities and narratives that they cannot find elsewhere, and it is in these attempts to assemble and connect that their work provides guidance for living with the unknown or the unstable.


Elanor Broker

Elanor Broker is a writer and civil rights attorney based in Portland, Oregon. Her work centers on creative non-fiction, with a focus on writing transgender experience, and has appeared in Slate, Catapult, Electric Literature, Gertrude Press, and other publications. She also served... Read More →

Rachel Linn

Rachel Linn writes and illustrates across multiple genres and mediums. Her published writing includes fiction (realist and surreal), nonfiction, and poetry and her visual art merges drawing, printmaking, and needlework techniques. She recently received an Artist Support Grant from... Read More →
avatar for Miranda Schmidt

Miranda Schmidt

Miranda Schmidt is a writer, editor, and teacher whose work has appeared in TriQuarterly, Orion, Catapult, Electric Literature, The Collagist, and other journals. She has taught creative writing at the Loft, the University of Washington, and Portland Community College and edited for... Read More →

Sunday September 22, 2019 9:00am - 10:15am PDT