Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A.I.R. Fellowship in memory of Emma Bee Bernstein

A.I.R. Gallery is honored to announce the permanent naming of one of its yearly A.I.R. Fellowship Program Awards in memory of the artist, activist, writer, and feminist Emma Bee Bernstein (1985-2008). A.I.R. Gallery’s Fellowship Program supports the burgeoning careers of six emerging and underrepresented women artists each year. In recognition of Emma’s significant contributions as a young artist, writer and feminist, each year one Fellowship Recipient, under the age of thirty, will receive the additional honor of holding the A.I.R. Emma Bee Bernstein Fellowship.

Contributions towards The Emma Bee Bernstein Fellowship can be made at www.airgallery.org or can be sent to A.I.R. Gallery, 111 Front St., #228, Brooklyn, NY 11201. A.I.R. Gallery is a not-for-profit 503(c) organization. All donors will be acknowledged on A.I.R. Fellowship Program materials.

Emma Bee Bernstein graduated from the University of Chicago in 2007, receiving a BA with honors in Visual Arts and Art History. She exhibited her work at the Smart Museum in Chicago, the University of Chicago, as well as A.I.R. Gallery. Her writings on feminism and art were published in M/E/A/N/I/N/G Online and in a tribute volume, The Belladonna Elders Series #4. In Emma's Dilemma, a film directed by Henry Hills, Bernstein interviewed dozens of artists from the downtown NYC art scene. GirlDrive, a book of interviews and photographs on the younger generation’s relation to feminism, co-authored with Nona Willis Aronowitz, will be published by Seal Press in the fall of 2009. Bernstein worked as a curatorial assistant at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Renaissance Society; as a docent at the Smart Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Museum; as a Teaching Artist at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art; and was an involved mentor and teacher for the Step Up Women's Network. Emma Bee Bernstein was the daughter of A.I.R. gallery artist Susan Bee and poet Charles Bernstein.

Critic Carey Lovelace wrote in Art in America in 2007: “Since 1972, the trailblazing A.I.R. gallery in New York, the world’s first women’s gallery, has provided quiet support for those operating outside the art world’s market-obsessed precincts.” The A.I.R. Fellowship Program for Emerging and Underrepresented Artists, established in 1993, has helped launch the careers of over 35 women artists. Each year the program offers six women artists the opportunity to have their first solo exhibit, or first solo exhibit in ten years. Recipients participate in eighteen months of professional development workshops, receive a studio visit with an art professional, and are mentored by A.I.R. artists and staff members.

Monday, May 25, 2009

No Tell Motel

I'm the pin-up girl this week with a poem in five parts/ five days at Reb Livingston's No Tell Motel. Thanks ReB!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Today's Mail!

The 2009 edition of New American Writing arrived today with my poems in it!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Larry Eigner Biography

I am beginning to explore the idea of writing a biography of Larry Eigner. I'm not sure what form this would take, or if anyone is undertaking such a task (although I know that his Collected Poems are coming out this year). Would anyone with thoughts, ideas, or interest in being interviewed please leave a comment or write to me @ saintlizstreet@hotmail.com

Friday, May 08, 2009

My Larry Eigner

My Larry Eigner

Lately, the thought has come to mind. Can one fully appreciate the life and work of Larry Eigner without a deep understanding [or at least a sensitivity] of disability, what this means, and the current disability 'movement?''

Of course it is possible to explore Eigner's work while ignoring his disability, but it seems like a missed opportunity. Many insist that Eigner seriously downplayed his disability and never confronted it in his work. This seems completely impractical as a poet's body and 'breath' inadvertently go into the work. As James Galvin once told me, 'Don't write about your disability directly. It isn't needed. Your disability is there in every topic. It cannot be removed from your voice.'

Eigner's limited motion, along with the poetic mind, were what created his intense vision. People with slow or limited movement are forced to see the world, to examine, not to rush through.

In his so-called autobiography, What a Time Distance, one sees this wildly maniacal examination of place. A work where the body cannot move -- or is at the mercy of being moved by others. And yet the mind is able to examine and translate. Did Eigner have a high IQ? Not necessarily. He could and did write amazing poets like many other poets. Language and translation were his gifts, to question his IQ seems like beside that point for how many so-called able bodied 'genius' poets have their IQs questioned? To question his intellegence in particular seems to be saying that a 'crippled' body MUST be of superior intellegence in order to create.

I guess I want it both ways: I guess I want critics to treat him as 'equal.' AND to realize that, by society's standards he wasn't.

I have yet to hear people discuss the fact that Eigner probably could not feed himself or use the bathroom alone. He almost most assuredly had few romantic connections. If he hadn't had a doting family, he would have ended up in an institution like Willowbrook where most people with cerebral palsy in that age did. Few people seem to know about such institutions where people with cerebral palsy were basically disposed of and lived in their own shit and piss. Without a doubt, Eigner suffered daily prejudice and cruelty. Eigner, himself, said an interview that "physical exercise was the hardest part of his life, everything else was a vacation." It IS probably true that Eigner downplayed his disability in his work and life. That is what 'we' do. That is what we have to do.

I do argue however, that Eigner DID approach 'disability' in a concrete way throughout the poetry. I would argue that, although disability is not central to the work, it is all over it. It's only that someone without a disability may not be able to or may choose not to see it in this way.

Eigner writes:

But I grow old
because I was too much a child


I say nothing

when asked

I am, finally, an incompetent, after all
to have the time

And in portions of Open

But, I flower myself.
or can't change

As i dream, sight
I have been on all sides
my face and my back

o i walk i walk

the pavements
assume they are yellow

the flowers seem to nod


I am getting used to this
my shoes hve been the same

I wonder if people want to downplay Eigner's biography simply because, as impossible as it sounds, they are still uncomfortable with disabilities. But, I don't believe that Eigner's contemporaries denied or ignored his disability. I think they either accepted him or, more likely, as 'outsiders' and narcissists themselves, didn't really care.

Here is my primary point. If people can accept Eigner, this is stride in accepting so many others like him.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

From WWC

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Women Who Care Luncheon

Thank you to all the wonderful staff and those who came out and donated to the Women Who Care Luncheon. It was quite an event! I was thrilled to be the company of my wonderful students/poets. Anyone who may be interested in my work can purchase Derivative of the Moving Image from the University of New Mexico Press here.

Sunday, May 03, 2009


New poems from the [Husband] collection up at the Raleigh Quarterly.

And, the press release for the United Cerebral Palsy Benefit:


New York, NY, April 28, 2009 – United Cerebral Palsy of New York City (UCP/NYC) will hold its Eighth Annual Women Who Care Luncheon on May 5, 2009, to celebrate the professional and personal accomplishments of women. Guests will assemble at Cipriani 42nd Street to honor six extraordinary individuals and raise money to support UCP/NYC’s extensive network of more than 75 individual programs serving 14,000 children and adults with disabilities and their families.

The Luella Bennack Volunteer Award will be presented to Dan Rather; Martha & Ellis Winston will receive the Karen Hansen Caregiver Award.

The Loreen Arbus Opportunity Scholarship will be awarded to the art and poetry programs at UCP/NYC. Special guest, poet and UCP/NYC poetry teacher, Professor Jennifer Bartlett will read from her inspiring work.

Journalists Paula Zahn and Maria Hinojosa, 24 actor Nestor Serrano, Chad L. Coleman of The Wire and Broadway’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and stage star Jennifer Damiano of Spring Awakening and Next to Normal are among this year’s attendees and presenters. Special guests include Patricia Duff, Francine LeFrak, Susan Fales-Hill, Judy Gilbert and Ellen Levine, Editorial Director, Hearst Magazines. Donna Hanover will once again serve as Master of Ceremonies.

The efforts of honorary chair Cathleen Black, President, Hearst Magazines, founding chair Loreen Arbus, and co-chair Joan Jedell will surely help make this year’s Women Who Care Luncheon a rousing success.

About Women Who Care:

Women Who Care was created to honor female role models representing various segments of the community. It is a celebration of women who have blazed new paths, broken glass ceilings and inspired others through their professional and charitable endeavors.

About United Cerebral Palsy of New York City (UCP/NYC):

United Cerebral Palsy of New York City has a more than 60-year-history in the disability field and currently serves 14,000 individuals and family members through more than 75 programs. Its mission is to provide the highest quality services in health care, education, employment, housing, and technology resources that support people with cerebral palsy and related disabilities in leading independent and productive lives. For more information on our programs and services, please visit us at www.ucpnyc.org.