LB2 + LB1 - Dodie Bellamy - GUEST LECTURE, 8pm ONLINE
An essayist, poet, and novelist whose genre-bending work addresses feminism, sexuality, and queerness, Dodie Bellamy is a fundamental and active member of San Francisco’s literary avant-garde. Bellamy is one of the originators in the New Narrative literary movement of the early and mid-1980s, which attempts to use the tools of experimental fiction and critical theory and apply them to narrative storytelling. She currently teaches creative writing.
Dodie: I specialize in genre-bending work that focuses on feminism, sexuality, cultural artifacts both high and low, and all things queer. I champion the vulnerable, the fractured, the disenfranchized, the fucked-up. I believe the spiritual and the political can be found in the most unlikely places. I love the essay as a form for I feel it can encompass everything; it's the closest prose can get to poetry without mimicking it.
Reading recommendations: When the sick rule the world (2015), Bee Reaved (2021), Academonia (2006).
When the Sick Rule the World centers around questions of health and illness, both personal and societal. The book ends in tech-colonized San Francisco, with an urban witch performing a ritual that rips up the sidewalks. A chapbook version of one of the pieces in the collection, The Beating of Our Hearts, was included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial.
Bee Reaved explores how grief ushers in new states of being and community.
In this lively, entertaining collection of essays, Dodie Bellamy has written not only a helpful pedagogical tool, but an epic narrative of survival against institutional deadening and the proscriptiveness that shoots the young writer like poison darts from all sides. By the 90s funding for the arts had dwindled and graduate writing programs—“cash cows”—had risen to fill the slack. Simultaneously, literary production moved from an unstable, at times frightening street culture where experiment was privileged beyond all else, to an institutionalized realm—Academonia!—that enforces, or tends to enforce, conservative aesthetic values.
You can listen to this lovely podcast where she reads and comments on one of her pieces: https://anchor.fm/podcast-perdu/episodes/Time-Lost-Dodie-Bellamy-e16rufj
In Dodie's lecture we will focus on writing about grief and death and move out to more formal things from there. Some readings from her own work will be mixed in with discussion.
She might give us a writing exercise. But not sure yet if we will have time to do it during the lecture or if she will give it to us after.