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September 12, 2019

Dear Sisters,

What better way to celebrate the changing season than by getting lost in the latest Sapphic Classic? We are all in luck! Sinister Wisdom 114 is almost here! Sinister Wisdom 114: A Generous Spirit Selected Works of Beth Brant edited by Janice Gould highlights the transformative work of Beth Brant, a Mohawk lesbian writer who inspired and created new possibilities for queer indigenous communities.

Sinister Wisdom 114: A Generous Spirit: Selected Works by Beth Brant is a collection of poems and stories that bear testament to the author’s personal and familial histories. Brant bridges the gap between intimate narrations and the political issues indigenous people face in a world that fights for their erasure. Brant’s work is dazzlingly honest and poetically sincere, and I’m so excited for you to experience the power of her writing yourself.

Soon it will be en route to fill your mailboxes with sapphic dreams of desire and liberation. While you are awaiting the arrival of your issue in you mailbox, you can take a look at the stunning cover which features the lovely photograph of Beth Brant taken by Tee Corinne and the short bio about her incredible life on the back cover. Have some spare time? Download and read the PDF version of Sinister Wisdom 22/23: Gathering of Spirit, published in 1983, which Beth Brant edited alongside Michelle Cliff and Adrienne Rich. 

In the introduction of A Gathering of Spirit, Brant writes about what it means to put together an anthology of work written by North American Native women. This excerpt embodies her efforts in creating community through writing:

I cannot wait for you to have this new Sapphic Classic - and share the work of Beth Brant with family and friends. Subscriber copies will go in the mail in early October and be winging their way to all current subscribers to Sinister Wisdom.

Not a subscriber to Sinister Wisdom? Click here to purchase a journal subscription! A Sinister Wisdom subscription secures one or two years of Sinister Wisdom, four beautiful published each year filled with unique issues of contemporary lesbian writing and artwork delivered right to your home.

Your subscription will start with Sinister Wisdom 114 A Generous Spirit: Selected Work by Beth Brant but order it today. This issue will sell out quickly. Not subscribed but just want to buy Sinister Wisdom 114? Purchase your own individual copy here.

 

Whether you’re a one time purchaser, new subscriber, or long-time patron, I an excited for you to have this amazing collection of work by Beth Brant! 

The new year is right around the corner, meaning it’s time to purchase Sinister Wisdom’s 2020 Calendar! It features beautiful artwork by WLW artists for every month and important dates that commemorate lesbian herstory.

Read Roman Pace’s article “One More Year of Sinister Wisdom” published in Ms. Magazine where they talk about the importance of honoring and celebrating lesbian community. Here’s an excerpt from their piece:

“Through the labor and communion of sapphic sisterhood, each one of us is a flower given the freedom to bloom, part of a cosmic garden of love and liberation. The Sinister Wisdom 2020 calendar is a true celebration of this, as well as a rallying cry to continue the good and difficult work of justice and liberation.”

Don’t forget to follow Sinister Wisdom’s Instagram page for a sneak peek of the featured artists!


Notes for a Revolution

The Sinister Wisdom blank book, titled Notes for a Revolution, is 144 blank pages with inspiring quotations for women and plenty of space for writing. The blank book is available to all for just $14 plus postage of $2.75. I hope that you will consider giving these beautiful, coil-bound notebooks as gifts throughout the next year!

I recently wrote about the journal at the Ms. blog in a piece called "Tracking our way through time."

You can purchase Notes for a Revolution here!
Reflecting Back on Sinister Wisdom 101: Variations (2016) with Alexis Clements

Our second Reflecting Back blog feature, where Sinister Wisdom guest editors look back on issues they edited, features Alexis Clements. Alexis's amazing new film All We've Got, about lesbian spaces, is premiering across the country this fall. It's an extraordinary film; I encourage everyone to check it out. While you are waiting for it to come to a theatre near you, you can read the Sinister Wisdom interview with Alexis on our blog here and preview it a bit below.

 

Tell me about the issue of Sinister Wisdom that you edited. What were you most proud of in the issue? What was most challenging?

At the time that I was working on Variations, the Sinister Wisdom issue I edited (Sinister Wisdom 101), I was also working on a documentary film project titled All We’ve Got, which focuses on LGBTQ women’s spaces. I’m excited to report that the film will be premiering this fall, but when I started work on Variations, I was only about a year into the documentary. I was still conducting interviews and steeping myself in research about the history and present of LGBTQ women’s communities. I was also participating in two different such communities at the time, the Lesbian Herstory Archives and the WOW Café Theatre.

All of this had me asking big questions about what it means to create spaces tied to aspects of our identities and how we define those identities. Having spent about five years volunteering on and off at the Lesbian Herstory Archives at that point, and having had the privilege of participating in Flavia Rando’s Lesbian Lives class there, I also had developed a pretty rich sense of the layered complexity of lesbian identity. Not all people who identify as lesbian sleep only with women, for instance. Not all people who identity as lesbian identify as women. Differences in the labels people use to identify themselves vary in significant ways across race and ethnicity and class. I was also very well aware at that time that there were some lesbian-identified people who were trying to revise history and claim that there was only ever one way to be a lesbian, that all lesbians had somehow agreed about that, and anyone who deviated from that supposedly agreed upon identity should be kicked out. Read the rest of the interview here!

Other bibs and bobs

Even though the fall is filled with obligations and lots of work, I'm still reading for fun. Right now I am inhaling Margaret Atwood's The Testaments. It is so good, though frightening. I'm also listening to Jaime Harker's The Lesbian South, now available as an audio book narrated by her! So much great information about lesbian literature in this wonderful book.

I'm working with lots of amazing new interns on nifty projects to enhance and extend the work of Sinister Wisdom. We continue to want to get copies of the back issues out into the world. You still can purchase the Dyke Creativity Collection, Liberate! Collection, the Oral Herstorians Collection, and more. Order and share back issues. And if you know a group or organization that would like a full run of what we have left in stock, let me know. We will be doing a push to distribute more copies over the next six months.

I still have a few dozen lesbian badges from last year and I'd love to ship all of those out over the next month. Interested in one more more? Check it out here and order today!


As always, share your thoughts with me about Sinister Wisdom. Think about how YOU can contribute to our continued work publishing, celebrating, and promoting lesbian literary arts, and join us in the revolution at hand.

With your support, Sinister Wisdom will continue to thrive for years to come.

In sisterhood,
 
Julie
 
Julie R. Enszer, PhD
Editor and Publisher, Sinister Wisdom


P.S. Here is the lesbian badge from 2018. Lesbian resistance is a badge of honor!
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