Laura Passin (Northwestern University, USA): Author Reading & Discussion: "Writing the Female Body: Poetry and More with Laura Passin"

Saturday, 07.11.2015, 6:00-7:30 p.m., U7/01.05

In her talk/reading, Laura Passin will speak about her experience writing as a queer woman and a feminist in three different contexts: as a literary scholar, a feminist cultural critic, and a lyric poet. Each of these modes of writing requires a negotiation of public persona, and the potential problems they raise can overlap in surprising ways. As a white, cisgender, bisexual, fat, feminist scholar/ blogger/ poet, do you gain credibility by revealing personal experience or by disguising it? What happens in the different genres, when you mix personal experience with politics? How do you write about sexuality as a queer woman when your exes and your parents might be reading?

As part of her talk, Laura will read excerpts from her blog, newsletter, and online essays and discuss not only the way different audiences affected her writing, but also why literary critics sometimes resemble internet trolls, how writing about the politics of beauty changed how she wrote about death, and how well chosen Beyoncé gifs can be as eloquent as a detailed scholarly essay. Laura Passin will conclude with a reading of poems from her current book projects.

Laura Passin (Ph.D. Northwestern; M.F.A. University of Oregon) is a writer and scholar specializing in contemporary American poetry and gender studies. She teaches a wide range of literary topics, from Renaissance poetry to 21st-century feminist writing. Her doctoral project, “The Lyric in the Age of Theory: The Politics and Poetics of Confession in Contemporary American Poetry,” argues that first-person lyric poetry itself constitutes a theory of selfhood, authenticity, and political literature.

Laura's poetry and essays have appeared in a wide range of publications, including Prairie Schooner, Chicago Literati, Adrienne: A Poetry Journal of Queer Women, The Toast, The Archipelago, and Best New Poets 2013. In 2013, Mark Doty awarded her poem "The Learn'd Astronomer on the Radio" the Marica and Jan Vilcek Prize for Poetry from the Bellevue Literary Review. Under the pseudonym "Sweet Machine," she has written for major feminist blogs such as Shapely Prose and Captain Awkward. She also writes an email newsletter about feminism, poetry, and pop culture called Postcards from a One-Woman Army. Laura lives in Portland, Oregon, USA.