Tuesday, August 19, 2014


The writers I was mad for at that moment were (mostly) women who had begun doing political, feminist, and Glorious poetry around here in the Berkeley area -- Ntozake Shange gave a very early reading of for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf at a local women's bar. Jessica Hagedorn gave a reading/performance in the Art Museum's basement -- from inside a boxing ring!

This work was succulent, angry, and they not only expressed, for the first time, my life, in poetry, but they were also what I wanted my own writing to be like. And when I'd go to the bookstores to find more of that kind of writing, in the journals I found, death was in the first paragraph of every story, and there was little, if any, passion, music, or even eros, in any of the poems.

I thought there should be. A place for my own stories, true, but a place to gather all the writing I adored into one place -- the world needed this! The next day, as my brain had begun to endlessly percolate around this new magazine, I had an idea; whenever people viewed my photographs or read my stories they'd say, "That's pretty erotic, isn't it?" Obviously what I experienced as normal, juicy, exhilarating, other people experienced as erotic. If I called my magazine erotic, it would really separate it from all the other magazines out there, and it would be the perfect home for the work I loved. Little did I know that that one little word, erotic, would forever color the perceptions many people had of the magazine. This was the early 80s; it was different then.

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