Writing helps me make sense of the world. The presentation I had proposed for the ASWM Conference—"Staying With the Trouble, Reweaving the World: A Speculative Manifesto for the Visionary/Poet" (see abstract below)—is helping me be with the world right now: line of flight to my role in these troubled times.
We live in a world where the problems before us signal no straightforward solutions. Biological systems are breaking down, forests and other living species are imperilled, oceans and soils are being poisoned—and far right regimes are displaying unspeakable cruelty against peoples they label as “other”. We urgently need new configurations of being.
Such a time may be unprecedented in human memory, but it is not out of the reach of visionary memory—where pasts, presents, and futurities fold into and emerge out of each other. Accessing and bringing to the fore—for their community—knowings from this cosmic womb was the charge given to ancient seeresses and prophetesses. In certain cultures and periods, the same persons held both prophetic and poetic functions.
Patri-kyriarchy and colonialism have sought to graft their rationalist, disenchanted ideologies upon these mantic cultures. Yet, not all modes of sibylline and creative flow have been subjugated. Throughout myth, literature, and history, prophetic women and poets have posed challenges to structures of domination, at times radically restaging history through their interventions.
Bearing this context in mind, this presentation explores how the visionary/poet today may listen to what is dying, what has died, what is emerging, and what wants to be known. It asks how the healing of the visionary/poet might tie in with the healing of the world. It considers how she may stay with the trouble, and how she may weave the disconnection within our webs into threads of connection.
See also the amazing lineup of the presenters at the conference.