ZF It’s difficult to raise and disentangle these identity-based questions, but how do you think your “otherworldly” identity—a black lesbian poet—relates to your interest in the sentence, its confusions and disorientations? Are there dominant ideas about language you want to call into question?
RG Bhanu Kapil and I were talking about this just yesterday.
Experimentation, we were saying, is an ideal mode of engagement for marginalized people, and we couldn’t understand, we continued to say, why so many people still believe that the “transparency” of conventional storytelling somehow allows one to capture what it is to exist in the world more authentically. Of course, this question has been debated within the arts for decades now, but it is no less pertinent and divisive today. As a “black lesbian poet” you enter language from a place of disorientation. Your grasp of the authority of the subject is slippery. You feel deviant. You feel the need to fuck with things. As you gaze into words, into their relation, you see things that are not there to people who have never had to prove that they should be counted among the living. You see jungle spaces, geometric spaces inside which it is possible to point, to unfold something about the silences, the loneliness of being in the world. Really though, this opportunity exists for anyone who looks deeply into language and the moment of utterance with his mouth or body all open.
Here is the rest of the interview with Renée Gladman on BOMBLOG.