Poetry and Lesbian Country Songs

In the spring of this year, I had the pleasure of interviewing my first poet as part of the Audio Team for Poet in the City, a London-based charity focused on creating new audiences for poetry through eclectic programming. Lucky me, that poet was Andrew McMillan! Andrew’s collection, Physical, had just won the Guardian First Book Award, the first poetry collection ever to do so. Being in conversation with Andrew about his poetry, masculinity, sexuality, and his inspirations was a true delight! You can find the interview in the Poet in the City archive, and I encourage you to listen through to Andrew’s reading of ‘The Men Are Weeping In The Gym’. (I also interviewed Dr. Lynne Segal, host of the event, about the themes in Andrew’s work.)

Next, I got the chance to meet and chat with Dr. Shahidha Bari ahead of her Casanova – Lyric and Lust event, where she read poetry that ranged from the sweet and romantic to the raunchy and bawdry! At the end of the interview, Shahidha agreed to read ‘Sea Poppies’ by H.D. as a sample of the evening’s delicacies.

screams-and-silencesAs both poetry interviews dealt and delighted in sexuality and playfulness, I figured now would be an opportune moment to mention the publication of my poem, ‘This Poem Wants to be a Lesbian Country Song So Bad’. The poem was published by Fincham Press in the student anthology Screams and Silences (2015), edited by Leone Ross (available at the University of Roehampton online store). I’m including the poem here as well, for your reading pleasure.

Lip Gloss & Curling Heat: A Talk on First Kisses & Malinda Lo’s YA Novels

On Wednesday 18th May, the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature (NCRCL), my research centre at the University of Roehampton, held their annual ‘PhD Day’. This is a day where all of the children’s literature post-graduate research students gather and share…

Butches, Femmes, and Happy Endings: A Talk on Julie Anne Peters

You are warmly invited to ‘Butches, Femmes, and Happy Endings: A Legacy of Lesbian Pulp Fiction in the Novels of Julie Anne Peters’ Erica Gillingham, NCRCL PhD Candidate, Roehampton University Wednesday 30th September 1:00-2:00 pm Fincham 001, Roehampton University Julie Anne…

Made with Love: A Fundraising Campaign

Four weeks ago, I kicked off the Indiegogo campaign entitled Made With Love in the hopes of funding my second year’s tuition for my MPhil/PhD programme at Roehampton University. I am pleased to report that with the help of so many generous people—through their conversations, their sharing, their love—I have raised over half of my goal: £2,325.* Wahoo!!!

An Indiegogo Thank You

My hope in running the campaign was that I could use my creative skills to design perks that might tempt people to contribute towards my PhD. I also hoped that people would be inspired by my research on love and romance in LGBT YA novels—my vision to engage in a discourse about love and same-sex relationships in young adult novels into academia—and contribute for that reason as well.

I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of so many folks and this post is for those who are ‘Loves:’ individuals who contributed and asked only for a poetic thank you in return. Those 5 people are Julie Barton, Adriana Haines, Lucy Iwamoto, Liz Chapman, and one anonymous donor. Below are four love poems by different poets that make my heart sing. I’ve also included one of my own poems, as a humble offering of gratitude.

I hope you, my ‘Loves,’ enjoy the poetry: THANK YOU. For everyone else who contributed to the campaign, I look forward to fulfilling your perks in the coming months.

With much love and gratitude,
Erica

What’s Your Affinity? A Reflection on Personal Identity

London Pride, June 2013.This last weekend was Pride weekend. Here, in London, where I’ve made my home with my wife for the past four years, and in San Francisco, the gay mecca of my home-state. There was much rejoicing: DOMA has been struck down, Prop 8 undone, marriages newly made, and a happy one (ours) still going strong.

My pride in our community, in our commitment to gaining human rights under the eyes of the law, was fit to burst these past few days. As part of the process, I’ve looked back on what has brought  me to this specific place in my life, and I was reminded of something I’d written earlier this spring on identity, and the crazy intersections of those identities that we all live with each day.

Here it is, for you to enjoy. With love.

Affinities – A Personal Reflection on Identity

Some people have coming out stories that begin before the age of five. Some say they just knew they were different, that they weren’t like other boys and girls. I identified as a girl, but the categories of ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ only appeared to represent different power positions in a country where the news still celebrated ‘The First Female Astronaut’ and ‘The First Female Poet Laureate.’ In other words, I knew I was a girl who would sometimes be challenged for being different.