Artists' Television Access

Small Press Traffic: an night with How(ever) with Kathleen Fraser, Susan Gevirtz and Bev Dahlen

Sunday, October 2, 2011, 5:00 pm, $6-$10

Join Kathleen Fraser, Susan Gevirtz and Beverly Dahlen to discuss the arrival and labors of HOW(ever), a magazine dedicated to the inquiry into modernist and contemporary innovative writing practices by women.

WHY HOW(ever)?

And what about the women poets who were writing experimentally? Oh, were there women poets writing experimentally? Yes there were, they were. They were there and they were writing differently and a few of them were chosen and did appear in the magazines for people writing in new forms. And then several women began to make their own experimentalist magazines. What about that? Well, they read each other. But we hardly ever heard about their poems where I was sitting listening. You mean in school? I mean where poems were being preserved and thought about seriously and carried forward as news.

And the women poets, the ones you call experimentalist, were they reading Simone de Beauvoir? Firestone? Chodorow? Irigaray? Some were. They were reading and they were thinking backwards and forwards. They were writing to re-imagine how the language might describe the life of a woman thinking and changing. And the poetry they were writing wasn’t fitting into anyone’s anything because there wasn’t a clear place made for it.

They must have felt displaced. Yes, they must have. They must have felt unreal. Unrealized. Effaced. Did they know it? Yes, they knew it. Did they talk about it? Yes, they talked about it. We were sitting in a writing group two years ago and we talked about it. One year ago, we were sitting there talking about it. Last summer, I was walking around talking to myself about it and feeling displaced and I wrote to one of my scholar friends and asked her about it and she said you are right. There is this gap. But perhaps we don’t know how to acknowledge something, how to think about something, unless it resembles what was already there. I thought of Dickinson. I thought of Stein. Woolf and Richardson. Slashes, anarchies, sentences, disruptions. I was listening and I said to her, but if we could somehow talk to you and tell you about us, would you be interested? Yes, she said, I would be interested.

HOW(ever) proposes to make a bridge between scholars thinking about women’s language issues, vis-a-vis the making of poetry, and the women making those poems. HOW(ever) hopes to create a place in which poets can talk to scholars through poems and working notes on those poems, as well as through commentary on neglected women poets who were/are making textures and structures of poetry in the tentative region of the untried.–Kathleen Fraser


Kathleen Fraser is a poet and author who grew up in Oklahoma, Colorado, and California. She graduated from Occidental College (California) with a degree in English literature in 1959, and then worked in New York City for Mademoiselle magazine before pursuing her poetic studies. Fraser has been influenced by Black Mountain, New York School, and Objectivist poets, including Frank O’Hara, Barbara Guest, and George Oppen. She has published more than 15 books, including mixed-genre collections, a chapbook of collaged wall pieces, and an essay collection.


Fraser’s work in poetry has received much recognition. Her honors and awards include the New School’s Frank O’Hara Poetry Prize and the American Academy’s Discovery Award, as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her published works include What I Want (1973), New Shoes (1978), Each Next: narratives (1980), Notes Preceding Trust (1987), when new time folds up (1993), Wing (1995), il cuore : the heart—Selected Poems 1970–1995 (1997), and Discrete Categories Forced into Coupling (2004).


Susan Gevirtz lives in San Francisco. Her books include Aerodrome Orion & Starry Messenger (Kelsey Street, 2010); BROADCAST (Trafficker, 2010); Thrall (Post Apollo, 2007); Hourglass Transcripts (Burning Deck, 2001); Spelt, a collaboration with Myung Mi Kim (a+bend, 1999); Black Box Cutaway (Kelsey Street, 1999); Narrative’s Journey: The Fiction and Film Writing of Dorothy Richardson (Peter Lang, 1996); PROSTHESIS : : CAESAREA (Potes and Poets, 1994; reissue Little Red Leaves, 2009); Taken Place (Reality Street, 1993); Linen minus (Avenue B, 1992); and Domino: point of entry (Leave Books, 1992).

Many of Gevirtz’s essays have appeared in literary magazines and scholarly journals. She was an assistant professor for 10 years at Sonoma State University, and currently teaches in the MA Program in Visual and Critical Studies and the MFA Program in Writing at California College of the Arts; the MFA in Writing programs at The University of San Francisco, Mills College, and San Francisco State University; and at The Hellenic International School of the Arts, Paros, Greece.

Gevirtz was an associate editor of HOW(ever), a journal of modernist/innovative directions in women’s poetry and scholarship, and served on the editorial advisory boards of the journal Avec and the online journal HOW2.


A native of Portland, Oregon, Beverly Dahlen has lived in San Francisco for many years. Her first book, Out of the Third, was published by Momo’s Press in 1974. Two chapbooks, A Letter at Easter (Effie’s Press, 1976) and The Egyptian Poems (Hipparchia Press, 1983) were followed by the publication of the first volume of A Reading in 1985 (A Reading 1—7, Momo’s Press). Since then, three more volumes of A Reading have appeared. Chax Press published A Reading 8—10 (1992); Potes and Poets Press: A Reading 11—17 (1989); Instance Press: A Reading 18—20 (2006). Chax Press also published the chapbook A-reading Spicer & Eighteen Sonnets in 2004.