Ah, springtime. The snow is melting, flowers are pushing up through the ground, and North America is about to be graced yet again by a gaggle of queer poets traveling as this year’s Sister Spit: Next Generation.
The literary love child of San Francisco wunderkind and poet Michelle Tea and writer/filmmaker Sini Anderson, Sister Spit first hit the road in 1997, bringing along a band of merry queers, poets and performers alike. The first few tours included dyke heroes such as Eileen Myles, Ali Liebegott, Harriet Dodge and more.
Since then, Sister Spit has found home under the umbrella of Tea’s queer literary non-profit RADAR Productions, and commits itself to showcasing emerging queer talent, including the likes of Cristy C. Road, Nicole Georges and Rhiannon Argo (who won last year’s Lambda Literary award for debut lesbian novel).
This year’s roster includes some veteran acts and new blood, including the first ever cisgender hetero dude poet to hop in the van. Tea, who is currently working on a sci-fi novel and a YA novel, most recently co-penned Beth Ditto’s yet-to-be-released memoir Coal To Diamonds. (Will she be reading from the anticipated bio? One could only hope!) She’ll be joined by fellow original spitter Ali Liebegott, a poet and teacher who’s been breakin’ hearts with her poetry for more than 20 years. Liebegott’s first publication, the incredible book-length poem The Beautifully Worthless, will be followed up this year by the second book-length poem in the triology, The Summer of Dead Birds. Liebegott also oversees the Eli Coppola Memorial Poetry Chapbook Prize, and founded the only free queer writing retreat, the RADAR Lab.
Other ladies in the van include, Myriam Guarb, who was part of the inaugural RADAR Lab, and who’s writing won the Edmund White Award in 2008. (By the way, her favorite color is black and her “favorite butch is Midwestern.”). Graphic novels get some love by way of MariNaomi, who’s graphic memoir Kiss & Tell: A Romantic Resume Ages 0 to 22 is coming out next month.
They’ll be joined by Amos Mac, who started the first trans male quarterly Original Plumbing in 2009 with trans hip hop musician Katastrophe and Kirk Read, who’s best known for his awesome (and awesomely titled) memoir of growing up queer, How I Learned to Snap. And what qualifies hetero teen novelist Blake Nelson to hop in the van? Well, for one thing, his first novel Girl was serialized in Sassy. (Who gets their fiction published in Sassy?!) His other books include Gender Blender, a Freaky Friday-type romp where a teenage girl and boy switch bodies, and the forthcoming Recovery Road, about “two badass teens who fall in love in rehab.” Sounds like Nelson will fit in the Sister Spit crew just fine.
You can catch this generation of Sister Spit as they criss-cross North America this March and April.