Issue 4, March 2019

Tile of nine photos.

Editors: Sandra Renew and Moya Pacey
Guest editor: K A Nelson
Production manager: Tikka Wilson


On performing gender Sandra Renew
I am just a girl Joanna Acevedo
Weed Garden Magdalena Ball
Variations on Women Inside an MRT Car Eve Beisinger
The Last Alexandrian Mathematician Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya
Another dream Michelle Brock
In Which The Poet Inhabits Her Fears and Desires Kait Burrier
Baby Alive Robyn Cairns
All models slashed Monica Carroll
Watching My Mother Love Harley Chapman
Two stroke (or more) PS Cottier
Bald Hill Jan Dean
Secret, Safe Jenn Dunkley
called up Anne Elvey
My Mother’s Necklace Susan Fealy
Boy Shoes Rebecca Fish Ewan
A terrain I recall Anna Forsyth
Boyhood is Girlhood is Boyhood is Girl Mo Fowler
One Doll Less Jane Frank
Woman Quits Femininity Irina Frolova
The Politics of Tango Irina Frolova
The Gioconda Smile of Betty Crocker Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons
Eggshells Zoe Guttenplan
Intruder Hazel Hall
Letter to a Bride to Be Dominique Hecq
Shaq Shoes Kaity Johnson
Where We Go Jill Jones
her Sophie Juratowitch
Superwoman Babitha Marina Justin
As the World Turns Lora Keller
Adornment Emma Koch
closeted Kaya Lattimore
Interview With The Actress Jasmine Ledesma
A girl dies each night on TV Wes Lee
Women in Lingerie! LindaAnn LoSchiavo
Motherhood in Cut Time Julia Love
Suicide Note of an Abandoned Wife Julie Maclean
Disarming Jacqui Malins
Orient Victoria McGrath
Upstaging Shakespeare Kate Miller
Country House Rosalind Moran
Camille Claudel Gemma Nethercote Way
August in Lahore Nadia Niaz
Items a 14 year-old named Alexandra might shop for on-line. Rosa O’Kane
Nights with Arthur Christine Paice
Cathedral Melissa Payne
Hunger Melissa Payne
Pirate party Sue Peachey
Thirteen Meredith Pitt
Cocoon Meredith Pitt
One-liner Shale Preston
Police Sketch of a Woman Jessica Regione
Fallacy of the predicate Sarah Rice
To the Witches of Salem, Chaise Robinson
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick Lunching Alone, 1987 Danielle Rose
Re-imagining a rape Abhijit Sarmah
The Strongest Girl in the World Eugenie Scarlett
woman in the lines Ellen Shelley
Folly Melinda Smith
Baby___Joy__, 13 February 2018 Melinda Smith
Broke a nail Abeir Soukeih
On not being a grandmother Carmel Summers
A Found Poem Gillian Telford
Reading the signs in FNQ Helen Thurloe
Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity Tina Vorreyer
Interpolating Acne Amelia Walker
Dra(a)g Amelia Walker
Red Carpet Interview Susan Wardell
Plastique in Brazil Susan Wardell
self-portrait that is not a self-portrait Kim Waters
Sworn Virgin Jena Woodhouse

From NVQ editors

Waiting on Imran Khan Lisa Brockwell
At the single women’s camp K A Nelson
The girl who said NO Moya Pacey
Vanished Anita Patel
coming out in our town Sandra Renew
Performing the feminine: images from 1880 to 1930 Tikka Wilson

Or view all content for Issue 4 in one long scrolling page.

Provocation: Performing gender

Poetry selected for this issue will reflect explorations of the whole spectrum of the performance of our gender. Performing gender is something every person does on a daily basis, minute by minute, decision by decision. It is about the effort we make to stay within the acceptable norms, to get it right, to make an impression.

And also, it is about the effort we make, sometimes with life or death consequences, to disrupt expectations, to dissent from the norm, to conceal ourselves, to be seen as someone else.

Gender performance is both whatever is seen as ‘the normal’ and whatever is at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant. The idea that gender is performance is, by definition, disruptive, uncomfortable and subversive.

Gender can be seen as not one position that locks a person into one particular way of being, but flexible, moving, sometimes contradictory and dissonant ways of thinking about oneself. Identity without an essence and identity that can change in time and over time, allowing a person possibilities for space both inside and outside what is seen as normal.

The poetry in Issue 4 – Performing Gender seeks poetic expression from both straight and queer communities. Queer used to be a slang word for homosexuals and was used for homophobic abuse. But now it embraces the LGBTIQA gender community. Queer recognises cultural marginalisation, but does not bow to pressure to conform. Queer enjoys the fluidity of mismatches between sex, gender and desire.

In whatever ways we do our own gender and sexuality, the social ideas about how we have been constrained and what we have been allowed, have had impacts on all our lives in both positive and negative ways.

This issue of NVQ poetry is one form of asking questions about gender.

Who is Judith Butler?

Judith Butler (born 24 February 1956) is an American philosopher and gender theorist whose work has influenced political philosophy, ethics and the fields of third-wave feminist, queer and literary theory. She currently teaches at the University of California, Berkeley.

Key ideas:  Gender as social construction; Gender performativity

Butler is best known for her books Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990) and Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex (1993), in which she challenges conventional notions of gender and develops her theory of gender performativity. This theory has had a major influence on feminist and queer scholarship. See Butler bios on UC Berkeley, The European Graduate School and Wikipedia web pages.