The artist Lenka Clayton has created an amazing opportunity for mothers who are artists. It’s an open source residency called Artist Residency in Motherhood. Mine begins to today and goes through October 10, 2017. I have ambitious plans for my work. I must complete my translation of Clarice Lispector’s novel THE CHANDELIER for New Directions. I am working on a first draft of my literary memoir IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD: Traveling with Elizabeth Bishop, Clarice Lispector, and Raúl Zurita. I am also working on a one-woman show called I WANNA BE ROBERT DE NIRO, which I will perform under my stage name Magdalena Emar. One of the things I am most interested in exploring as I do all of this work is how we must all mother ourselves; we must all — girls, boys, men, women, trans, queer, non-gender identifying, humanoid, sentient creatures — become the child we would most like to parent. In this regard we are all mothers. Though I do recognize that I am the specific mother of three specific children I grew inside my body and gave birth to on this earth, I also know very deeply that mothering as we understand it is neither merely nor exclusively biological. More on all of this soon. For now, back to work. #artistresidencyinmotherhood


Maggie Nelson’s THE ARGONAUTS & Sarah Ruhl’s DEAR ELIZABETH

WOMP WOMP photo by Magdalena Edwards @MEMAR 2015

I’ve just returned from four days in New York, where I attended a writing conference called BinderCon, went to see Sarah Ruhl‘s play Dear Elizabeth at Women’s Project Theater, and started reading Maggie Nelson‘s The Argonauts. A provocative trio of pursuits.

I am not the most skilled at Twitter, and I have my reservations about participating in a sport that feels like high school all over again, but the concision of a tweet appeals to my lyrical sensibilities. A challenge, like a haiku.

I felt the impulse to tweet the evening of Sarah Ruhl’s play Dear Elizabeth, which I attended with Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts in hand — to read before each act began. I wanted to highlight the triangulation of two texts coursing through the mind of one reader/listener/viewer (me). We do this kind of triangulation all the time.

Here is a draft, a draft of my tweet with bluets:

It’s reassuring to me and my Twitter skittishness that neither Maggie Nelson nor Sarah Ruhl have Twitter handles (hence the hashtags instead of the @_____).

And, with the above draft in mind,  a ménage-à-3 of voices:

“the romance of letting an individual experience of desire take precedence over a categorical one”

— Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts (Graywolf Press 2015)


Lowell: I seem to spend my life missing you!

Bishop: I love my poem–and you, too, of course…

–Sarah Ruhl, Dear Elizabeth (Faber and Faber 2014)


“I don’t even want to talk about ‘female sexuality’ until there is a control group. And there never will be.”

— Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts (Graywolf Press 2015)

I invite you to read Maggie Nelson’s book alongside Sarah Ruhl’s play if you can, and remember that I was the one to make the suggestion.

You won’t regret it.

GOODBYE, NEW YORK Photo by Magdalena Edwards, @MEMAR 2015