PITTSBURGH: The Fourth River, a journal of nature and place-based writing published by Chatham University’s MFA in Creative Writing Program will launch a special issue entitled, Queering Nature, on Friday, November 13, 2015 from 7 to 9 pm. This joint event with Chatham MFA Word Circus will be held at the Rea Coffeehouse on Chatham’s Shadyside Campus. Featured readers are James Crews and D. Gilson, followed by readings by current Chatham MFA students. The event is free and open to the public.
Queering Nature Editors Summary:
The success of this issue, we believe, comes in the “and/or.” To effectively queer nature, one must critique our established definition of the word, defy expectations, offer a fresh perspective, redeem the queer identity, or show us how these things are done. Yet, for all of their differences, many of these pieces invoke similar ideals. They assert the queer identity as natural, not cultural or aberrant, sometimes by placing the queer identity in rural or “wild” spaces and defying expectations regarding the urban roots of queerness. They place queer identity adjacent to nonhuman life, not in a denigration of the animal, but in celebration, sympathy, or equivalence that defies heteronormative and racial conceptions of the animal. They invert the accepted definitions of what is artificial versus what is natural, and catalogue instances of strangeness in nature. They are sometimes concerned with the flipping of gender from male to female, or vice versa, or conceive of a different gender, in much the way that numerous non-human creatures display sexual behavior or gender roles that aren’t equivalent to heterosexual gender binaries. Put most simply, they inhabit queerness and nature simultaneously to illuminate various interstices, connections, and complexities.
We consider what we’ve assembled a wild grouping, a sample gathered from many kinds and forms of queerness. Spend some time exploring the spaces between their words, images, investigations and speculations. A collective strangeness holds them together.
About The Fourth River and Chatham’s MFA Program
The Fourth River is produced by the MFA program in Creative Writing at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Each issue can be found at: www.thefourthriver.com. Chatham’s groundbreaking MFA focusing on nature, travel writing, and social outreach is the premier graduate program for nurturing students interested in place-based writing and innovative community programs. The program stands out with opportunities, such as the possibility of concentrations in travel writing, teaching, publishing, or nature writing, along with a primary genre focus (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or children’s writing). Chatham’s MFA program also offers the ability to have a dual-genre focus (in poetry and nonfiction, or children’s writing and fiction, for example). Students can select from an on-the-ground full-residency program or a low-residency program as well as have the ability to easily move between the two programs. More information at www.chatham.edu/mfa.