In Gender Trouble, Judith Butler argues that sex, gender, and sexuality—categories that are normally seen as “coherent” and “natural”—are all culturally constructed through the repetition of stylized acts in time.

I have worn my mustache in public a total of eleven times since the first on October 31, 2012.

Cassandra Gillig interviews Kathleen Rooney at ACM (this is very good you should read it)

Great interview at Another Chicago Magazine. Was impressed by the parallels Cassandra and Kathleen were able to make with Poems While You Wait to things like marketing and internet poetry.

CG: I think that sort of feedback is what sustains a lot of the internet-centric literary community right now–capacity to comment/respond. A lot of writers depend on it. Do you think this sort of rapid response has notable downsides? I feel like the “ego-boost” of a successful piece has led a lot of the writers I adore into weird places.

KR: Great comparison. And yes, I think sometimes–both in person and online–“interactivity” becomes interruptivity, for better and for worse. Whether it’s ego, per se, or just a desire to please/make people happy or make people like “you”/your writing, that immediacy of response can become an obstruction like any other. And that obstruction can be “good” like the obstruction of writing a sonnet, or “bad” like pandering-bad.

Poem of the Moon / Max Jacob

There are on the night sky three mushrooms, which are the moon. As abruptly as sings the cuckoo from a clock, they rearrange themselves each month at midnight. There are in the garden some rare flowers which are little men at rest that wake up every morning. There is in my dark room a luminous shuttle that roves, then two … phosphorescent aerostats, they’re the reflections of a mirror. There is in my head a bee that talks.

–Translated by Elisa Gabbert & Kathleen Rooney via

from “Some Notes on Monstrousness” by Elisa Gabbert and Kathleen Rooney at The Collagist

Every monster is a little bit cute. Could cliché be the best way of getting at truth? Epistemology of kidding on the square?

In the early 14th Century, “monster” meant “a malformed animal or human, a creature afflicted with a birth defect,” and came from a root word meaning “to warn.” I’m arming you with knowledge to lessen your fear, but I’m scared myself.

Do museums

amuse him? Yes, but not today. Would he
like to be in one? Of course. Why not?

An object of value with canvas wings,
an unchanging face in a gilt frame, arranged–

thoughtless, guilt-free, & preserved
for eternity. Robinson does want to be

exceptional. He knows he is. He wants to be
perceived exceptional.

—  From Robinson Alone, a novel-in-verse by Kathleen Rooney, reviewed by Rumpus Poetry Editor Brian Spears.
There’s a tendency to confuse the speaker of a poem with the author of the poem. And there’s a tendency to believe that a poem is ‘true'—whatever that means to the reader—instead of seeing it as framed language or storytelling. I’m not immune to the confusion either. Painting is a way to commit to imagination without being called a liar.
—  Richard Siken, interviewed by Kathleen Rooney for the Poetry Foundation
Lying Next to You in Bed, Reading Art History, I Come Across Fun Facts That Reflect on You, on Me

Ingres stuck an extra vertebra 
in the neck of his Odalisque.

Stepped back, said, “Such 
are the risks we take

for love.” You start every
sentence lately with, “You 

know what would be 
sexy, is if…” 
in his later years, was so

scared of—          He 
refused to hear the word 

spoken. His diaries show 
him neurotically obsessed

with his own body. 
                               I try
hard to be pretty. Genet

said “Beauty has no other
origin than the wound.” 

I know how simply 
this thrust to re-form,

to improve the flesh ends 
up de-forming. 
               “You know 
what would be sexy, is if

you slipped your clothes
off, dirty like a stripper?” 
was an assiduous frequenter 
of bordellos.
purveyors of the sex 
you think you want, always 
work against nature. 
push towards death. 
once screamed at a sitter, 
“You wretch! You should hold 
yourself like an apple. 

Do apples move? Do they?
You are disturbing the pose.”

– kathleen rooney

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