Part 2 of Romani Gypsy Power in Sci-Fi and Fantasy & Book Giveaway!

In the second and final part of my essay “Romani Gypsy Power in Sci-Fi and Fantasy,” over at Kate Lechler’s column “The Expanded Universe” in Fantasy Literature, I discuss Romani writers who write speculative fiction/sci-fi/fantasy/magical realism, and then I explain why these distinctions between realism and magical realism are entirely arbitrary. I also take a look at Romani folklore and trauma narratives and discuss how these elements shape contemporary Romani fiction. In short, I really enjoyed writing this and I hope you enjoy the Romani writers Caren Gussoff Sumption and Rajko Djuric, who I positively gush about in this essay. And if you leave a comment on the essay over at Fantasy Literature, you’ll be entered into a book giveaway! You people like books, right? What could be better for you?

Thanks for reading!


My love letter to “Political Punch” and Gypsy poems

I don’t know if you read Juan Vidal’s NPR essay “Where Have All The Poets Gone?”— it’s a smart, well-intentioned lament of the lack of American political poetry since the Beat Poets. Many readers, myself included, respectfully and optimistically disagree. Perhaps, since all of the poets he mentioned were white men, Vidal’s scope was too small, because it seems to me that political poetry is thriving on the voices of the systemically oppressed rising-up. But I think Vidal and I both agree where it really counts– we need more political poetry in America and we need more people to read it and care.
In response to Vidal’s essay, Fox Frazier-Foley curated “Political Punch.” It’s a week-long series of diverse American political poets, featured at The The Poetry Blog in The Infoxicated Corner. The poets included thus far are CA Conrad with a poem about LGBT representation, Anne Barngrover with a poem about the rape of Daisy Buchanon, and Christopher Soto (aka Loma) with a poem about the need to revolutionize the prison system. These poets, whom I am honored to be listed among, are a reflection of the many types of poets who write their art and politics, who speak up, shake it up, and rise up. Vidal, by the way, has been very supportive of the endeavor and extremely kind.
Here’s the link to my Opre Roma-style political poems “Murder and Tradition” and “Transfiguration of the Black Madonna” “Murder and Tradition” is inspired by real events that transpired in Italy— Roma girls Violetta and Cristina really did drown, and that camp really was torched– it’s all too terrible. And I wrote “Transfiguration” at the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Yoga and Writing Retreat, so all those craft talks, workshops, and inspiration exercises paid-off! It’s about the Romani Goddess/Saint Sarah (Kali Sara), and the non-Roma’s mythology of the Romani people. Click here for more about the Romani Goddess.
Picture taken by Sarah Sullivan during a Quail Bell Gypsy fashion shoot

Picture taken by Sarah Sullivan during a Quail Bell photo tale shoot for “Free Spirits”

Research in Paris, Day 3: notebook recovered!

So this didn’t exactly follow the “every day I post a thing” format I wanted, mostly because I was too busy doing the things (museums! cafes! gardens! things!) to post about them. I have a feeling this will be easier when I get an internet magic phone.

Anyway! I got my notebook back! Len spent many hours (really), scouring the city looking for it, and he found it at a creperie we had visited in Monmartre. They kept it safe and so faith in humanity is refreshed.

More friends from Ireland came on day three, and after our happy reunion, they frolicked in the Latin Quarter and Len and I headed over to the Louvre.

I have a sense that hearing someone else’s Louvre experience is almost as pointless as trying to sum up one’s own Louvre experience. There is simply too much. I read once that even if you went to the Louvre every day for a year and only looked at each artwork for 30 seconds, you still wouldn’t have seen everything. And that’s without factoring in the magic store in the basement! So we took the opportunity to experience France’s artistic heritage and I took notes on what was inspiring for whatever reason.

Major hitters: The ancient Egypt wing. No spoilers, but my novel draws a lot on mythology, though primarily Romani folklore and mythology and ancient Indian mythology (India being the origin of Romani or “Gypsy” people). But I am consistently amazed by the amount of cross-over there is between different cultures and religions… and enough justifying, I really love ancient Egypt. Who doesn’t? FOOLS! THAT’S WHO!

French sculpture: There were so many Dianas, so many hounds and bows and quivers,– I was ecstatic. I used to pray to her when I was a kid. It’s unsurprising that she’s helpful to me now, too.

Orientalism: It’s important to see how Romani and “Eastern” people are Romanticized, to remember what not to do, and also to swoon over the gorgeousness.

The evening kicked off with a lovely vegetarian/vegan restaurant near Notre Dame and many toasts to our friends, who, as it happens, are planning their wedding. Yay!