F.      Conijn Library

About

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F.      Conijn Library is a joint effort to share writings and other references that both yours truly feel closely connected to, one way or the other.

These references furnish the physical and supernatural space. Physical as they are small pieces of the library we share in our home. Supernatural as they communicate with one another in space and time.

This way, F.      Conijn Library is emerging from our small fellowship and the high spirits that stir close to us.


Yours truly,

Elisabeth Rafstedt and

Sophie Rentien Lando

library@fconijn.com

(Essay)

Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence

Adrienne Rich, 1989

Adrienne Rich was an American poet, essayist, and a non-fiction writer. The selected essay is one of the first to address the theme of lesbian existence. She discusses where misogyny and homophobia intersect and how the enforcement of heterosexuality within a patriarcal society is specific to the lesbian experience. Even though this essay opened up new discussions and understandings regarding the oppression of women and lesbians, she is also very much criticized for her participation in incredibly transphobic and especially transmisogynist discourses.

(Poetry)

Certain Magical Acts

Alice Notley, 2016

It is written about American poet Alice Notley that her ‘(...) early work laid both formal and theoretical groundwork for several generations of poets; she is considered a pioneering voice on topics like motherhood and domestic life.’ Describing her work in an interview she said: ‘I think I try with my poems to create a beginning space. I always seem to be erasing and starting over, rather than picking up where I left off, even if I wind up taking up the same themes. This is probably one reason that I change form and style so much, out of a desire to find a new beginning, which is always the true beginning.’

(Essay)

Uses of the Erotic: the Erotic as Power

Audre Lorde, 1980

‘Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,’ was one of many ways Audre Lorde described herself. Her activist work is very much linked to her writing, and in the essay, she is formulating the importance of discovering the erotic power within ourselves????; ‘We need each one of us,’ as she put it when presenting the text at a reading, ‘to deal from a place where we are most powerful. And what I wanted to talk about today was the erotic as a source of that power, and how urgent it is that we recognise that within ourselves.’

(Film)

Carol

2015

Carol is a film directed by Todd Haynes. The script was written by Phyllis Nagy, an American theatre and film director as well as a screenwriter and playwright. It is based on the romance novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith. Set in 1952 in New York City, it follows Therese Belivet, an aspiring photographer who meets Carol Aird, a glamorous older woman going through a difficult divorce.

(Documentary)

The Celluloid Closet

1995

(Short Story)

The Headstrong Historian

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 2008

The Headstrong Historian is a short story that looks at three generations of Nigerians, through which education, religion, family, and cultural heritage are explored. The author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer of novels, short stories, and non ction. She is also notably known for her acclaimed lectures ‘The Danger of a Single Story’ and ‘We should all be feminists’.

(Essay)

The Octopus in Love

Chus Martínez, 2014

Chus Martínez is a writer and curator, when introducing her essay, from which this piece is taken, she writes: ‘The octopus is the only animal that has a portion of its brain (three quarters, to be exact) located in its (eight) arms. Without a central nervous system, every arm “thinks” as well as “senses” the surrounding world with total autonomy, and yet, each arm is part of the animal. For us, art is what allows us to imagine this form of decentralized perception. It enables us to sense the world in ways beyond language. Art is the octopus in love. It transforms our way of conceiving the social as well as its institutions, and also transforms the hope we all have for the possibility of perceptive inventiveness.’

(Essay)

The Feminist Writers’ Guild

Dodie Bellamy, 2015

In the selected essay, Dodie Bellamy, writer and journalist, is describing her time as part of The Feminist Writers’ Guild in the U.S. during the eighties. It deals with the importance of meeting and having conversations in the physical presence of one another, and the idea that political change starts in the emergence of issues and actions of the small collective.

(Letter)

Letter to Elizabeth Holland

Emily Dickinson, 1871

Emily Dickinson was an American poet born in 1830, after her death, nearly two thousand poems were discovered in her dresser drawer, only seven of them were published during her lifetime. She is famous for her extraordinary poetry, and as the chosen letter manifests, she could turn even the most commonplace happening into just that. Her friend Elizabeth had visited her and forgot the thimble of the sewing she had brought. In the letter, Emily responds with motive to tell her that she had found it, but perhaps even more to convey her appreciation of their friendship.

(Book chapter)

La consciencia de la mestiza

Gloria Anzaldúa, 1987

‘La conciencia de la mestiza’ is the last chapter of Borderlands | La frontera, a semi-autobiographic book of essays, prose, and poems. It examines the issues of women’s experiences in Chicano and Latinx cultures. Anzaldúa was an American feminist and LGBT studies writer; in her texts, she discussed topics such as heteronormativity, colonialism, and male dominance. The borderlands is referring to the invisible borders existing between groups—dualities such as men and women, latinx and non-latinx, and differences in sexualities. The new mestiza is an image of the consciousness that wants to break these borders.

(Essay)

Laugh of the Medusa

Hélène Cixous, 1972

Hélène Cixous is a professor, writer, feminist, and founder of The University of Paris VIII. Her essay was first published in 1972 as ‘Le rire de la Méduse’ and made her well-known for her concepts of écriture feminine, described as a feminine mode of writing outside the patriarchal structures of language.

(Novel)

Two Serious Ladies

Jane Bowles, 1943

Two Serious Ladies is Jane Bowles’s only novel. She is known for her very singular way of writing, but also for her long-standing writers block; her body of work comprises one novel, one full-length play, a few shorter works, and a great number of letters. The novel follows two women who both feel the need to escape their suffocating social environment and decide, each in their own way, to radically change their ways of living.

(Periodical)

Vice Versa, America's Gayest Magazine

Lisa Ben, 1947

Vice Versa is the first known lesbian publication in the world. Lisa Ben, an American editor, author, and songwriter, wrote, edited, printed, and distributed the magazine for nine months in Los Angeles in the late 1940s. She produced it at her work place after her boss told her that she should always look busy, even when she had no work assigned.

(Book)

Sexual Difference

Milan Women's Bookstore Collective, 1990

The selected quote was read on the screening of Our Future Network by artist and contemporary film maker Alex Martinis-Roe last year. The film deals with practices from different feminist groups. One practice called affidamento came from the Milan Women’s Bookstore Collective, it is a form of consciouness-raising based on a correspondence between two women. Roe writes ‘By referring to one another, each gives the other authority in her spheres of political practice by acknowledging her desires, competences and differences.’ (From her online archive alexmartinisroe.com)

(Novel)

The Description of a New World, Called The Blazing-World

Margaret Cavendish, 1666

‘The Blazing-World’ is a work of prose fiction by the English writer Margaret Cavendish. It is the only known work of utopian fiction by a woman in the 17th century, and one of the earliest examples of science fiction. It explores issues such as science, gender and power, as well as the relationship between imagination and reason, philosophy and fiction.

(Video)

Bossing Up

Nicki Minaj, 2011

(Poetry)

Poems

Sappho, 600 BC

Sappho came from the island of Lesbos in Greece and wrote a large body of poetry, much of which reflected love between women. Most of her work is lost; the chosen fragments come from Guy Davenport’s translations of what is left from 2600 years ago. In the introduction to the translations, Davenport writes: ‘Spirit, for Sappho, shines from matter; one embraces the two together, inseparable. The world is to be loved.’

(Video)

Tamera’s Heartfelt Birthday Message to Adrienne

Tamera Mowry-Housley and Adrienne Bailon, 2016

Tamera and Adrienne host alongside each other an American TV show called The Real. For Adrienne’s birthday, Tamera begins a spontaneous declaration of love for her coworker and friend by drawing in a long breath. She then slowly puts into words what she loves and admires her for by giving space to the un ltered expres- sion of her affection.

(Speech)

Meryl Streep’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Viola Davis, 2017

Viola Davis is an American actress and producer. She’s known for her many successful roles—but also for her often powerful and moving speeches. In her speech at the Emmys awards, she starts by quoting Harriet Tubman: ‘In my mind, I see a line. And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line, but I can’t seem to get there no-how. I can’t seem to get over that line.’ and she continues: ‘That was Harriet Tubman in the 1800s. And let me tell you something: The only thing that sepa- rates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.’

(Novel)

Flush

Virginia Woolf, 1933

Flush is an imaginative biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s dog, a cocker spaniel. It sways between fiction and non-fiction, and is based on Barrett Browning’s two poems about her dog as well as her correspondence with her husband. Virginia Woolf writes from the perspective of Flush and uses it as an opportunity to write about class differences, women’s freedom and the anxiety of city life.