Eli Clare makes new worlds. Raw truths, powerful honesty and painful, transcendent beauty. Eli’s unflinching personal and intellectual rigor are invitations. To self-examination, to societal critique. With delicacy and nuance. With rapier edge and with a warm embrace, Eli invites us to imagine the best possible world and to feel hope for our places within it.
“Poems are Chinook salmon swimming upstream to their spawning beds, old growth Douglas fir dappling the ground in shadow. They are mountainsides clearcut for lumber and paper, pale green of new growth already returning. They limp and stammer, tremor and drool, hallucinate and have panic attacks. Poems are cracks, crevices, faultlines. They wait in line at the welfare office; collect food stamps, Medicaid, SSI. They gossip, laugh, pass the word, “Don’t let ‘em get you down.” Poems are kisses, fists, and underground rivers. For all these reasons and many more, I am a poet.”
White, disabled, and genderqueer, Eli Clare lives near Lake Champlain in occupied Abenaki territory (currently known as Vermont) where he writes and proudly claims a penchant for rabble-rousing. He has written two books of creative non-fiction, Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure and Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation, and a collection of poetry, The Marrow’s Telling: Words in Motion, and has been published in many periodicals and anthologies. Eli speaks, teaches, and facilitates all over the United States and Canada at conferences, community events, and colleges about disability, queer and trans identities, and social justice. Among other pursuits, he has walked across the United States for peace, coordinated a rape prevention program, and helped organize the first ever Queerness and Disability Conference.
There is photography, video and audio documentation of this performance, available below. The video is captioned in English and features live American Sign Language interpretation.
All documentation is released under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial – No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND)
Image Description: Eli Clare stands on the stage at Performance Space New York, arms widely outstreched. In the background, projected green text dlsplays the live-captioned text of Eli’s poetry.