Estás en tu casa. Feel free to wander around, find out who I am and see what I've been up to. You can read my blogs or excerpts of my poetry, fiction and essays, watch videos of my lectures, buy my books, or book me to speak, and learn about some of the projects I'm involved in.
Discovery of the Week
All praise to National Nurses United for fighting on all our behalves to demand effective Ebola protocols in US hospitals. As this excellent article points out, health care workers, especially nurses and aides, are on the front lines of climate change, as warming temperatures and increased deforestation cause insect and animal borne epidemics to spread. The nurses just won excellent mandatory safety protocols in California.
Books, Books, Books
Medicine Stories II (Updated and revised)
With the closing of South End Press (see below) I have the unexpected opportunity to reissue my books Medicine Stories and Remedios, and to correct and update both books. I'll keep you posted.
Cosecha and Other Stories
with Rosario Morales
In 1986, Getting Home Alive broke new ground by its content, its form, and the identities of its authors, a New York Puerto Rican mother and her island born daughter, both feminists and radicals. Cosecha and Other Stories is the long-awaited sequel, fourteen short stories, factual and fictional, full of gardens and kitchens, love, loss, and revelation. Available here.
Kindling: Writings On the Body
Kindling: Writings On the Body is now available here at Red Room (my preference) and also on Amazon and CreateSpace.
Read selections from Kindling
"Aurora's writing is itself a kind of alchemy, balancing emotional nuance with rich historical context, simultaneously speaking in an intimate, personal voice and for a collective we. She offers us vulnerable, power-filled lyricism that moves the audience to new understandings of their own lives, as she claims her body's pleasure and pain."
Patty Berne, Co-founder and Artistic Director, Sins Invalid.
Camaradas Near and Far
Stefanie Fox is the Co-director for Organizing at Jewish Voice for Peace, so I met her through my work with the organization, as an advisory board member. But we share an extraordinary historical link that we discovered while standing in a field in Washington State, watching swifts pouring themselves down a chimney. I was talking abut a writing project based on the history of my great-grandparents' small village in the Ukraine. If Stefanie hadn't just been reviewing family history documents given to her by an aunt, she wouldn't have reacted when I mentioned the village's name. Israelovka, also known as Yazer. It turns out that her great-grandparents and mine were all small town radicals, all migrated to North America (Canada in her case, the US in mine) and continued to organize where they landed, and passed their values on to the descendents, so that 110 years later, their great-great-granddaughters both work against the Israeli Occupation and for radical Jewish culture in the same organization!
Isabel Moya, editor of the Cuban feminist magazine Mujeres, at an event in February, honoring the late Sara Gonzalez, one of the most important figures of the Nueva Trova musical movement.
Barbara McAfee and I met because of a man we each spent some years partnered with. I sometimes call her my alimony, and she calls me her lover-in-law. She's an amazing singer/songwriter, song leader, voice teacher and friend, and each time I visit Minneapolis we walk by the river and trade tales. Check out her book Full Voice: The Art and Practice of Vocal Presence.
Jewish Voice for Peace Artists' Council
In September, I had the great good fortune to attend the founding leadership retreat for Jewish Voice for Peace's Artists' Council, something I've advocated for for many years. Thirty-six artists came together to begin crafting ways of responding strategically to what is somewhat euphemistically called the Israel-Palestine conflict, and at the same time, the Zionist domination of Jewish institutional and cultural life in the US, and the silencing of dissent. I find it hard to describe the intensity of the relief I felt, to be in community with other artists who want to think big on these issues, and shift the overall narrative. You'll be hearing a lot more from us, so stay tuned.
My vulnerable financial situation, a product of chronic illness, is becoming dire, and as I battle a new tick borne infection, I'm less able to do the small amount of work I can usually manage. I'm trying an innovative way to fund my work, asking lots of people to subscribe small amounts to support my work, so I can write what I think needs to be written, whether or not it's marketable as a book. If you're not yet a member of the Village It Takes, please consider joining. If you are, please encourage your friends to join, too.
Trauma and Liberation
One of the topics I've been thinking, researching and writing about for decades, is the role of unhealed trauma in our political lives. Trauma is the key obstacle to successfully organizing to end oppression. We pay way too little attention as activists to the physical, emotional and social impact that oppression trauma has on our ability to think clearly, strategically, flexibly and with compassion about how to transform society.
I've been thinking abut these issues for over forty years, and I'm putting everything I know about trauma and about healing into one of my most exciting projects, Guanakán.
" Guanakán draws on my ancestral cultures, my personal story, and contemporary disability justice and environmental justice thinking, to create a prose poetry medical codex, a first aid manual prescribing memory, ecology, inclusion and sovereignty in recognition that my body and the body of the planet are wracked with the same illness."
Houses of Memory, Landscapes of Liberation
The Jewish Voice for Peace Artists' Council is incubating many exciting projects. Our theme, "Houses of Memory, Landscapes of Liberation" came from watching a film about Gazan artists who described the bombing of their homes and studios as a war on Palestinian memory. Jewish memory is also under attack, through erasure and censorship of anything that doesn't support the Israeli status quo. Revolutionary art can't just denounce injustice and mourn loss; it must also imagine possibility, so we also want to use art to describe what justice and peace might look like.
I'm going to be working on an online component to our work that I'm thrilled abut. We plan to create an archive of peace and justice art on Palestine/Israel, in all genres, and invite guest curators to arrange selections from our collection into mini exhibits. We also plan to establish a virtual collaborative studio where Palestinian and Jewish artists (and those who are both or neither) respond to the same prompts, creating artistic conversations. We'll start small, with 6-8 artists. If you would like to be considered to participate, or want to submit art in any genre to the archive, please write to me.
Plum Blossom in February
I'll be back in the Bay Area for the second half of February, to celebrate my birthday with my friends, visit the Pacific Ocean, and give some talks. I'm still have room for some paid speaking engagements in my schedule if you'd like to have me speak or read my work at your school or organization.
Cottage and land for sale
My family is selling my parents' summer cottage in Vermont, with 20 acres of beautiful wooded land. Located near Brattleboro, it's quiet and beautiful, and has literary history, too. The cottage is one bedroom, but there's space to add other structures. For more information and photos, see our listing.