Fall 2023 • Vol. XLV No. 4 Luminous Gender VesselAugust 30, 2023 |

Luminous Gender Vessel Introduction

Dear Melissa, Hello from our little yellow house in Old East Durham. A rainy day in what will be a series of rainy days in what will be a very hot month. It just poured for about an hour. The moment it stopped I walked into the backyard to see how the St. John’s wort we planted yesterday fared. It seems OK. How can the bodies of plants seem so much more resilient than mine some days? That’s a question I’ve been asking this year as I watch the gardens and the trees I live beside while  wrestling with perimenopause and bleeding almost every day for ten months. And the attendant surgeries that seem to have (please) stopped the bleeding. The resilience of plants has helped. Has helped my own body. Has helped me wrestle and heal this body. This body! This body that never imagined itself as a body that could menstruate for ten months straight. This body whose finery and luster I have built, yes, in tangible ways (bow ties, dapper cuts, just the right glasses, a voice trai

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Gabrielle Calvocoressi is the author of The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart (Persea Books, 2005); Apocalyptic Swing (Persea Books, 2009), a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize; and Rocket Fantastic (Persea Books, 2017), winner of the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry. Calvocoressi is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a Wallace Stegner Fellowship and Jones Lectureship from Stanford University, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award; a Lannan Foundation residency in Marfa, Texas, the Bernard F. Conners Prize for Poetry from The Paris Review, and a residency from the Civitella di Ranieri Foundation.  Calvocoressi’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in numerous magazines and journals, including The Baffler, The New York Times, Poetry Magazine, Boston Review, The Kenyon Review, Tin House, and The New Yorker.
Photo of Melissa Faliveno

Melissa Faliveno is the author of the debut essay collection Tomboyland (TOPPLE Books, 2020), named a Best Book of 2020 by NPR, New York Public Library, O, The Oprah Magazine, and Electric Literature and recipient of a 2021 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association. Her essays, interviews, and reviews have appeared in Esquire, The Paris Review, Bitch, Literary Hub, Ms., Brooklyn Rail, and Prairie Schooner, among others, and in the anthology Sex and the Single Woman: 24 Writers Reimagine Helen Gurley Brown’s Cult Classic (Harper Perennial, 2022).

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