This is part three of an interview series with authors whose work appears in the anthology Erase the Patriarchy (University of Hell Press, 2020), about which I generally can’t say enough good things. You can read the first interview, with editor Isobel O’Hare, here; and the second interview, with author and Barrelhouse Fiction Editor Tara Campbell, here. This week, I’m delighted to be in conversation with queer, asexual, anarchist sex worker (and, if we’re being honest, low-key fashion genius) Kitty Stryker.
Fox: Tell me a little bit about the work of yours that was selected for inclusion in this anthology. What was your process like in creating it? Were there any specific experiences, literary or otherwise, that helped precipitate this work?
Kitty: I was very excited to hear about Erase the Patriarchy, as I love this particular kind of art form. I knew immediately I wanted to use something written by the alt right, and it didn’t take long to find something appropriate by Milo Yiannopoulos. I’ve written a lot about my experiences with double speak by members of the alt right, so this seemed like another venue to cut through the bullshit to the intentions their actions betray.
I really like that way of looking at it; I feel like a lot of authors gravitate towards the medium for, in essence, that reason. How did you come to be interested in erasure as an art form? What have been your most rewarding experiences using it?
I wasn’t especially familiar with erasure as an art form until the call for this anthology. I took it as an interesting challenge and puzzle, almost like a type of magnetic poetry where you have tight restrictions on what words you can use to communicate your point. It was fun to play with the form and I’m pleased with the result!
What was your experience of the anthology as a whole, once you were able to read through it? What new insights, if any, do you feel you gained from the collection?
I really loved thumbing through the book and seeing the variety of approaches and topics. It inspired me to want to try erasure more.
What kind of experience(s) do you hope for readers to have of this book—and, specifically, your own work in the anthology—as they make their way through it? Is there anything you hope they get to experience, feel, or consider from a fresh perspective?
Mainly I hope it encourages another form of critical thinking. Politicians and public figures more widely often use an avalanche of words carefully chosen to obscure their goals and mindset, but it’s never completely absent. When you strip all the excess away, you find the foundation of their beliefs, naked and raw. That’s an important skill set.
Agreed. So, what are you working on now? Any new projects you’re particularly excited about?
Currently, I’m working on an as-yet untitled follow-up to my anthology, Ask: Building Consent Culture. This is going to be a workbook of thought-provoking questions that I hope will help people explore what consent culture means to them, and how they relate to the world. As an anarchist, I don’t like to tell people what to think, but I do love to encourage them to acknowledge how they thinks and why—I hope the workbook will do that in a way that’s accessible across the spectrum, from older somewhat conservative second wave feminists, to Zoomer leftists, and yeah, maybe even some libertarians! That’s the dream.
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Kitty Stryker has been working on defining and creating consent culture for over 10 years through her writing, workshops, and website consentculture.com. She’s the editor of Ask: Building Consent Culture, and is especially interested in bringing conversations about consent out of the bedroom into everyday life. Kitty also enjoys working as a street medic for direct actions, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and caring for her two cats. She identifies as a sex worker, queer, asexual, sober, anarchist and femme.
Fox Henry Frazier is a poet, essayist, and visual artist. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and a PhD from the University of Southern California, where she was also a Provost’s Fellow. Her poetry collections include The Hydromantic Histories (Bright Hill Press, 2015), Like Ash in the Air After Something Has Burned (2017), and Raven King (Yes Poetry, 2022). Fox created Agape Editions. She lives in upstate New York with her daughter, her dogs, her gardens, and her ghosts.