By Erin Rook, PQ Monthly
What do you do when you’ve got a notebook full of naughty poems and no place to read them? You create one, of course. That’s exactly what Sossity Chiricuzio did in 2006, with the help of friend Kelli Dunham.
This month, Chiricuzio celebrated the six-year anniversary of the X-rated open mic night, Dirty Queer. Heralded as a safe space for the queers and kinksters, the event incorporates readings as well as other types of performance art, door prizes, and a quiz about a feminist writer.
Once a monthly event, Dirty Queer moved to a quarterly format last year. But Chiricuzio isn’t slowing down. Instead she is preparing to publish an anthology of writers featured at the event.
“The anthology is a project I’ve been working towards for years, and it’s finally coming to fruition,” Chiricuzio says. “This isn’t a vanity project, it’s a strong and diverse collection of work that has been read/performed on the Dirty Queer stage over the years that was selected from a large number of submissions.”
Sex educator Sinclair Sexsmith is writing the book’s forward and local artist Christopher Mack is designing its cover. Chiricuzio has selected all the pieces and is getting ready to submit proposals to publishers. She hopes to have the collection available for purchase sometime in 2013.
Connor Broddock has been a regular attendee and performer at Dirty Queer since 2010 and is one of 25 writers included in the book.
“I am honored to be a part of the anthology and was delighted to be chosen,” Broddock says. “Dirty Queer is so much more than an open mic…. Sossity has created a space that is radical and uplifting, and continues to make sure the important parts of it remain – like the “homework” about our collective queer and feminist history, which is so desperately needed since it’s a history we aren’t taught in mainstream society.”
Also included in the anthology are Alysia Angel, Sean Bug, Ty Chance, Joey Dagger, Gavin Everard, Amari Fauna, Lola Goldberg, Jake Hart, Rhodora Irie, Tillie King, Katie Knutson, Riley La Roux, Joe LeBlanc, Laura Pierce, Nik Rapier, Zachary Rocket, Sinclair Sexsmith, tash shatz, Erika Stanley, Aleks Stefanova, Jack Stocklynn, Max Voltage, and A. Wolfe.
The anthology serves as evidence of the growth Chiricuzio says she has witnessed among the writers who frequent Dirty Queer.
“I’ve seen people go from practically whispering, paper shaking, rip it off fast like a Band-Aid moments their first time on stage to standing there grounded, having eye contact with the audience, and lighting up with the praise they finally give themselves time and permission to let in,” Chiricuzio says. “I’ve watched people learn how to use their voice, find their pacing and power, and go from raggedly capturing a moment to crafting a story.”
In addition to publishing the anthology, Chiricuzio is planning to launch series of daylong writing workshops on “Sex and the Deviant Body” this spring covering topics including fat bodies, disabled bodies, queer bodies, and working-class bodies.
“I’m expanding into workshops because I want to grow as a writer and teacher, and dig deeper into the topics that arise at the open mic,” Chiricuzio says. “I also want to offer ways for the people who come to the open mic to work on their writing with other dirty queers in a focused way, and a way for those not ready or into the spotlight to explore their words and voices.”
Chiricuzio is also developing workshops on taking writing from the page to the stage and organizing community events.
“I’ve learned so much over the course of the last six years,” she says, “and I want to share that knowledge with my community.”
To learn more about Dirty Queer, visit dirtyqueer.com.
Originally published in PQ Monthly.