Is your work political?
Much of my work explores intersections between power structures of society and how those affect the lives and psyches of individuals—structures of gender, class, race, religion. None of us can operate independently of these systems, and our actions are more conscious when we are aware of how we are shaped by and either perpetuate or resist these systems.
What is the place of literature in politics?
Too often politics concentrates on the systemic level, but literature can provide a lens into the individuals, families and communities that are affected by these systems. It grounds us in lived experience and can both provide a reflection to those who have not seen themselves reflected in dominant culture and foster empathy for people whose lives I have not lived. Literature can broaden our understanding of the world, make it more complex.
What is your favorite political work?
Impossible to have one favorite! But I will list here Susan Griffin’s 1978 book, “Woman and Nature: the Roaring Inside Her,” which demonstrates that the domination of women and the domination of the earth are the same, and equally disastrous.
Do you feel voting is important?
While I am skeptical about electoral politics, and almost always unhappy with my choices, I am not cynical enough to not vote. The forces I am opposed to want us not to vote and for that reason alone it is important.
What are your hopes for this election?
For sure it will not end corporate greed or rampant militarism, but I am hoping a new administration will quell the outright elevation of racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism and anti-immigrant sentiments and policies. I am hoping a new administration will return to supporting the Paris Climate Initiative, bring us closer to universal health care, and make restorations to the social safety net. Progressive people must continue to vigorously advocate for police reform and a rebalancing of income inequality.
Terry Wolverton is author of eleven books of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction, including “EMBERS,” a novel in poems, and “INSURGENT MUSE: ART AND LIFE AT THE WOMAN’S BUILDING,” a memoir. She has also edited fifteen literary compilations. She is the founder of Writers At Work, a creative writing studio in Los Angeles, and Affiliate Faculty in the MFA Writing Program at Antioch University Los Angeles. Visit Terry’s website: www.TerryWolverton.com
Public Intellectuals is a magazine that analyzes politics, economics, race, labor, socioeconomic class, popular culture, and literature. We publish daily.