Lise Weil & Trivia: Voices of Feminism

Lise Weil, IMA faculty, had a revelation 26 years ago: “The essays that were being written by my friends at that time were to me the most exciting and important things being written in the feminist world, and I wanted to publish those essays and to attract more writing of that kind. I also wanted to create a space where women could take themselves seriously as thinkers.” That vision led her to found Trivia: A Journal of Ideas, which, over its 13 years as a print journal, published feminist writer throughout the U.S. and Canada, such as Gloria Anzaldua, Andrea Dworkin, Mary Daly, Kim Chernin, Nicole Brossard, Paula Gunn Allen, Renate Stendhal and Betsy Warland. 

Trivia had an impact on the field of women’s studies and won grants from the NEA and the Mass Council on the Arts. In 2004, some IMA students approached Weil to join them in resurrecting Trivia as an on-line journal. Since that time, Trivia has flourished, again helping to shape feminism. While Trivia used to focus more on discursive prose and experimental critical writing, the new Trivia embraces creative writing as well. “It’s changed too,” explains Weil. “The notion of feminism used to be much more monolithic.

This [new Trivia] is called ‘voices of feminism’ rather than ‘a journal of ideas’.” IMA students, faculty and alumni, who have contributed to Trivia in recent years include Mercy Morganfield, Susan Moul, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Lise Weil, Julianna Borrero, Sara Wright, Rhonda Patzia; MeLissa Gabriels was a founding editor. Other writers of note, such as Judy Grahn and Deena Metzger, plus many Canadian and U.S. Scholars, poets and writers fill the pages of Trivia, each issue centered on a theme such as “The Wonderful and the Terrible,” The Resurrection Issue,” “Love and Lust,” “Memory,”The Art of the Possible,” and the “The Body.”

The current issue, “Unabashed Knowing,” was edited by Weil with co-editor and Goddard alumna Harriet Ellenberger. “It’s about women’s power of knowing, this ancient oracular capacity that women have always had to speak truth that no everyone wants to hear, to know things that not everyone wants to know,” Weil says.

Upcoming issues continue to embrace a wide spectrum of feminism. “Thinking about Goddesses,” currently being co-edited by Weil with Hye-Sook Hwang, a Korean goddess scholar, will incorporate stories, experiences and visions of and research on goddesses. Beyond that, Weil will co-edit an issue with acclaimed Canadian writer and scholar Betsy Warland, “Are Lesbians Going Extinct?” Based on a line from Nicole Brossand – “A lesbian who does not reinvent the world is a lesbian going extinct” – the issue asks writers, thinkers and activists to consider whether, as they are more accepted and occasionally even embraced by mainstream culture, lesbians are still reinventing the world.

Considering “Trivia” was one of the names of the Triple Goddess, and it’s also a word marginalized in our culture, it’s no surprise that Trivia embraces both these themes, each of which illustrates the journal’s vision “as a place at the crossroads where women’s ideas can assume their original power and significance.” 

Photos, form top: Lise Weil, artwork courtesy of Gabrielle Meixner, and Trivia Logo.

This entry was posted in Activism, Creative Writing, Cultural & Cross-Cultural Studies, Embodiment Studies & Body Image, Feminism, Women's & Gender Studies, Transforming Trauma and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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