Speech Acts

Curated by TC Tolbert
“Speech Acts” is a video poetry series produced in collaboration with Noah Saterstrom and Trickhouse. More than an archive, “Speech Acts” seeks to create an intimate, human experience with Tucson trans and genderqueer poets and their work. Inspired by Ed Bowes’ film “Three Poems by Akilah Oliver,” “Speech Acts” references J. L. Austin’s work on performative utterances and Judith Butler’s notion that “speech itself is a bodily act.” We hope it will connect trans and genderqueer folks across geography and genre, and introduce trans and genderqueer poets to a wider cis audience. Also, we hope it will convince more kick ass folks to visit us in Tucson. It’s a really neat place.


We would like to thank Tucson Pima Arts Council (TPAC) for their generous funding of this project and their vital support of trans and genderqueer artists.

– TC



Huck Arteaga Raised in rural Washington State, queer Chican@ poet, Carlyn Huckleberry Arteaga, came to poetry by accident, discovering words under the thorny-sweet brambles of culture, family, gender, sex, and of course, love. Their work has appeared in Marooned (V.2, 2004), LUX (V.1, 2005), and several online compilations. Their other passions include literacy education, youth empowerment, all things bicycle, talking to travelers, and traveling to talkers. They are also co-founder of GENDERowdy Tucson, an annual gathering of genderqueers and chosen family. They just completed their first chapbook, Jesus Was No Saint (2013). Carlyn/Huck currently lives in Tucson, AZ.


Hannah Ensor is originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan. She holds an MFA from the University of Arizona, and work of hers can be found in print in the Bat City Review, CutBank, and online at Spork Press and The Volta.


Ian Ellasante is a transgender poet and artist of African, Choctaw, and European descent. Originally from Memphis, Ian studied Creative Writing and Sociology at the University of Memphis before moving to Tucson, where he completed his MA at the University of Arizona. Ian developed and recently taught the workshops “Writing the Threshold: Poetry in Transitional Spaces” at Casa Libre en la Solana and “Queering Liminality: The Uncommon Beauty and Creative Potential of Middle Spaces” at the Trans and Genderqueer Poetry Symposium. Ian received the Native Writer Award in Poetry at the 2011 Taos Summer Writers’ Conference and has been published in Currency, Evening Will Come, and The Feminist Wire.



Samuel Ace is the author of three collections of poetry: Normal Sex (Firebrand Books), Home in three days. Don’t wash., a hybrid project of poetry, video and photography (Hard Press), and most recently Stealth, co-authored with Maureen Seaton (Chax Press). He is a recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, two-time finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in Poetry, winner of the Astraea Lesbian Writer’s Fund Prize in Poetry, The Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction, the Firecracker Alternative Book Award in poetry. He was also a 2012 finalist for the National Poetry Series. His work has been widely anthologized and has appeared in or is forthcoming from Ploughshares, Eoagh, Spiral Orb, Kenyon Review, van Gogh’s Ear, Rhino, 3:am, Panhandler, The Volta, and others. He lives in Tucson, AZ and Truth or Consequences, NM.


TC Tolbert is a genderqueer, feminist poet and teacher committed to social justice. TC is Assistant Director of Casa Libre en la Solana, adjunct instructor at University of Arizona and Pima Community College, and wilderness instructor at Outward Bound. Co-editor, along with Tim Trace Peterson, of the forthcoming Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books/EOAGH, March 2013), TC has two chapbooks: spirare (Belladonna* 2012) and territories of folding (Kore Press 2011). TC was guest curator for a special trans and queer issue of the online poetry and poetics journal, Evening Will Come, in December 2012. His work won the Arizona Statewide Poetry Competition in 2010 and his first full-length collection, Gephyromania, is forthcoming from Ahsahta Press. S/he is the creator of Made for Flight, a youth empowerment project that utilizes creative writing and kite building to commemorate murdered transgender people and to dismantle homophobia and transphobia. www.tctolbert.com