Petra Kuppers is a disability culture activist, a community performance artist, and a Professor of English and Women’s & Gender Studies at the University of Michigan, teaching in performance studies and disability studies. She also teaches on the low-residency MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College. Petra uses somatic and speculative writing as well as performance practice to engage audiences toward more socially just and enjoyable futures. She has written academic books on disability arts and culture, medicine and performance, and community performance.
Her poetry collection, PearlStitch, appeared with Spuyten Duyvil Press (2016), and the press also brought out her first speculative short story collection, Ice Bar, in 2018. A chapbook of speculative poems, Green Orion Woman, appeared 2018 with Dancing Girl Press.
Her most recent poetry collection, Gut Botany, appeared in a viral world in March 2020, as part of the Made in Michigan Series with Wayne State University Press.
Her poems and short stories have appeared in British and US journals like Anomaly, PANK, Adrienne, Accessing the Future, The Future Fire, The Sycamore Review, Visionary Tongue, Wordgathering, Poets for Living Waters, Disability Studies Quarterly, Beauty is a Verb: New Poetics of Disability, textsound, Streetnotes, About Place, and QDA: A Queer Disabled Anthology.
She is the Artistic Director of The Olimpias, an international disability culture collective, and she is the co-creator of a community performance environment in Ypsilanti, Michigan, the Turtle Disco, with her wife Stephanie Heit.
She also maintains a solo painting practice.
Petra is a fellow of the Black Earth Institute, an ecopoetic community that re-forges the links between art and spirit, earth and society (2018-2021).
Opening poem of Gut Botany
Petra Kuppers, petra.kuppers at gmail.com
Turtle Disco page (lots of our stuff is by word of mouth – just contact us if you are interested in Turtle Disco offerings)
My current sessions at Turtle Disco (all free):
(Pre-COVID description:) Queer Dreaming:
Please join us in Turtle Disco for Queer Dreaming, Ypsilanti, Michigan. The Turtle Disco women began this series on the anniversary of the Pulse tragedy, as a way to connect ourselves to wider webs of memory and queer love. Dreamers engage in a 20 minute journey, followed by open writing time.
We have pillows, mats and blankets, and we practice disability culture space-holding: our house is wheelchair accessible, and we do not use sage or other scents. The practice is queer-led, seeks new kin and new responsibilities, and honors many different cultural pathways to lucid/shamanic dreaming (we aim not to engage in Native American appropriation).
(Before COVID:) These somatic classes start with a short movement warm-up. Then, we’ll dive into our senses, exploring bodily boundaries on our yoga mats and under colorful blankets. We encounter ourselves and our micro-worlds, response-able to minute shifts, desires, and sensual states. We end on solo processing — writing, drawing, or moving — before we close our time together. Let’s pour our bodyminds across Turtle Disco, and tune up like jellyfish.
Radical access: let’s explore together what works for us. Ramp access, hypoallergenic doggie on the premises, queer/trans friendly, neurodiversity friendly.
(September 2020 update: Amoeba Dances are going zoomy. Here is the current description of this e-experiment in communal drifting:
In Amoeba Dances, we listen to and move with sounds we are making with our own breath, in our own home, while being comfortable on a mat on the floor (or in a similar comfortable position for yourself and your particular bodymind). Our practice is informed by Pauline Oliveros’ deep listening work, by Continuum Movement, and by Olimpias disability culture practices. We use our breath to channel sounds through our body, and respond in movement. Our breath tunnels link us to new and old worlds, to moments that allow us to experience ourselves in difference, in hope, in joy, whether in relation to pain, racialization, settler status, gender, environmental trauma, or other. We encounter ourselves and our micro-worlds, response-able to minute shifts, desires, and sensual states.)
I also lead sessions in our Salamander Lair, a materials studio. For a look at my current painterly practice, click here.
Events Page: workshops, poetry events, fiction events, participatory actions
Petra Kuppers artist resume 2020: Petra Kuppers 3 page resume 2020