Getting to Know the Goddess: Kay Turner's What a Witch
A Program in BookWoman’s monthly “Getting to Know the Goddess” Series
Facilitated by Linda Webster
What a Witch, Part 12: When the Virgin Met the Witch
Kay Turner's presentation at Bookwoman is part of "What a Witch," a series of lectures, essays and performances she has been working on since 2012.
Eventually, Turner's project will become a book to follow her Transgressive Tales: Queering the Grimms (co-edited with Pauline Greenhill; Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2012). "When the Virgin Met the Witch" brings Kay and her BookWoman audience back to the 1980s and her days as a graduate student in folklore at UT Austin. During a period of field work in Laredo for her dissertation, she met a remarkable midwife and healer named Margarita "Maggie" Guerrero. Sra Guerrero told Turner an amazing story about the Virgin Mary, a Witch, and a Miracle. Turner will share the story and what it means, plus invite your interpretations.
Kay Turner is an artist working across disciplines including writing, music, performance, and folklore. Turner holds a PhD in folklore from UT Austin. Since 2002, she has taught courses on gender and queer theory, ghosts and their ontologies, and fairy tale performance in the Performance Studies Department at New York University. Her books include Beautiful Necessity: The Art and Meaning of Women’s Altars and Transgressive Tales: Queering the Grimms. She founded and edited (with sisters in the Sowing Circle Press collective) Lady-Unique-Inclination-of-the-Night (1976-1983), an early feminist journal dedicated to exploration of the goddess. Turner's current book and performance project, What a Witch, queerly rethinks and rehabilitates the witch figure. Turner's recent performance works include What a Witch, Parts 1-9, including "Muses of Malta: Witch-Goddess-Madonna" (performed in Malta, 2018); "Night Hags: Visitation" (2018); “Hansel and Gretel Queered (Devouring)” (2017); "The Croning" (2016); "Witch Mark: Evidence" (2016); and "Spurning Fertility/Smashing Tchotchkes" (2016-2018). Turner writes songs, sings, and has performed in numerous bands, notably Austin's rock punk, lesbian-feminist “Girls in the Nose” (active 1985-1996), now touring again whenever we get the nerve.