The Virginia G. Piper
Center for Creative Writing

Home / Get Lit Salon Series / Rogelio Juárez / Get Lit: Whose Gaze Is It, Anyways?

Get Lit: Whose Gaze Is It, Anyways? with Rogelio Juárez

Date(s): Thursday, October 3, 2019, 7:00 p.m.
Valley Bar, Reading Room, 130 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004
Genre and Form(s): African American, Creative Practice, Latinx, Writing Process
Cost: Free

RSVP for this Event

About this Event

Spirited conversation. Literary culture. Every first Thursday at Valley Bar. Get Lit.

This month: Race, gatekeeping, the marketplace, and white gaze with Rogelio Juárez

“The very serious function of racism … is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and so you spend 20 years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says that you have no art so you dredge that up. Somebody says that you have no kingdoms and so you dredge that up. None of that is necessary.” (“A Humanist View,” a 1975 speech Toni Morrison gave at Portland State University)

“I never asked Tolstoy to write for me, a little colored girl in Lorain, Ohio. I never asked Joyce not to mention Catholicism or the world of Dublin. Never. And I don’t know why I should be asked to explain your life to you.” (“Conversations With Toni Morrison,” 1994)

“What I’m interested in is writing without the gaze, without the white gaze. … In so many earlier books by African-American writers, particularly the men, I felt that they were not writing to me. But what interested me was the African-American experience throughout whichever time I spoke of. It was always about African-American culture and people — good, bad, indifferent, whatever — but that was, for me, the universe.” (From Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah’s 2015 profile of Toni Morrison in The New York Times Magazine)

How does colonization affect the creative process? What do we assume the reader knows? What do we explain? Who are we writing for? What is the white gaze? How do political, social, and cultural discourses around specific ethnicities, races, and groups shape the marketplace for literature? What are the tensions and complexities of identifying as a member of a group? How do we break down social constructions? How do we build new ones? Should we? How do we identify ourselves?

Please note: attendance is limited to 24 guests in order for everyone to be able to speak. Guests must be 21 or older (18 or older if accompanied by a guardian or parent). Seating is first-come, first-served. RSVPs are purely for the purposes of monitoring attendance, gauging interest, and communicating directions, logistics, and other information about the event. You do not have to register or RSVP to attend this event. This event is open to the public and free. 

About the Author

Photograph of Rogelio Juarez

Rogelio Juárez is a Phoenix-based writer, a graduate of the VONA/Voices of Our Nation and Tin House workshops, a grandson of Braceros and son of an immigrant and a marine. His writing can be found in J Journal: New Writing on Justice, The James Franco Review, and Zócalo Public Square.

About Get Lit

Inspired by 17th century salons—intimate, informal gatherings where people would come together to exchange literary and philosophical ideas under the roof of an educated host—Get Lit is a night of spirited conversation and literary culture every first Thursday at Valley Bar (130 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004) from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Every month, a local writer, professor, or other member of the community speaks for three to five minutes on a topic of their choice before opening the conversation up to the room. Guests must be 21+. Attendance is limited to 24 guests in order to allow everyone the opportunity to speak. Open to the public and free. To learn more, visit our website at

Have something you'd like to talk about? Know someone who does? Get Lit is an open, community-focused space for people of all backgrounds, experiences, thoughts, and beliefs to come together in intentional, deliberate conversation. Anyone can host. Nominate yourself or someone else to host today at! 

View a Map