Desert Split Open Presents…

Based in Joshua Tree, CA, we began as the Desert Split Open Mic, which in turn was inspired by the Feckless Cunt Anthology. The focus is always poetry and prose that is feminist, queer, or otherwise radical. It’s a place to say what we are discouraged from saying. After an extended hiatus due to Covid-19, we explored the possibilities of online literary events as the Desert Split Open Presents… 


For our first online event, we were thrilled to welcome Vanessa Veselka, author of The Great Offshore Grounds. Vanessa’s virtual book tour follows the routes taken by her characters, including Cheyenne, who has a memorable day and night in Joshua Tree. The publisher, Knopf, calls The Great Offshore Grounds, “A wildly original, cross-country novel that subverts a long tradition of family narratives and casts new light on the mythologies—national, individual, and collective—that drive and define us.”

In our opinion, The Great Offshore Grounds is feminist, queer, and otherwise radical. It is also beautifully written, thematically ambitious, literary fiction. It is a big book, in all ways, so I was glad we decided to focus our conversation on promiscuity and feminism and our expectations of female characters (and authors).

Vanessa was kind enough to mention our event in a recent blog post:

“Cheyenne travels through Joshua Tree, spending a night in past, very personal hells, heightened by designer drugs, menstrual cramps, and loneliness. I got to have a wonderful conversation with Susan Rukeyser at The Desert Split Open…”

We can’t wait to invite her back to read in person.

We already have TWO more exciting, meaningful, feminist events in the works… stay tuned! We’re so grateful to the writers and artists working with us. Hope you’re finding strength in creation during this time of destruction. To quote Lidia Yuknavitch, “Make art in the face of fuck.”

Just get through it, and let’s meet on the other side.

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