Performance poetry troupe founded in 1998 by Heather Gawronski-Salerno, Marty McConnell, and Andi Strickland. Every summer from 1999 until 2001, they and other fabulous female poets have taken to the road for their Wandering Uterus Tour, which takes its name from the longstanding belief that female mental and emotional ailments were the product of unruly internal reproductive organs. Don't laugh: the words hysteria and hysterectomy have the same Greek root, meaning "womb", and until a few decades ago, women's mental health problems were routinely blamed on the uterus and ovaries. Similar misogynistic medical beliefs and practices persist to this day, or did you really think vaginal rejuvenation and other forms of genital plastic surgery are products of a just and perfect world? The Morrigan, named for a Celtic triple goddess associated with death and battle, would certainly have you believe otherwise. (See Morrigan for more on the mythic origins of the group's name.)
I was introduced to the Morrigan at their 2001 Wandering Uterus performance at the Gypsy Den in Santa Ana, CA. Jongleur saw a short article about them in the arts section of the OC Weekly, thought it would be right up my alley, and was absolutely right. I bought everybody's chapbooks and looked forward to seeing them again in 2001, when I caught them at the Laguna Beach Brewing Company, and it was incredible. In 2001, Heather Gawronski-Salerno did not perform; her slot was filled by Yolanda Wilkinson for the first half of the summer, and Arianna Waynes from mid-July onwards. I can't speak for Arianna, but Yolanda was fantastic in Laguna Beach. I got Andi to sign her 2000 chapbook, turns to laugh for me; her autograph captures the giddy delight of the moment well:
"...I can't believe that you came back with this book. This is truly a rockstar moment...."
I spent the summer of 2002 traveling, so I couldn't catch any of the group's performances in the U.S., and in fact from the trio's official website (http://www.themorrigan.com) it's unclear whether the tour happened in that or any subsequent years. At the time of this writing, the Morrigan are just a fond memory to me, albeit one I wear with pride at least once a month in the form of a "Let your uterus wander" t-shirt. If I find out more, I'll certainly update this writeup accordingly.