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Gender & Poetry (Part 1): ‘Why Don’t More Women Do Blog-Oriented Writing?’
Blogging, friends, is boring. We must not blog so.
After all, the screen flashes, the great internet yearns,
we ourselves type and yearn,
and moreover Kent Johnson told me
(repeatingly) ‘Ever to confess you’re bored
means there is no
Avant Garde.’ I conclude now there is no
Avant Garde, because I am heavy bored.
i hope everyone had an unboring weekend! below you will find my first of two posts on Gender & Poetry. i look forward to your engaging comments and will continue part 2 of this topic on wednesday.
one of my favorite unboring woman bloggers–jessica smith–wrote a recent post called “Women in Poetry (Again)“. She claims:
First of all, most of the great poets writing today are women. I am not entirely sure why this is, but I think it is partly because although there is something to be said for experimentation and poetry as an art of using words for things other than self-expression, the work that resonates with me both says things and a new way and has something new to say. [...]
Perhaps because women were so long subjected to anonymity, a female experience of the world is still novel. Perhaps because women are still oppressed, the way they think and express themselves is still radical. (Note: these are cultural, not essential differences. Many men are also oppressed, especially if we get into issues of race and class, and indeed it seems to be these men whose words strike me as worth reading.) … This is all to say to the self-effacing women: you may not be the best poet who ever lived, but demographically, the odds are in your favor that you have something to say, so please speak up.
if you read her whole post, she is telling women poets to speak up because she still has a hard time getting work for her women-centered publishing venture, Foursquare (which is a wonderful project):
I do still have problems getting work out of female poets and artists, who despite their obvious talents and needs to express themselves are still caught up in a society that tells them to erase themselves and their work, or deliver it with a kind of rhetorical curtsy.
questions: do you agree that most of the great writers today are women? do you think women have better odds to be great writers because of their past/current anonymity & oppression?
Also, Smith links to an article titled: “Do Women Need Self-Promotion Training?”. Even though Smith has been a brilliant self-promoter when her book was first published, her answer to the question only raises more questions:
The answer may or may not be yes. For either cultural or essential reasons, I am not sure which, women’s self-promotion will probably be different from men’s, but I am not sure what it will look like. Step One is just to have confidence in your work and reflect on why you may be shy about sending your poetry out into the world, and do try to send it out so that eager readers like me have something to do.
questions: do you think women’s self-promotion in poetry differs from men’s self-promotion? what do you do to self-promote your work? are certain kinds of self-promotion gendered in identifiable ways?
i have many opinions about this–agreements & disagreements–which i will share in the comment field during our conversation. thanks!