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On North American women writers
Emily Critchley’s introduction to the Cambridge Literary Review’s issue on North American Women Writes is now available as a downloadable PDF. Not only does Critchley’s writing put American poetry into a transatlantic context, it takes the work of the writers seriously, and attempts to theorize their various practices. For example, Critchley on Vanessa Place:
There is an unnerving suggestion throughout Place’s poetry that our legal, religious, military and other foundational socio-political systems must then be supremely fallible, sharing, as they do, the unreliable nature of ‘creative writing’, resting so much on found text and the words, never mind the interpretations, of others. The clean divide between binaries, such as guilty / not-guilty, starts to look less impermeable, and we all begin to share in a culpability that is institutional as well as instrumental.
And on Rachel Blau DuPlessis:
Écriture feminine, with its chiastic entwinings of female difference as sexual (physiological), as well as textual, and all its attendant pleasures, can be read, then, as the generative intellectual force, or, better, ‘fractalizing’ behind DuPlessis’ work. In ‘Draft 104: The Book’ she takes the (clitoral, but also originary, Origine du Monde) image of “one small dot / (if you can find it) / that contains everything / possible to know [...] but compacted into a single / explosive incipience” and presents it as a book, not the book, one book among many, subjecting it to similarly fractal (iterative and productive) treatment: “This sequence travels backward until the last thing visible is a dot. That dot is also a book.”