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Women Poet-Bloggers & The Comment Box

March 21, 2010

On International Women's Day, Ron Silliman wrote:

 

Still, nothing has done more to change – blur, to some degree even erase – the faultlines for poetry in my lifetime than the mass emergence of women writing. For all of the problems that I have with the concept of hybridity in poetry, I can’t escape the fact that for many writers, especially those younger than myself, the bifurcation of poetry into two counter-posing traditions is experienced as a quarrel among men (white men at that), and that the landscape of poetry in the English language now looks entirely different.

 

He's also compiled a list of women who blog about poetry and poetics.

 

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A mini roundup of some other discussions on women & poetry & blogging that have been happening around the ol' interwebs:

 

it seems like some men in poetry just don’t see their female counterparts. This would seem the only explanation for why, although there are many female bloggers, there is a discussion every six months or so in academic circles (conferences) or electronic ones (blogs) about how female poets don’t blog. (Jessica Smith)


I guess, to put it most simply, men praising women and their writing isn’t the same as men having ideological positions that understand or support women’s concerns. In fact, in some instances it may be no more than a flourish of courtly flattery, an art I’ve studied for quite some time without being particularly good at it. (Mark Wallace responds to Craig Santos Perez)


Lots of people have something to say; I’d be willing to bet that everyone does. Whether or not a person can say what he or she has to say well probably depends upon discipline, education & opportunity (& that’s where class becomes problematic), & probably also luck. & from the looks of it, plenty of women are putting themselves out there. (Hoostown)

 

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My biggest interest in this discussion centers on the comment box. While I've never had the feeling that there are way more men poets blogging vs. women poets, it seems blindingly obvious that more men like to quibble, hold forth, cite facts, etc., in comment streams. Once, I made this analogy: being a woman in a blog comment box is like being a woman alone on the street at night. There's something scary about it -- the insensitivity, the way people rush to make their own points without really considering (or sometimes, I suspect, even reading) others'. So, many women just avoid that space, take a cab home.

 

Or if it's not scary, then it feels like a waste of time -- why craft your argument so delicately, why make an effort to consider every angle of an issue, when someone will just zero in on one aspect and begin dismantling? I'm not saying it's always men who do this, but it often is. And no matter who's doing it, it's definitely the reason I don't bring my shovel and bucket to the comment box too often: those aren't the types of conversations I want to have.

 

Would love some women to jump into this here stream and let us know about your relationship to the comment box!

 

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