Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hold on I’m Not Unnerved by Women’s Poetry

I occasionally read the Books Blog at guardian.co.uk and today Jo Shapcott caught my attention with the title Do women write ‘female’ poetry? 

I suppose my interest was principally raised because I’ve given a fair amount of consideration to the realization that my list of poetry reading as well as my favorite poets to read is weighted significantly in favor of female poets. I’ve not quite figured out for sure why though the exploration of this will likely make for a later post.

I don’t think Sharpcott really ever quite adequately defines what makes female poetry. I think I expected more of the blog post but it did come away with a couple of interesting thoughts. Sharpcott comes to this conversation by way of a panel discussion at the Aldeburgh poetry festival. I was somewhat taken back by the fact that she reported  that the women on the panel decided  it was important not to let gender dominate their writing ( at least initially ) in order that the language can lead it in unanticipated directions, BUT it was pretty clear that such thoughts are not expected of men, their poetry is set as a kind of default mode. I have trouble seeing this “default mode” she speaks of.

The second thing that bugged me about this piece was the the statement that women are happy to devour anything that is good (I hate the subjectivism of good here) male readers are sometimes nervous of poetry books by women. I suppose I was put here to be the counterbalance among men and I tend not be be unnerved by poetry written by woman.

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