Sunday, April 30, 2006


I'm still thinking about all the upheaval from a while back which centered on women and poetry. Are we truly snubbed? Do we truly snub back in retaliation? Is sexism rampant in the poetry/blog world? I tend to think it's all colored by perception, but I'm a notorious pacifist. Even so, it's raised some questions in my mind.

Some of it interests me, some of it offends me, some of it simply amuses me. Some of it, such as the bit below, does all three.

One of the more vocal feminist bloggers is also publishing an anthology in the near future. I thought to myself, "now there's a woman who's willing to put her money and time where her mouth is in a truly impressive manner to get more good poetry published and read" - I was truly impressed and, yeah verily, even a little bit excited - until I got to the part which excluded me and everyone else over a certain age. So much for poetic equality and evening out the playing field.

I think that's my point, though, any editor and every editor has a RIGHT to choose who or what to publish. Because it is their production, they are ALLOWED that privilege.....and it's either discriminatory all the way around or it isn't. Is it somehow ok to exclude someone on the basis of their age but not their sex? It's conceivable that someone could be a "new" "emerging" artist without also being a "young" one, yanno!!!! It's conceivable that I consider people in their 20's and 30's to be my "peers" and it's even conceivable that some of them also consider me to be one of theirs!! It's also conceivable that a woman could write a successful poem using a concrete "male" concept and that a man could write a delicate "female" poem about a flowering pink apple blossom tree.

In other words, if we are going to have "GirliPo," then, in the demanded "Order of Fairness", we must also have "ManliPo" and even "ElderliPo" recognized as legitimate genre. And I suppose we will need still more magazines and E-zines which no one ever buys or reads devoted to them each individually.

Why can't we just have plain old poetry? Have we grown so large and is the mansion so small that there are no longer enough rooms to house us all?


J. Newberry said...

I agree, Lo.

The problem, I think, is that so many groups see so many other groups as the "bad guys." For example, the New Directions "group" doesn't like the Hudson Review "group" because the Hudson Review "group" takes up all the awards and the spaces in anthologies and the Academy of American Poets, and, and and ad nauseum.

It would be nice if we could call a cease-fire to the Poetry Wars.

shann said...

wow- which anthology is that and what's the cutoff?

it is ageist-too bad- I only started writing poetry about 12 years ago.


Lo said...


The anthology info is here:

and the cut-off is 40....or, according to the FAQ

"Q: I'm 18/41, and you said 20-40. Can I still submit?
A: It really depends on where you place yourself as a poet. Do you think you should have been included in a 1998 anthology of young poets? Do you plan to make a 2018 anthology of young poets? Do you think of the poets involved as significantly younger or older than you, or are you their peer? I want you to choose yourselves. Identify yourselves, associate yourselves as you see fit. The anthology will strive to be a comprehensive archive of zine, website, and book publishers in "our" generation, as well as a map of people who organize reading series. It is intended to establish, environ, and enhance our burgeoning community."

Weird stuff. I don't often base peerage on age, but maybe that's just me.

All is not lost, though, in 2007 there will once again be the Emily Dickinson Prize for poets over 50 from The Poetry Foundation.

We should live so long.