Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Craig at Harriet

I'm sending you over to two posts by Craig Santos Perez at Harriet: Gender & Poetry (Part 1): ‘Why Don’t More Women Do Blog-Oriented Writing?’ and Gender, (Race), & Poetry (Part 2): Numbers & Unnumbered Trouble. In the latter post, Craig quotes some comments I wrote last summer at the H_HNM_N blog

I believe these are important discussions and I'm grateful to Craig and others who bring them up. What I don't believe is that women still have to "catch up" to men in poetry blogging or poetry writing or self-promotion. I don't see what the "men are doing" as the goal. It's not my goal. What I see is what women ARE doing in poetry (from poem writing to publishing to yes, blogging, and beyond)--which is pretty fucking impressive and I feel sorry for anyone who can't recognize and appreciate that. The same can be said for poets of color, gay and lesbian poets, etc. Comments like "Where's the female ___[insert man]___?" or "the black __[insert white person]____?" miss the point. It's about being the poet and writing the poems you're supposed to be writing--not emulating and being a second-rate someone else to better fit in with someone else's idea of ______.

Past experience has taught me to be selective where and with whom I enter these discussions. One of the several reasons I started this new blog was to make a symbolic break from the jerkwad abyss (term coined yesterday on Twitter, how's that for creative collaboration?). I'm all for healthy debate, disagreement and if you don't agree with me on this subject, we can certainly still be friends. But I made a decision that I'm finished putting my precious energy into discussions where it quickly degenerates into personal attacks and being told my intentions are self-serving or whatever. I'm having trouble balancing the "be confident and promote yourself like a man" recommendations with the "shut the fuck up, your shrill opinions make people feel guilty, angry, threatened or whatever."

Actually, I'm not having trouble balancing it. I'm not bothering with it. Not here and not anywhere.

For the moment, I believe I've said everything I've wanted to say on the topic; on my old blog, in the comment fields of other blogs, in interviews, Twitter, ad nauseam. Please don't assume that my not jumping into the same repetitive loop means I care any less or feel any differently on the matter. It also doesn't mean I'm not giving it attention in other ways. I find that I much prefer putting my energy towards creating examples, evolving my projects and working with others with similar pro lady poet agendas. Insidious, I know, but the truth is that after working on my own projects or brainstorming on something with another poet or publisher, I don't feel demoralized or like I wasted the afternoon. I don't get the urge to cry or kick a puppy.

I decided that is a good place to be so that is where you will find me.

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