Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Women who write criticism are mean and scary

Someone I know, I can't recall whom, recently told me that one of her students said feminists are "mean and scary." This is why I'm always a feminist for Halloween. If you are very brave, please check out this roundtable discussion with women who write about poetry on the Best American Poetry Blog, moderated by Sandra Simonds and featuring Sina Queyras ("I don’t find comment streams at all interesting"), Vanessa Place ("Happily self-congratulatory by proxy"), Shanna Compton ("I have nothing against looking, or beauty itself"), Danielle Pafunda ("As feminist-grotesque as I might be in the poem, as much as I might seek to horrify the male gaze, in my material life I costume (subtly) and perform (subtly) in the pretty matrix."), and Juliana Spahr ("Can we stop talking about aging as making beauty go bye bye?"). Also, me ("I’m ambivalent about this reluctance of women to speak").

If that all seems too fearsome of a Tuesday, you can read poems instead: perhaps "Robinson's Friends Have Come Over for His 41st Birthday" by Kathleen Rooney ("His actuality has become burlesque— / affection toward a stripper he met doing theater: / bleached blonde in lowgloss lip paint"); or "Cellardance" by Kirsten Kaschock ("I made a dance about torture. I choreographed it. / Yep."); or "A Nina Simone song playing in your head" by Jeff Alessandrelli ("Back in town if your boss thinks you’re guilty of something / you’re guilty of something, / but not out here, not tonight"); or "The Red Kerchief" by Virginia Konchan ("My Paleolithic heart / blooms through the blackness // of attire"); or "The Girl" by Ben Mazer ("The girl I mirdered has a blonde white head. / De girl I mudered has no blond wite head.")?

8 comments:

  1. I like the Rooney voice a great deal; I am not sure I have ever read any of her work but this is clearly a horrible oversight.

    (Re "actuality" -- we received a referee report today, poss. by a French referee, informing us that our paper "addresses a topic of high actuality.")

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    1. Gotta love high actuality.

      The Rooney poem is part of a book-length series of poems based on a character created by Weldon Kees, forthcoming from Gold Wake Press.

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  2. Feminists ARE mean and scary. They don balaclavas, break into churches, and perform punk rock.

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  3. Being swept away by bak lava is the donnée of any feminist's life.

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  4. I read that roundtable today and enjoyed. I don't think feminists are mean and scary--or at-least not by default! I think many of them are much too good looking for a Halloween costume: a pet-peeve of mine is when people use that eve to go all hot instead of risking uncute.

    Cool 'bout the ekphrastic workshop; I've for the past several months been writing what I'm thinking of as syntactic ekphrastics: pretending to treat syntax like one might stroke paint onto a canvas, so the pieces literally have a visual look but that results entirely, or almost wholly, from rhythm/syntax.

    adam strauss

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    1. Maybe this Halloween I'll be a SEXY feminist!!

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