Sunday, May 26, 2013

Women as Mythmakers: Brenda Shaughnessy's flying women in "Calling Her Home"

A Response to "Calling Her Home," Brenda Shaughnessy, Interior with Sudden Joy

It's a familiar story.

From the small room,

the women go flying,

the lost mothers,

a brief selection:

as when a little girl

how can I breathe!

What song, devil, is best

flying off, her mouth opening

haunting the black air.

Each one, a benediction, a blood stain.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Some Presses I'm Ogling

Able Muse

Ashland Poetry Press

Bona Fide Books

Brothel Books

Carolina Wren


Evening Stree Press

Folded Word


Marsh Hawk Press

Imaginary Friend Press

Cold Line

Medusa's Laugh Press


Paris Press

Exterminating Angle Press


Mayapple Press

Bargwrn Books

A Midsummer's Night Press

Matter Press

Sibling Rivalry Press

So to Speak

Feminist Review

Hireaeth Press

Pleasure Boat Studio

The Feminist Wire

Convulsive Editions

Crisis Chronicles

Etched Press

Wild Embers

Koan Books

Keyhole Press

Kore Press

Perugia Press

Patasola Books

Lumonox Press

Liquid Lights Press

Ugly Duckling

Friday, May 10, 2013

Woman Writer: Susan Rich

Some lovely poems by Susan Rich:

"Cloud Pharmacy," "The Invention of Everything Else" Susan Rich

What I most love about these poems is their complicated relationship with desire. Resistance and fascination tangle in these poems about female speakers and their desire for their male beloveds--and yet the discourse of romance isn't untroubled, easy, taken for granted. Instead there are complications, threats, perhaps even structural ones bigger than individuals: "an all-embracing/ ocean view" and "The pharmacist’s paper cone/ parsing out a quarter cup." Agency is complicated in these lyrics, and so, somehow, more accurate to the language of desire.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Poem on Poem Ekphrasis: Brian McHale's Feminist Reading of Berryman's Homage to Mistress Bradstreet

In Brian McHale's The Obligation toward the Difficult Whole: Postmodernist Long Poems, he starts his chapter on Susan Howe's The Europe of Trusts with a short introduction to the idea of silence of women and the canon, describing "Berryman's 'Homage' a kind of parable" of "the received version of literary historiography" in which women are silent or overwritten (205). McHale argues that Berryman's "poetic 'homage' to the precursor-poet consists in silencing her." (205)

Anne Bradstreet , in "Upon a Fit of Sickness" writes, 'Bestow much cost there's nothing lost,/ to make salvation sure,/ O great's the gain, though got with pain, / comes by profession pure."

In "Homage to Mistress Bradstreet", Berryman says as Bradstreet's persona "Hard and divided heaven! creases me. Shame /is failing. My breath is scented, and I throw / hostile glances towards God. "

You might be wondering, but what does he say about Howe? I have an annotated bibliography coming up that I'll put on my website. But I thought this brief framing of feminist poetry with the context necessary to know the constructed void of silencing that Howe is writing into is a great example of how (unfortunately) necessary it is to bracket feminist recovery projects with the (often unacknowledged) context of suppression in which they become even more valuable as art pieces.

Here's a post I wrote on Susan Howe's Singularities.