Not much time to blog tonight, but I will share some assorted tidbits while I have the chance.
The Count, 2011
VIDA: Women in Literary Arts just issued The Count for 2011, a breakdown in hard numbers of "the rates of publication between women and men in many of our writing world’s most respected literary outlets." There is still a shocking amount of disparity. Check it out.
I would also encourage you to poke around the site, there are some really thought-provoking pieces to be found there, including Eileen Myles' essay, called "Being Female", which she wote after seeing The Count for 2010.
More on poets, envy, the gift economy
As I alluded to earlier this week, there's a lot negativity and doubts thrown at the endeavor of poetry, both from within and without the world of writers. With all the nastiness on the web, I thought I would share some of the positive stuff I've found and find myself returning to.
A quote from force-to-be-reckoned with, poet and publisher Reb Livingston:
"I believe poetry is a gift economy and to keep that economy moving along, those who participate need to contribute in some way in addition to attempting to reap the benefits (as paltry as they may seem). I say this not as an attempt to make anyone feel guilty for not doing enough or anything at all, but to point out that without poets donning second, third and fourth hats as editors, publishers, reviewers, interviewers, curators, hosts, etc., we’d all be limited to reading our poems to ourselves in the bathroom mirror."
The quote is from an interview she did with Bookslut. And here's a link to her call to action to people with MFAs, urging them to fucking use that experience for something (her use of profanity is pretty awesome), like participate in that gift economy.
Envy is a very basic, very raw emotion common to all writers. The best antidote is to be aware that it is envy (not the world plotting against you, not someone else being undeserving) and to do your own work.
Here is an interview with lovely poet Mark Wunderlich, in which he touches very honestly on the issue of envy, the ambivalence that comes with publishing a first book, and other issues. I especially love his answer to the last question "Do you believe that poetry can create change in the world?".
Just for fun. This has been my song this week. "True Love WIll Find You in the End" by Daniel Johnston.