Wednesday, April 29, 2009

At the Flying Goose reading last this month I spoke to Nottingham poet Julie Lumsden, who published a pamphlet of poetry with Leafe Press in 2000. I asked Julie if she'd like to submit some new work to Litter. As it happens, and after some cajoling, she has done so, but past experience has shown me that women are much less likely to submit work than men. I don't know why. Tony Frazer has spoken of a similar concern at Shearsman. Men don't generally turn down the chance to have their poetry published, but women are much more reticent. And it seems more true of women poets who might be regarded as "innovative".

Over the last year or so I've asked for work from - to name names - Frances Presley, Harriet Tarlo and Tilla Brading, all poets I admire a great deal, and so far have had no submissions from them. One might say that the male-dominated nature of Litter (and I don't think it's unusual in that respect) reflects the still-sexist nature of society at large, and yet, as Geraldine Monk has pointed out, women poets are hardly disadvanted, at least in the UK; certainly, mainstream poets like Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay etc, are feted. I don't know whether it's just a UK thing - American women poets seem more forthcoming. In fact, the most recent innovate women poets appearing on Litter are all American - Catherine Wagner, Carrie Etter and Andrea Brady. Maybe it's an issue with post-modern/innovative circles over here.

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