Monday, March 29, 2010

Infinite Difference, pub. Shearsman

I can't understand how an anthology of innovative UK women poets can leave out Geraldine Monk and Maggie O'Sullivan. I can only assume that there's some criteria other than 'innovative', 'UK' or 'woman' that I'm not aware of. Is it Monk and O'sullivan's visual / performance element? Both poets foregound performance, and in the case of O'Sullivan, visual art. But then, so does the work of Caroline Bergvall. It can't be ageism, as some of the poets in the anthology are around the same age or older, than Monk and O'Sullivan. Whatever the reason, I think it's a serious ommision. But then editor, Carrie Etter, is entitled to her opinion. Maybe anthologies should always have titles like "Carrie Etter's favourite innovative UK women poets", "Roddy Lumsden's favourite New British and Irish Poets", "Palgrave's favourite golden treasures" etc. etc.


John B-R said...

Alan, I ordered a copy of this - thought it would read well next to The Gurlesque, which I'm reviewing for Eileen.

Interesting, that in the case of the gurlesque anthology, many responses have been concerned with who's out more than who's in.

Here, too, that seems to be the case, for you at least?

D'you think all anthologies of living poets generate that kind of reaction?

Alan Baker said...

The problem with anthologies is indeed that they leave people out. I suppose with anthologies of past poets, the passage of Time provides a filter. But with contemporaries, it's always going to be partly a matter of opinion.

All of the people who are in, at least whose work I know, seem fully deserving of being in.

But someone who doesn't know the UK scene is being done a disservice by not being told about Monk and O'Sullivan. At least, in my opinion.

John B-R said...

Alan, my copy arrived about 1/2 hr ago. From the intro: "Solicitations to the admirable O'Sullivan and Monk, already widely anthologized, were respectfully denied, on account of the focus on women, and the desire not to be categorized; a few other requests for work were ignored altogether." So it seems that Etter tried to make you happy ...

Ed Baker said...

well and many
thanks for this I am knee-deep now in/to Geraldine Monk via this and sundry:

and this after a too brief "visit" to Maggie O'Sullivan's site/visuals...


I was suddenly struck:

that The Brits "blow us away" ((that Racoon I think that was the title) book/run of Monk's

sure "hit the mark" (when was it composed?))

which is acause of y'all's very solid plinth in/via writer-thinkers like
John Ruskin, Mathew Arnold, etc etc

as for anthologies? ...mostly hogwash

most thing done/worth being done by folks never-ever heard of... working silently.

I mean before Gautama Buddha (he says) that there were/are 24 Buddhas... NAME ONE.

Carrie Etter said...

Alan, I really wish you'd read the introduction before you'd made the post. I asked for many recommendations from others so I didn't miss anyone, I know Monk and O'Sullivan's work well and solicited both for work, but they declined because they didn't want to be in a woman's anthology.


Best wishes,

Alan Baker said...

I admit I was too hasty - I do intend to buy the anthology, as there's lots of good work in it, and I should have waited. I apologize. I can understand why the said poets declined, but it does seem a shame, as these books are used for a long time as reference points: the absence of Tom Raworth in 'Conductors of Chaos' I'm sure led a lot of people to miss out on his work.

Sorry again. As recompense, I'll publish a proper review on Litter.