Friday, March 17, 2006

The Body Poetic

As for the 'women's poetry' remarks I've made in the past, particularly referencing the Wilner/Rosser/O'Rourke conversation in Poetry, Josh Weiner makes a remark that I find exacting. He's the weekly guest blogger on the Poetry Foundation website (, and this is part of the post from 3/15:

"why wasn't a man included in the exchange. So I'll include myself here, and respond. It seems obvious that gender is one aspect of being that determines experience; it's not obvious, however, that such a social and biological influence constitutes a sub-genre of poetry, nor that it should. The interesting thing about gender, it seems to me, is that we all belong on the same sexual continuum, although each of us occupies a different position there."

This strikes me as completely accurate. Sometimes, lurking in the back of those arguments against the notion of 'women's poetry' is the seeming assumption that women's experience is not germane, nor essentially different from that of male experience. I would argue that it is. But I would agree with Josh that that doesn't necessarily mean that it should occupy some sort of sub-genre of poetry. That would be reductionist. That would delimit the very experience that should be richly incorporated into the body poetic.

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