Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Why don't women poets blog more?

I just wanted to throw out some ideas about why women poets don't blog more as per Shanna Compton's writings. I agree with Shanna. If Notely had a blog, I'd be an addict!

It seems that the whole idea of a "poetry blog" was pretty much developed by Ron Sillman. So, he happened to be a guy, he happened to be a language poet, but it could have been anyone. To my knowledge, blogs were developed so that families could share photos. Then, came along the political blogs (which I'm guessing are largely liberal). I would deduce that these blogs (the writing and reading of them grew like wild fire) caught on because there is such a minor media outlet for liberal thinkers in America. (Morse, help me out here!) I would guess that sites like Juan Cole and Media Needle get more hits per day than Silliman does weekly.

I highly respect Silliman as an innovator in many forms. I think he's really smart. Sometimes, though, I wondered if his poetry hasn't suffered for the sake of the blog. Many of the women Shanna mentioned are cranking out poems and books like there is no tommorrow (didn't Alice just release TWO books). I don't think it's time thing - most of the poets Shanna mentions do have kids - but they are grown. (Hell, Anselm doesn't even live in the same county as his mom!)

I think it has to do with a number of factors

1. Priority: Is your priority your poetry or blog? Do you have time for both?
2. Age: Again, many of the women Shanna mentions must be over 60. I know many people of this age that are barely interested in the computer.
3. Ability to write prose: I think it is a mistake to assume wonderful poets can write prose: some can't, some can. I worked as a writer/or editor for a time and wrote countless college papers. I have learned to whip out prose quickly, but I know some TOP poets who struggle with it.
4. Money and Attention: Well, it can't be the money. No one gets paid for poetry books. But, I do think there is something more satisfying about getting a book published.
5. Obsession with poetry: I take my blog very seriously. I would guess as much as Ron. But, I am just not obsessed enough with poetry to read every book, and zone in on every scandel and comment about it. I have decided to use my blog as a catch-all for serious writings about disability, politics, and life. This can be negative because I feel like I've lost some poet readers, but I've also had the luck of having many non-poet readers.

When I started "blogging" I was blown away at how much artistic potenial and power the genre has. I would encourage everyone to use it fully.


Anonymous said...

i have only just submitted to the lure of blogging, two days ago actually, and im still not sure how i feel about it. Am i developing some sort of vanity issue or am i empowering myself amidst the out of control difficulties of poetry exhibitionism??
there must be thousands of other poetry blogs, but i seem to know you suggest any?

toto-too said...

yeah, where are all the women poets???


Jennifer Bartlett said...


Thank you for writing. The thing I love about blogging is that the possibilities are endless. I think blogs can be and have been a big ave for change and start important conversations. I think we should all have a chance to be heard...Not just the writers for the NYT, as much as I love them. Poetry blogs: I suggest Ron Silliman for comprehensive poetry reviews, Andrea Baker for interesting and thought-provoking ideas, and Lisa Jarnot has an amazing blog that is a mix of poetry, politics, and true wit. I also check in with Shanna Compton and Amy King. Kate Greenstreet has a GREAT interview section on her blog. I am by no means an expert tho.

Jennifer Bartlett said...


I think there are too many great, great women poets (past and present) to list here!

Anonymous said...

What about the idea of blogging because writers write and a blog is a great way to share? I've just started a second blog to shove poems into - my own and others I come across - at frankenstina so that they don't get mixed up with my edu/life/ideas blog; at least that way they stand a chance of being read by the odd passer-by!