Monday, February 04, 2008

Chicago Review

I have been purposeful ignoring the debate deriving from the Chicago Review on women and publishing. Yesterday, however, I dipped into it a bit. I have had simuliar debates over the issue of feminism in the past year. My main thought is why does the feminist movements and other crucial movements like it, continue to rage when a movement for people with disabilities is ignored?

Denise Levertov once said in an interview, "Not to deny the history of women. But women who see exclusively the opression of women tend to forget other kinds of opression. 'But my opression is better than your oppression.'" This is not to pick on feminism -- one could say this about any group. Levertov was championed by feminisms of all kinds but found the label problematic. She (with Rukeyser) was a strident anti-war activist. She felt frustrated that many women felt frustrated by men in the anti-war movement and, in a sense, felt pushed out. She said that she was upset with women who left the anti-war movement to create feminism while there were still 'babies dying of Napalm."

This is kind of how I think of the problems surrounding disability. I am a woman. Certain issues have derived from that. However, the problems and prejudices that I experience as a person with a disability are so much more profound than those posed by my womanhood. It's kind of like disbility is MY napalm.

The CR centers are the numbers game of how many women and published and/or given accademic jobs. No matter which way you cut it, men are still more sucessful than women. But, here's the rub, people with disabilities are not sucessful at all, compared to men, women, or any other group. 75 percent of PWD are still unemployed. Mentally handicapped people are legally paid $1 hour. I can name about 7 disabled poets. Inclusion has become the trend. But, let's take an anthology like Not For Mothers Only by Wolff. The anthology includes women of all ages, aesthetics, religions, races, and sexual orientations, but where are the handicapped poets?

If we are going to make a fuss about who publishes and who doesn't, let's expand our minds a bit.


Anonymous said...

Jennifer, I just finished your book and it's amazing. I was particularly drawn to the Hypnogogic Diary, as I'm working on an installation around the very same theme.

Congratulations, and keep writing!

Jim Stewart said...

Thank you Morse. I would love to see your installation. Jen