Check out Purvi Shah’s work for VIDA on the unbearable white maleness of poetry and the economy of Best American Poetry: “…[I]t is shocking to put these two facts together: 1) in his language, Hudson used an Asian American woman’s name to place his poems; 2) there has been only 1 identifiable woman of color editor and 0 Asian American editors of the Best American Poetry series. It is abysmal when poetry, which could be the most democratic of art forms, is reinforced as the locus of the privileged White male.”
While you’re at it, read Juliana Spahr and Stephanie Young’s evaluation/evisceration of what they dub “the program era and the mainly white room” in the Los Angeles Review of Books.
And finally, the last thing I’ll say (this week) on the subject of white poets’ misconduct: You, too, can achieve literary greatness with your very own white pen name!
In other garbage news, the House voted to defund Planned Parenthood last Friday. However, the Senate did just block the passage of a bill that would’ve banned abortions after 20 weeks nationwide. So everything isn’t the absolute worst. Yet. (If you’d like to donate to Planned Parenthood, go here.)
Be sure and listen to Natalie Eilbert read her poem, “The Limits of What We Can Do,” in this week’s New Yorker.
Stassa Edwards wrote a brief, insightful history of female anger for Broadly: “With the increasing popularity of feminism, the movement has taken a turn for the positive: Mean is banished, and everyone is supposed to lift each other up as a political act. But when compulsory positivity is the norm, criticizing another women is seen as a distraction at best, and a threat to feminist progress at worst.”
Ashley Ford wrote about why she’s not grateful for Viola Davis’ Emmy win in Elle: “The implication here is that we are staring a gift horse in the mouth, or that we haven’t earned recognition as much as run down the clock on racism. Davis did not demure in her acceptance speech, simply accepting her award and being grateful that they allowed three black women to win on one night. She challenged the lack of roles for women who look like her…. Her gratitude was for the black women who came before her, not the institution that shut them out.”
Molly Rose Quinn discussed Under the Udala Trees with author Chinelo Okparanta over at Literary Hub: “What is most surprising in this book, which, by description, is a story of LGBTQ rights and experience against the backdrop of Civil War, is that it is not a work of agitation…. As she says, ‘I don’t write to tear apart or to denigrate or to condescend. I write to improve. I can’t worry too much about what negativity people will bring into the work. Once I’ve written it, it’s like a gift. It becomes my gift to the world, and they will do with it as they please.’”
Also at Literary Hub, Margaret Atwood annotated an excerpt from her latest novel, The Heart Goes Last.
MariNaomi wrote and illustrated an account of the uncomfortable discussion of racial tensions between Roxane Gay and Erica Jong for Electric Literature.
Check out Deb Olin Unferth’s review of Joy Williams’ The Visiting Privilege for Bookforum: “Her message is: Our methods of communication are inadequate. People leave. Everything is working against you, including your own body, which is collapsing beneath you.”
And LAST BUT NOT LEAST, do you live in Chicago? If so, I’m officially jealous. The Irving Park Cemetery is hosting a free showing of Hocus Pocus at 7:30 PM (gates open at 6:30 PM) this Saturday.
What did we miss this week? Let us know in the comments! <3