Unlike Eavan Boland, few contemporary Irish women writers (and editors) appear to be asking certain disrespectful questions of the tradition. They are quite happy to fluff the alpha-male poetic or literary model in newspapers and periodicals, this is worrisome. How many women poets are featured in our newspaper reviews or in our poems of the day, week, or month by our editors and critics? If VIDA’s The Count figures are anything to go by, an increase in the perceived equality of women has to be set against a huge decrease in the visibility of women in the literary arts. This pisses me off almost as much as traditional editors’ lack of interest in expanding the poetic arts out to new audiences using the technology and internet platforms available to them.
Poets featured on this blog include, Mirjam Tuominen, Ágnes Nemes Nagy, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Doris Lessing, Medbh McGuckian, Simone Weil, Eavan Boland, Liliana Ursu, Sarah Clancy, Denise Levertov, Katherine Duffy, Alice Oswald, Assia Djebar, Kate Dempsey, Hanna Weiner, Tess Gallagher , Marina Tsvetaeva, Sylvia Plath, Edith Sitwell, Vona Groake, Carol Ann Duffy, Liz Lochead, Sue Hubbard, Eilis Ní Dhuibhne , Ann Sexton, Ruth Fainlight, Julian Of Norwich, Marion Glasscoe, Anna Akhmatova, Nessa O Mahony, Eithne Strong, Nuala Ni Chonchúir, Nelly Sachs, and Moya Cannon.
I can add Ann Hays, Dorothy Leigh Sayers , Alice Ostriker, Cate Marvin, Rita Dove, Helen Vendler, Kay Boyle, Carol Ann Duffy, and Alice Oswald as editors and reviewers to the above-mentioned poets list . Eavan Boland and Tess Gallagher have compiled or translated collections, and Simone Weil was not alone a poet but an excellent essayist and political activist. This blog also makes mention of Hildegard of Bingen and Julian of Norwich, who alongside Marguerite of Porete wrote from a mystical perspective, along with Barbro Karlen. In Simone Weil’s case I believe that some of the notebooks have not yet been translated or even readied for publication. One can add the issue of funding to that of invisibility in modern or earlier eras of literary dissemination ! I will be extending the list that is below this introduction in the coming weeks , in order to collate as many of the active links as possible.
Women editors and translators on Poethead
Women translators and editors form the basis of much of what is published on Poethead. Mostly the poets have a western (english language bias), although not always, in the case of Levertov, Ursu, Weil, Hassanzadeh and Nagy, amongst others. I do think that as readers and writers many women underestimate the small presses, the dedicated presses and the university presses. The areas of poetry that are translated are not necessarily specialisations; but represent modes of communication of those texts that are sorely neglected, and they are a virtual babel-tower of richness in literary inheritance.
Along with online resources, mentioned in the two short pieces on ethnopoetics and translations, which I will include as links at the end of this piece, are book resources, in which sometimes Amazon can be your friend. Although you can do worse than checking out the college bookshops, the specialist bookshops, and at the higher-end , those shops that deal in first editions and artistic editions.
I have also found some beautiful artistic and poetic collaborations published here in Ireland as part of art exhibitions or in reviews such as PIR. In essence, it’s not always in regular bookshops that there are treasures to be had. Indeed some bookshops present a paucity in choice unless one is actively seeking chick-lit , airport novels, and other mass-produced writing destined for e-book fodder at 99C.
Women interested in publishing in the saturday woman poet slot can contact me : c(dot)elizabethmurray(AT)gmail(dot)com