A publishing platform for women poets
Poethead was established in 2008. The site was conceived and planned as a woman-friendly publishing platform that prioritises women poets, their translators, and editors. This space was open to beginning and established poets regardless of their age, experience or ethnicity. The striking imbalance and lack of parity of esteem accorded to Irish women’s writing is collated and archived at Fired! Irish Women Poets and the Canon and at RASCAL (Research And Special Collections Available Locally).
Poethead is one of only two Irish publishing platforms that host indexes centered in women’s literary art. Irish women’s poetry has been continuously neglected and canonically ignored. There are two indexes built into Poethead that are dedicated to women poets, an Index Of Women Poets is devoted to women poets from many countries. While Contemporary Irish Women Poets represents an ongoing attempt to index contemporary women poets from Ireland. Billy Mills’ site Elliptical Movements carries an Irish Women Poets Category which is concerned in publishing the work of some earlier Irish women poets.
I am interested in poetic processes, experimental poetry, translated work and in visual poetry. That we have a small poetry avant-garde in these areas is very clear, that they are not supported or encouraged by Irish poetry book editors is also clear. An overweening emphasis on the book as product reduces the field of poetry to a narrow conservatism that is not actually reflective of poetry’s renaissance as an art form. Publishers are not using digital tools to create platforms for encouraging new work, nor are they creating accessible digital archives. There is a very real need for more platforms to showcase new and experimental work by emergent poets. How the reader encounters the poem and the visibility of the poet in a digital age should be matters of import to all publishers and editors of poetry in planning their long-term digital strategies.
Historical and contemporary neglect
In Ireland, an undue emphasis on the post-colonial and heroic narratives effectively locked out women poets. Our literary narratives have mistrusted modernism, experimentalism and sexual anarchism. Current cultural discourses eschew the influence of Irish women poets in the canon. The choices that were made and continue to be made site poetry written by Irish women in the 1960s and 1970s with little to show before that era. A very recent improvement in the publication of women poets does absolutely nothing to address their previous absence from the canon.
The editors’ categories on the Poethead blog are relatively new and include references to the funding and editing of women editors and translators. My posts and articles are about the women editors who have brought such writers as Simone Weil, Julian of Norwich, Dante and others to a contemporary audience. The list of women editors mentioned in the blog includes Eavan Boland, Cate Marvin, Marion Glasscoe, Dorothy L. Sayers and Joan Dargan, to name but a few.
Poethead carries links to the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights and to UBUWEB, both are concerned in the issue of the poet’s voice, the dissemination of literature and in the intellectual rights of writers to the ownership of their own work. I like sites such as Jacket 2 , Nomadics, Poetry Ireland, Guernica and Harriet and I frequently link to them.
About Copyright and CC-Licenses on Poethead.
Copyright of individual poems published on this site remains with the author and/or translator of the work. The Poethead site uses cc-licenses to identify this owner’s right to assert ownership of the site and to her original works published therein. These works include original poems, critiques, reviews, and essays by C. Murray. Most of those CC-Licenced poems have been previously published in Irish Journals or in online magazines.
- Preamble to The Pledge (Fired! Irish Women Poets and the Canon)
- “A Meditation on Ireland, Women, Poetry and Subversion” by Kathy D’Arcy at The Honest Ulsterman
- Alex Pryce on“Ambiguous Silences ? Women in Anthologies of Contemporary Northern Irish Poetry”
- Catriona Crowe’s Testimony to a Flowering at The Dublin Review
- Four Voices Confront the Absence of Women in Irish Poetry
- Fired! Archive URL: https://thepledgearchived.home.blog/
- RASCAL Archive URL: http://www.rascal.ac.uk/institutions/fired-irish-women-poets-and-canon
- Poethead 2008-2020 by C. Murray is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.