A Poetry Looking at Its Torso

At The Boston Review there’s The Poetesses: An Interview with Lisa Russ Spaar, Aracelis Girmay, and Daisy Fried by B.K. Fischer
It raises a lot of interesting things to consider, partly ruminating on the significance of VIDA numbers. Here are bits I found interesting.
B.K. Fischer ask to reframe the dialogue at the start of the interview:

rather than asking you “Are you writing a species of feminist poetry?” I want to ask you this: What do you think is the right question to be asking[…]?

Daisy Fried says,

Like any poet writing in any mode, I make hundreds of formal choices in every poem. Syntax, lineation, tone, pacing, voice, deployment of image: these are all formal choices. They’re all opportunities for thinking in certain ways and at certain rates. Likewise, traditional form is an opportunity, not a vessel to be filled up. I can’t imagine considering any of this in terms of gender.

and later,

I do think some people get distracted by content; that can work for women or against them. Some people read a poem because they think it’s a mommy-poem. Some people run screaming. In both cases people are probably liking or disliking the poem for anti-poetic reasons.
The question to ask about any poem, feminist or not, by a woman or not, is “is it good, and how does it succeed?”

Lisa Russ Spaar said,

poems themselves have bodies. Poems have torsos, limbs, nerve centers, pulses, and respiration. Their rhythms—auditory, visual, even tactile—are somatic. If the pleasures of good poems are physical pleasures, as I really feel they are, then it follows that the physical pleasures (or pains or sensations) of poems are, in part, an extension or an externalization, an “outering,” of our own physical pleasures or pains or sensations. After all, the mouth is the primal mind, and we come to consciousness through the body. How else write the world?

and later Russ Spaar said,

I’m playing more with fragment, silence, what’s cut off abruptly or finally unutterable. I wonder if that has something to do with writing through the middle-aged body, too.

and further along, she added

If I am blindfolded, for instance, can I tell if the jazz music to which I’m listening is being played by men or by women?

Aracelis Girmay ends with asking whether there is a way to think around the gendered body or see the bias it makes, then,

while I do not think a poem necessarily pushes its writer or reader to reconsider or challenge the constructs we’ve inherited, I do think it is a potential space within which, if we are rigorous and careful, we might work to begin to articulate some of our tendencies of/in seeing, staying quiet, organizing the world.

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