Women’s writing

You suppose I’ll scare anyone off with a title like that? Is it a pejorative phrase?

It niggles at my that the workshop on the history of women’s tanka and haiku, while it attracted a good number, all were female. There was a proportional to population representation who showed up for a senryu workshop, albeit, skewed towards the average age of 70 demographic.

In the discussion Terry Ann Carter reminded we don’t want to make false sweeping generalizations about gendered writing. Women have traditionally done housework and fit writing into the corners and edges. Claire Pratt who she wrote about in Moonflowers, chose small forms because her spoons were few and her health chronically poor. TA said “kitchen sink writing” was not traditionally thought of as high poetry or profound but who gets to say what is profound.

For months I’ve been wondering at the lack of life maintenance in poetry by men. Surely men who live alone must do laundry and dishes. Is it taboo because poets of the 1800s never wrote about it, because they had a lower class of maids to serve them? Is is a function of class prejudice?

Clearly the nag at the back of my mind is from a reading 1- or 15 years ago where I was an invited reader and after my set, including a poem of longing for a lover while doing laundry, the host stood silent at the mic, opened and closed his mouth looking confused then said, um, well, thank you for those, um, housewife poems. Big breath. And the next reader, I’m really excited about as I’m sure you are….

Rule 1 of hosting, don’t make your invited reader feel dismissed as crap. That’s only happened three times in 11 years but why once.

And why are most minimalist poems by males. Are the women doing such tiny precise work not getting work out there in the public/published realm or not doing it?