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Women’s Poetry?

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Women’s Poetry?

Undoubtedly gender does play an important part in the making of any art, but art is art and to separate writings, paintings, musical compositions, etc., into two sexes is to emphasize values in them that are not art.

— Elizabeth Bishop, 8 June 1977


That quote comes to me courtesy of The Faber Book of 20th Century Women’s Poetry, which I am currently reading, thanks to the first of the two renewals I’m permitted for borrowing the book from our county’s library system. Editor Fleur Adcock quotes Bishop to open that poet’s section of the anthology, observing, “Elizabeth Bishop’s executor has requested us to record the fact that the poet objected on principle to appearing in a women’s anthology for the following reason, which she stated in a letter dated 8 June, 1977….” Oh. So over your objections, which we choose not to respect, we’ll make you appear anyway, no reason given for why we do so. (Like, if Bishop were to object strongly enough, how could copyright permission even be granted to this anthology, since Bishop is not like Frost or Yeats, not yet having crossed the line into the public domain?)

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Written by macheide

27 July 2014 at 8:32 am

Posted in quotated

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