Dear Poet or Friend of Poets,
In the last year, we have co-written a paper that deals with representation of women in the US experimental poetry scene. (This paper was recently published in the Chicago Review as "Numbers Trouble" and we've put a draft of it and some supporting documents here. Right now, this is accessible only to users outside of North America. So, North Americans, get the Chicago Review issue here.).
One of the things our paper does is end up being a catalogue of some of the limits of feminism in US experimental writing. Among these limits is a myopic lack of attention to women's issues outside of the US and a lack of collective action. We end this paper asking people to write to us with suggestions about how to overcome this. Our intention is to try and compile a bunch of these suggestions for publication in order to start a conversation.
Would you be interested in being a part of this conversation?
Our plan right now is to start this conversation outside of the US.
There are several ways you could help us.
We are looking for local co-editors for different regions (right now, regions outside of North America) to gather brief statements from local writers about feminism. Would you be willing to be one? What this means is that you would gather together some responses from writers in your area around this issue. You could gather as few as two or as many as twenty. It would be up to you. We like the idea of more but we're flexible.
If you are not interested, do you think you could suggest someone who is?
If we were to get these responses, we then would need to get them translated. If you wanted to do this work with us (like if you translated these into an English that we could then smooth as necessary), that would be great. We might be able to pay you a small fee. If you don't want to do it, we can probably pay someone else to translate it.
There are two ways we think it might be easiest for co-editors to get these responses. One is to just ask friends. The other is to put an ad in a local paper or journal like Jen Hofer did when she was editing her anthology of Mexican writing. If you are interested in putting an ad, again, we might be able to pay for the ad. It depends on how much it costs.
We think an ad might say something like this:
"FEMINISTS: TELL U.S. POETS
We're a group of feminist writers who are curious what it is like to be a woman poet in _____. What should U.S. poets know about the living and working conditions of ____ women poets? What can be done? Is there anything to be done together? Send an email to telluspoets[at]gmail.com."
But you could do whatever you thought was most appropriate.
We'd also like to know if there is anything you think we should say to US poets. At some point we will probably do a similar process-solicit responses from our friends and place ads to reach those we do not yet know-inside the US and any feedback you can share would be helpful.
If all of this seems too much, then can we talk you into just sending us a response? Or if you think of anyone you know who might be interested in doing this work, forward this and let us know.
Our deadline on this is somewhat flexible but not infinite. Our goal is to get this material into book form sometime in 2009. We would like to start getting responses sometime between now and spring of 2008.
Hope to hear from you.
Juliana Spahr and Stephanie Young