Translation: Feminismo, by Alfredo Arteaga

This poem is by the Argentinian writer Alfredo Arteaga and was published in 1917 in Antología Contemporánea de poetas argentinos. It is guaranteed to annoy. I stuck it in my anthology of women poets, in Appendix B. This is what our poetisas had to deal with — damning praise, the gist of which is, “Shut … Continue reading “Translation: Feminismo, by Alfredo Arteaga”

Nitpicking at Langston

So, I keep vaguely talking about Hughes’ editorial choices – what, of Mistral, he chose to translate and present to a U.S. English-speaking audience. Selecting poems to represent a poet’s work is a hard job! I respect what he did, and yet have many critiques of it. And how it was read – as critics … Continue reading “Nitpicking at Langston”

gender wars in Argentina

I’m still editing my thesis and while looking over the bibliography for the hundredth time I had the horrifying realization that I had dissed Jean Franco by only citing a book she wrote in 1969 and nothing since. I think it is too late… but anyway in looking up Franco’s work online I came across … Continue reading “gender wars in Argentina”

provocations

While I’m writing all this feminist criticism I do find that I spend a lot of time describing and refuting sexist criticism. There should actually be a special category or word for works that especially offend, that are so egregiously sexist that they sting feminist to action. They make it all very clear. Really, work … Continue reading “provocations”

damning with faint praise and no space

After two years of research, reading prefaces to anthologies of Latin American poetry and descriptions of women poets in literary histories, I’m a veteran of hateful sexism. You’d think I’d be inured to it.   But this sentence dripped with such venom I thought I’d share it and perhsps that would defuse some of its power: … Continue reading “damning with faint praise and no space”

outrageously erased

Today in the library I meant to write up a formal description of my anthology project, but instead skimmed through biographical dictionaries. I checked out several huge fat multi-volume dictionaries of Latin American authors, and some other Spanish-language Encyclopedias of Famous Women. It was interesting to see patterns emerge. Some encyclopedists knew a fair amount … Continue reading “outrageously erased”

Fitting and not fitting

While I was doing my research I pretty much ignored Chile and in fact I have completely ignored Gabriela Mistral because I figure everyone else has written about her already, and she’s well known. Ultimately I have to go and read her poems and read something about her life – in fact, probably I’m being … Continue reading “Fitting and not fitting”

Genre classifications and sexism

I come up against this again and again. Critical literature focuses on defining a genre, and women end up just outside that definition. So it always looks like they just miss the boat because they’re not quite good enough. Really, though, if you look at the moments when the genre is being defined, the boundaries … Continue reading “Genre classifications and sexism”

Damned with machista praise

From an essay by José Carlos Mariátegui – cited by Daisy Zamora in the intro to her anthology, La mujer nicaragüense en la poesía: “Los versos de las poetisas generalmente no son versos de mujer. No se siente en ellos sentimiento de hembra. Las poetisas no hablan como mujeres. Son, en su poesía, seres neutros. … Continue reading “Damned with machista praise”

Anthologizing; standards of selection

I’ve been working on my anthology project for over a year. It’s of poems by Latin American women writers – well, Spanish America – and is focused on work published between 1880 and 1930. My goal is to give a fair representation of what was being published by women in that era. I’ve done a … Continue reading “Anthologizing; standards of selection”