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Notes towards Day 26: The Gender of Poetry

Notes Towards Day 26 of
Critical Feminist Studies:
The Gender of Poetry (?)

I. Coursekeeping
final evals
signing in/signing up (x2)
final performances: re-group/questions?
conferences to review written work/classwork/portfolio
come w/ a plan for your final project...
conflict Wed @ 4, 4:30 (Sarah K, Dawn: reschedule?)

1/2-way through papers (reading chronologically):
very moved, esp. by challenges to conventional ways of doing things
(and altered the title: How "better" represent feminism?)
Sarah K on humor as model for feminist classroom
(where everyone is fearless about expressing their ideas)
Anorton on lists (as not limiting
the exploration or useful contradictions)

Dr. Samar Habib:
Women, gender and sexuality in the Arab and Muslim world:
Female Homosexuality in the Middle East: Histories and Representations (Routledge 2007)

Islamic Texts on Female Homosexuality 850-1700 AD
(forthcoming, Cambria Press, 2008)

English Dept. featuring (some of) us:
Becky & Janet @ About the English Major
Sarah K. @ Guide to Senior Essay

II. Anne and Becky's plan:
pair off in small groups and share your

now: re-visit the poems in light of skumar's hypothesis:
court and less descriptive sentences would posit a male poet
whereas long and complex, flowy/sinuous, or "invaginated"
writing would make for a female poet

write on the board what you found out....

III. Further Questions from the Forum:

1. What constitutes genderless poetry? I don't mean using gender neutral pronouns...because that present a solution that would be too easy.

2. Is there a way to assign gender to language and writing style without reverting back to gender binary (masculine vs. feminine tone, voice, words etc)?

3. Is it more feminist to know & acknowledge or not know & mysteriously admire the gender of the creator?

IV. From The Gender of Poetry:

  • In what ways might poetry be said to be ‘gendered’?
  • Are there specific forms that have a particular gendered association?
  • Or what about rhyme schemes and/or metaphors:
    can they be distinguished on the basis of gender?
  • What difference, if any, is there between poetry written by authors of different sexes? How do female poets fit into an almost exclusively male canon in which, according to Harold Bloom at least, the ‘anxiety of influence’ is figured as an Oedipal contest between fathers and sons?
  • Given that historically, traditionally, the ‘Muse’ or inspiration of poetry is personified as female and if, as Kristeva argues, poetry arises from the ‘semiotic’ rather than symbolic, could it be argued that poetry is, on some level, inherently ‘feminine’ (even when written by men)?
V. Meghan O'Rourke, J. Allyn Rosser &
Eleanor Wilner on "Women's Poetry"
"the idiosyncratic way poetry outwits and undermines
the restrictive categories of conventional usage"