Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Male vs. Female

I've been reading some books of poetry lately, just started to, at least.  I've been so busy lately.  One thing that struck me is that some poets feel, smell, sound so, well, "Male".  And other poets so "Female".  Just like stereotypically, certain men like watching certain television shows and certain females like watching certain television shows, I wondered whether I prefer certain styles or certain tones that skew a certain gender?  There are so many poets that break these conventions of course.  But if I were to scale certain poetry books certain ways, would that be deathly sexist?  For example, I think Ben Lerner feels very "Male" to me, but then again, so does Mary Jo Bang.  So does Dean Young and Tony Hoagland and Matt Hart and one of the Dickman brothers, I can't remember which one.  I feel slightly uncomfortable with these arbitrary labels, but this is how I feel when I read certain poets.  Then there are others like Alison Benis White (my favorite) and Rick Barot (also my favorite) who feel more Female.  Some of Haas' early work feels more female to me too and I love his early work.  This is strange and dangerous stereotypical territory to tread in, but in truth, I am not implying that Male poetry is more cerebral or intellectual at all.  It has something to do with tone.

I'm reading:

Terrance Hayes Lighthead
Timothy Donnelly The Cloud Corporation
Rachel Zucker The Bad Wife Handbook (again)
Tony Hoagland Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty
John Gallaher Map of the Folded World
Craig Morgan Teicher Cradle Book
Ange Minko Shoulder Season

Back soon with some micro reviews, hopefully.

1 comment:

  1. Victoria, I think you may be referring to masculine and feminine energies, which we all possess, no matter our gender. I agree, some poetry collections seem to have a decidedly more "feminine" tone ("yes" re ABW's book in this regard -- a favorite of mine, too). There are also collections that feel more integrated, like they hold both masculine and feminine energies (I think of Jane Mead's _The Usable Field_ or Stephanie Brown's _Domestic Interior_). This is a compelling post -- thanks.