October 5th, 2008


Book Launch, Readings

In my ambiant soundstream comes architect Max Huut saying, "have to be quiet. I have no time to be in a hurry." I'm duly reminded. Good to stop and collect thoughts.

The Sage Island book that has its Ottawa launch today impressed me. Stories featuring strong female characters who are athletes are rare. Although set in the 1920s, it seems like current affairs to talk of the suffragettes who go on ably living making the choices they make, despite the fuss and nonsense of media and conservative organization reproach. That vantage point is endearing and the language is with a poet's touch and eye for detail and liveliness.

Sage Island Launch Ottawa

Author Samantha Warwick launched the book at Collected Works with about 40 people piled into the store. In the background here, the opener reader, poet Sandra Ridley (back left) who read a preview of a new manuscript.

Sandra Ridley

Always a pleasure to hear Sandra's considered words with sound play, the language troubled to be more alert, as as Mark Doty talked about, not falling to pat. For example, in her poem, a patient in the 1800s given a sedative 10 backwards counts, an unexpected but perfect little enactment.

A Chaudiere event was on Friday. Emily Falvey read a short story that held the audience inside the reverie of the lab technician into the colors and sounds of the girl's night out. [no photos of her worked]

Gwendolyn Guth read from her poetry manuscript including ones from the point of view of a Spanish character recounting highlights and lowlights of his love life (the prostitute he lived with to his mother's horror, the South African vacation dream who boarded a plane away) as well as some sonnets that played in sound and sense.

Diane Tucker read Friday from her book among other pieces. Bright Scarves of Hours has poems that are about family life, when kids were small fry (to medium) but the point of view is elevated to have a deeper perception. It's easy for poems of domestic life to be generic universal mommyness or expected. The images and metaphors here are deft and fresh.

She's in the foreground with event organizer rob mclennan in breaktime between sets.

FW: Women's Poetry Blogs Affect Gender Notions: Survey


I'm Tom Speaker, a senior at Miami University. I am currently doing an independent study with Catherine Wagner about how women's poetry blogs are affecting notions of gender in literature and society. I was wondering if you are interested in answering some questions pertaining to this subject? It'd be much appreciated, and if you reply, I'll send the results your way once the research is completed. What would also be helpful is posting this to your blog and informing others that I'm looking for responses, or forwarding posts where you've written about poetry-blogging to me.

I need responses by November 1st. Questions are below. Thanks!

1. Have you ever published in a women's only anthology/website/forum or other venue? Why or why not?

2. Are women's poetry blogs changing notions of gender? In literature? In society? If so, how?

3. What are your own personal motivations for placing your poetry in your blog or online magazine?

4. On the internet, has women's poetry helped to advance any feminist causes? Give examples if possible.

5. Do you perceive any sexist biases on the Internet, and what do you perceive these to be? Is there pressure on the Internet for women to conform to "masculine" poetry standards? Are these pressures are greater or lesser than in the past? Give examples if you can.

6. Do you see the aspect of anonymity inspiring more sexist vitriol on the web in poetry-related forums? Has anonymity helped to spread anti-feminist perspectives? Give examples if you can.
7. Do you think there is any connection between gender and the formal (not subject-oriented) aspects of poetry? If so, can you describe the connection?


Not really. But it's pass or fail. And that counts for something. To me, anyway.

Tom Speaker
Amusement Editor (not as cool as it sounds)
Inklings Writing Director (it wasn't my choice, I swear)
President of The Petting Zoo Goats Collective (I promise I won't put this on my résumé)
Three-time winner of the Tom Speaker Award for Excellence in Journalism
speakete [at] muohio.edu