Editor’s Note You may have already read Eileen Myles’ essay “Being Female,” and so wonder why VIDA chose to reprint this piece in our first...
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Lately, as a new member of the VIDA Genre Advisory Committee for creative nonfiction, I’ve been wrestling with a paradox: I am addicted to facts,...
The writing felt timid to me, overly concerned with explaining myself and my family to an audience I was told to imagine as ignorant about Iran but open-minded and eager to learn. What was never said was that this presumed audience was white and middle class. I was supposed to write for this demographic because they buy the most books.
A feminine academe could bring the poetry calling and practice back to the source, and explore the feminine history of this literary outrider world. And it’s happening already.
In the previous fifteen years, The Academy of American Poet’s prizes went to forty-one men and thirty-nine women. These numbers may seem reassuring, but keep in mind that they are not representative of an overall balance in individual prizes.
When I was asked to write this essay and explore what it means to be a woman who writes for the theatre in the 20th and 21st centuries, I wrestled long and hard with the subject of a) being a woman who writes and b) a woman who writes for the theatre. Are they different things? Should they be?
I do not believe that apparent authoritative literary voices of validation would ever make such a grand claim about a novel written by a woman. I say this because I believe there are many novels by women that are about the same sort of world as presented in Freedom. Sadly, the culture usually calls these books domestic or family sagas.
"I would hope that all readers, writers, and editors who agree that the disparity is, in fact, unfair, will join the discussion and help us to move toward ways to support and encourage the work of more women writers."
"I talk to a lot of attendees––strangers, colleagues, and friends––about which events standout and which events they think didn’t work particularly well. Ultimately, the AWP conference has very little to do with what I think anyway; what matters is what the AWP members and the conference attendees think. Though I don’t get to see much of the conference, I feel very lucky to be able to honestly say I love my job."
"I convinced myself that I was exceptional, that anyone could see my good grades were well earned, my talent apparent. I now know this kind of rationalization has another name: in this case a big, self-justifying pile of it. Because the fact is many of my classmates were rightfully disturbed by my special status."