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Hey! Ladies!

December 22, 2011 \am\31 9:00 am

I am not going to get into the whole VIDA thing again (although– what is happening with that now?), but ladies, what is the deal?

Recently, ILK opened submissions for its second issue. Some pretty exciting stuff has been cyber-thrown our way, but still there is a massive lack of women in the slush pile. It does not add up.

Gregory Sherl mentioned he had the same problem guest-editing NAP. I don’t get it. There are so many excellent poets out there who also happen to be women. I really hope they happen to start throwing more of their poems into the world right about now.

  1. Robin Elizabeth Sampson permalink
    December 22, 2011 \am\31 9:47 am 9:47 am

    Maybe it’s because us ladies are so busy with things other than submitting our work. Especially if we are mothers (doesn’t matter the age of the kid either). That’s not an excuse, but it just occurred to me as I looked at my to-do lists (yes, multiple ones – baking list, shopping list, cleaning list, etc.). Somewhere there is a submission list, but I always seem to be able to put that one off. I suspect I’m not alone in this. Could this be part of the issue?

    • Caroline Crew permalink
      December 22, 2011 \am\31 9:50 am 9:50 am

      Robin, I really don’t know. And the worst thing is, people like me are just blowing it off, hmmm. I guess somewhere, SOON, we all really need to sit down and think of why this is happening, and what can be done.
      I have no idea how you deal with being a mom and a million other things– and I bet this does apply for other women… but sadly I think the issue is even more widespread.
      Maybe we should interrogate some other fine lady poets?

      • Robin Elizabeth Sampson permalink
        December 22, 2011 \pm\31 1:36 pm 1:36 pm

        I know I’ve submitted next-to-nothing this year. The reasons are endless. I personally know more female poets than male. Are we just not submitting work as much? Maybe time for a poll?

  2. Caroline Crew permalink
    December 22, 2011 \pm\31 4:28 pm 4:28 pm

    I think women just don’t submit as much– I think VIDA showed that. I think it might be time for graphs!

    • Roxane Gay permalink
      December 23, 2011 \am\31 7:03 am 7:03 am

      It’s a lot of things. Mostly, women have a different set of responsibilities most of the time where they have to work and tend to home, children, family while men are free to work and write. This is certainly changing as more men assume a more equitable role in housekeeping and child rearing but a great deal of this is the issue of time. I also think women submit differently–they submit in a more targeted way, and will also send their work to fewer publications at a time while men (based on the queue at PANK), seem to just send anything anywhere, whether it might be a good fit or not. This is a generalization. There are plenty of men who submit in a targeted, selective manner but based on my experience, women do it more. There are so many publications out there that newer magazines in particular, will struggle for a while to get any sort of balance in submissions because women are doing their targeted thing to known quantities. You see the same thing with writers of color also frequenting more well known publications. Part of the solution is time. Part of it is making explicit solicitations for submissions from women until you achieve the kind of gender parity in submissions you are looking for.

      At PANK, we used to have an 80% male submission queue. These days, it feels much more balanced. I’d have to run some numbers to be sure but I think we might even have more women submitting than men. I’m curious to see.

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