Thursday, November 19, 2009

You Knew It Was Coming

It only took a week or so, but voila! the first charge of sexism has been thrust into the fray. (Are Zach Wells and I the only two reviewers who don't know that Chris Banks is a woman?) Of course, no names mentioned, again, of the power-ensconced men (wink, wink), but, hey, a broad brush makes a painting job a lot quicker. Who cares if half-a-can (whoops! sexist overtones on that one!) ends up on six members (strike that last word from the record!) of the family, plus the visiting Mormons, the woman librarian filing her pen-sword, and the matron with hands on hips?

"Dear Shameless Hussy,
I have been watching the debate about reviewing in this country with some interest. After reading several posts on the matter I did my own research. What struck me even more than the obvious bias of the reviews..."

Comprehensive evidence, please? Bias in what form and content? By whom, specifically? Which publications are "at fault"? Original works of poetry under review in evidence for a more complete picture of what the male reviewers were working with?

"is the overwhelming number of them being penned by men,"

Comprehensive facts, please? In which publications? Are all of them then included? How many years of statistics? Ratio of men's acceptance-to-rejection in those submitting reviews compared to same in women? (which is more pertinent than total reviews). Percentage of women editors compared to men in totality of journals/publications who make the call for acceptance of submissions? Evidence of all work of all women and all men among both categories (accepted and rejected reviews). Percentage of men who submit compared to women who submit? "Objective" quality of work by men with journal-accepted reviews, arrived at by a numerous group of multinational poets and editors who have written extensively about all the reviewers under study?

"usually from the center and east of it,"

Hmmm .... one of the only two pegged reviewers in the Banks-initiated foofaraw is located west of Vancouver. Since the other has moved back east, that makes it a 50-50 affirmative-action geographically distributed wet-dream. But perhaps LH's persona has included and indicted the other ..... 50? 120? other males hogging the reviewing stage (by obviously nefarious, tribal means). I look forward to seeing those other male reviewers named, and the incriminatory textual evidence put on display. Of course, the only fair thing to do is to have ALL reviews by ALL men entered onto the ledger. Again, I await and expect this minor detail to be affixed, with appropriate and lengthy, well-thought-out commentary by LH included.

"and with distinctly similar tones."

As in B-flats? Which tone is this you speak of? Rage-fueled? Petty? Dismissive? Sleepy? Incorrigible? Marsupial-like? There are so many of these fascinating tones. Which is the distinctive one you mean? Ahh, the vapid vagaries of vagueness ....

As for the rest of the "substance" in this contribution, well, as LH herself likes to say: "I think it speaks for itself". I wonder, though: is there a dress code for women poetry reviewers that isn't being maintained by those same women waiting to break down the walls of ancient Rome? (Martha and the Vandalettes?) Yes, indeed, maybe we have the answer! The tribal authorities just demand dresses of their distaff reviewers! Well, we all knew that men were simple, and easy to please.

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