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:: 8/12/2009 :: Sex Ratio ::

Nate Pritts

 

A few weeks ago when H_NGM_N #8 was released, contributor Julia Cohen noted on her blog that she was “happy to have [her] poetry amongst these great contributors, but was disheartened by the female to male ratio of work.”

The implication – which Julia might not have intended – is that this demonstrates a bias on my part. Curious, I ran some numbers:

#8 :: 54 contributors, 14 female for a total content of 26%

#7 :: 46 contributors, 16 female for a total content of 35%

#6 :: 45 contributors, 17 female for a total content of 38%

                                                                                                       They call me LL Cool H

Looking at these numbers, #8 does have a lower female content percentage than past issues of H_NGM_N - & it does seem to be sort of embarrassingly low as a rule.

 

Delving deeper:

COMBATIVES :: Vol. 1 & 2 :: 12 contributors, 8 female for a total content of 67%

H_NGM_N Chapbooks :: 11 contributors, 4 female for a total content of 36%

These are two areas of H_NGM_N that are the result of direct solicitation - & the numbers are troublingly inadequate for making a conclusion. The chapbook numbers seem in line with H_NGM_N the journal, but the COMBATIVES       series is…uncharacteristically high.

 

And deeper still I took a look at the H_NGM_N submissions still to read through, sitting on my computer. 67 total of which 25 were female for a total of 37%.

So I’m left with questions. I too am disheartened but, in a non-scientific scientific way, the magazine is adequately representing what’s submitted to it. How do I raise the number of submissions from females? Is this, in some ways, silly?

 

Failed strategies #34

 

 

I’ll admit my initial reaction was to say that H_NGM_N publishes the best of what’s submitted - & I can’t control what’s submitted. I would love to hear what other editors/writers think about this. Email me here – editor [at] h-ngm-n.com. Let me know in your note if it’s ok to reproduce it on the blog – in fact, I’d be happy to give this space over to someone else’s thoughts!

 

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Reader Comments (53)

The question is are you OK with H_NGM_N being so disconnected from the substantial communities of women poets out there? If you are, then it's not really an issue. It's your independent magazine and you run it as you see fit. One reason you're not receiving a ton of submissions from women poets is because your magazine has established a track record of publishing a majority of men poets. There's a lot of places for me to submit to, I'm running my own magazine and press and raising a child. Like most women writers, I'm juggling many things and I have to use my time wisely. One of the ways I do that is by sending my work to places that I perceive as receptive to both my work and me. The the magazines where I sent (unsolicited) work in the past year were Action, Yes, Absent and Anti-. I don't send out a lot of unsolicited work because I often receive invitations to send--probably 70% of my poems end up in places that requested work from me. So I don't have a ton of unspoken-for-work, and the unspoken work I do have, I'm selective were I send it. Being completely honest, H_NGM_N would not make my list--and that has nothing to do with the quality of the magazine or you personally. I think you're a good guy and I think you generally publish good poems.

Early on with No Tell Motel I noticed that the magazine wasn't receiving as many submissions by writers of color that I had hoped for. The question was, is it a concern for me that my magazine was lacking work from substantial communities of writers? It was. I didn't see it as my magazine needing to do other writers favors by reaching out to them, but it seemed to me that my magazine had serious deficiencies as it was. Having so few poets of color was a big loss for NTM. NTM receives very many submissions, so it wasn't a dearth of good work to choose from, but the potential that the magazine would become very narrow. So while I only solicit work from a handful of poets each year, the majority of those are poets of color. I believe by doing so it has given the signal that NTM is receptive -- I now receive more unsolicited work by writers of color than I had been before (although still not nearly as much as I'd like, so I continue to invite poets to send). Nothing would distress me more if NTM came to be considered a "white poet magazine."

It all comes down to what do you want your magazine to be? What do you think is important to work towards? If you consider it silly, I don't see why you'd bother.

Best,
Reb
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterReb
I don't think Nate thinks it's "silly," nor do I think he's "so disconnected" from women poets in the first place. Back-patting about how much of one's work gets solicited doesn't seem germane to the overall point of gender balance, either, if I were to get down to it as well. There's plenty of great women poets out there whose work is not solicited as much as Reb's.

So maybe the question would be is how might Nate, who is great editor and poet and whose journal should be one the list of any number of poets of every gender and ethnicity who want to get their work out there, get on their radar.

It isn't rocket science, everyone: Nate's trying to do just that with this post. Self-serving comments notwithstanding.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Nester
Reb - Of course, I don't think it's silly. But the question for me has always been - who's in charge: Nate or H_NGM_N? THIS might sound silly but I take it very seriously. Is H_NGM_N an outlet for a particular community, one that reads it & submits to it, or is Nate Pritts as editor responsible for making sure H_NGM_N is connected to "substantial communities" that otherwise might not be reading it or submitting to it?

I admit I don't really know the answer. But I know I don't get as many submissions from female poets as you do. Why? That established track record, right? Here I think you're dead on & the best & only signal (to point to my tweets from yesterday) is to publish as close to an even ratio as possible - artificially if necessary at first (through solicitation, etc).
08.13.2009 | Unregistered Commentern8
You work with the best of what's submitted, Nate. And if you want to get more women poets from the various alliances and communities and schools, you solicit them.

You're being too hard on yourself and making it too easy to get shit for having the best of intentions.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Nester
I didn't even notice the "back-patting" - the upshot is, you have no responsibility aside from that you assume yourself. If you don't care if the poets published in H_NGM_N are mostly white men, then just keep on keeping on. If you care, take steps to make yourself more receptive to unsolicited submissions from women (or whomever). I agree with Reb that selective solicitation is a good way to achieve this. I get more and more unsolicited subs for Absent the more issues we publish, since I strive to represent men and women equally. In the beginning it was like, all dudes in the inbox, all the time.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterElisa
Not trying to be self-serving, or braggy, but I realize how unappealing that can be for a lady poet, so I'll try to keep myself humble. :/

And Nate used the word "silly" in his post. He asks if its silly. I don't know, is it silly? He brought up the question.

Judging from who Nate is publishing, it is my perception that his magazine is not connected to many women poets. That's the perception his magazine gives me, a woman poet.

I'm not complaining that he's not publishing me. I'm giving my opinion on why his magazine has a # problem. A topic he brought up here and invited responses.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterReb
"I get more and more unsolicited subs" from women, that is.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterElisa
"If you don't care if the poets published in H_NGM_N are mostly white men, then just keep on keeping on."

Elisa, you're nudzhing me.

Of course I care. But I return to my question - is it my job to care? H_NGM_N doesn't have a particular mission; in some ways, I feel like I shouldn't solicit at all, you know? But since I'm not limited in terms of space I figure a solicited poet isn't bumping someone that comes through proper channels. But at what point is H_NGM_N strong armed into a reflection of my tastes, rather than an aggregate assembled by me?

And, to nudzh everyone else a little: Reb, wouldn't your job as writer be to submit work to places you felt particularly CLOSED to your work/female writers, to try to open the floodgates for your people?
08.13.2009 | Unregistered Commentern8
Oh, I don't think the back-patting had to do with you being a lady, Reb. It was non-gender-specific back-patting.

And back-patting it was.

I might even call it chest-thumping.

Nate's doing great work.

Here's a back-pat: Name one editor who has opened up this kind of dialogue lately about his own journal, laid out the numbers.

All because of Julia Cohen's blog post? That's pretty attentive to the "substantial communities of women," as Reb puts it.

Constructive comments, anyone?
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Nester
It's your magazine, you're the boss of you! If you care, then YES it's your job to care! No one higher up is going to do the caring for you. The boyz of the world certainly aren't going to do the caring for you and send you fewer poems. I'm not sure I grasp your hierarchy of caring.

And you do solicit! You solicited me for COMBATIVES. So you can't be fundamentally opposed to it.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterElisa
Also I posit that I'm "constructively" giving Nate, whose personhood and magazine I like, a hard time, and he appreciates it. Ditto Reb.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterElisa
Elisa - It's not my magazine. H_NGM_N belongs to the people who read it & submit to it. I just put it together.

& COMBATIVES is a different case; yes, I do solicit, but I sometimes worry that I shouldn't. With COMBATIVES, it was all by solicitation - poets I wanted to see more work from & give a bigger forum to.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered Commentern8
"The boyz of the world certainly aren't going to do the caring for you and send you fewer poems."
--This, perhaps, is the another constant in life, alongside death and taxes: Boys from PhD in Creative Writing Programs in the South and West will send you large documents with poems fresh from workshop, with semi-positive comments over their comments in Ron Silliman's blog.

It's just the way life works.

"I'm not sure I grasp your hierarchy of caring."

My sense is it's fairly high on his hierachy, but you'd have to ask Nate. The man wrote about it and asked for public comment.

What does he have to do to prove he cares, people? Wear a dress?
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Nester
Nate, no, I do not consider it my job to open any floodgates to CLOSED places. I don't NEED those CLOSED places. There's a lot of other options out there for me. Good options.

I'll try phrasing it this way. While I publish on a regular basis, I send out less than 5 unsolicited submissions a year. I do not send unsolicited work to bro-mags. I don't need to and fail to see the allure.

Only you can answer, "Is it my job to care?" If you don't care, that OK, don't care. But you say you do care . . . so is it that you just want people to chime in and say "hey, women don't submit, it's their fault, it's hopeless!" and ignore the existence of the growing number of magazines that don't have these # problems? At some point many of those magazines made a decision and then an effort to connect with women poets. If you don't see the point of that, or don't want to bother, you really don't have to. Really.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterReb
Wait - H_NGM_N is a bro-mag?

Actually, this all comes out of my shock (typical guy) that my numbers were so low because I thought I was doing aok.

I don't want to hide behind the numbers - that I'm publishing almost exactly in the ratio of what's submitted. I want to change the numbers. I'm asking for suggestions to do that. And it seems like I have two on the table - solicit female poets in an effort to establish a ratio that will inspire unsolicited submissions from female poets to rise.

Or wear a dress.

& Reb, really, if you don't submit poems to a magazine that has low female numbers BECAUSE it has low female numbers, how will the earnest & well meaning editor ever fix things?
08.13.2009 | Unregistered Commentern8
"What does he have to do to prove he cares, people?" I meant what is the qualitative difference between "caring" and it being his "job to care"? I don't understand the difference since he is in charge here. It's not like he's just a cog in the machine, like he "just works here."
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterElisa
"Actually, this all comes out of my shock (typical guy) that my numbers were so low because I thought I was doing aok."

This does seem typical. Men (and many women) assume everything's "even" because they never actually do the math. It's mass complacency.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterElisa
Just to be clear, I do think Nate cares, as evidenced by starting a conversation at all. I just don't understand the impulse to pass the buck.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterElisa
Nate has absolutely NOTHING to prove to me. Nate is not holding me down. I'll try not to pat myself on the back and point out that I'm doing AOK despite the existence of a number of magazines predominately publishing white men.

He asked for constructive comments, I gave them. I explained why I, a woman poet, would be unlikely to send unsolicited work to H_NGM_N. I gave a suggestion to how he could increase submissions from women to HIS magazine (sorry Nate, you're the editor, it's your magazine, I don't decide who you're publishing, I read it, but it's not MY magazine, my magazine is No Tell Motel -- and that's the only magazine I take responsibility for). My suggestion was similar to the suggestion Elisa gave (another editor of a magazine that's publishing lots of women). Its not a great mystery how magazines can publish more women. There's no dearth of women poets who are actively publishing.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterReb
Elisa - I'm trying to be clear about editorial responsibilities & limits. If I say how to submit poems to H_NGM_N, the world at large has clearly understood these guidelines. Do I as editor have a right to step in & say - well, wait, these people don't need to follow the guidelines. A right to do it - maybe. I am the boss. But SHOULD I do it?

Can I let some people through the rope while others stand in line like I told them to?

I mean, at the end of the day - sure. I solicit work. But do I think I need to write those solicitation emails even to people who have never read H_NGM_N & who would never have submitted to it on their own....so that the readers of H_NGM_N can have these poems by these people who could care less about H_NGM_N & what it means?
08.13.2009 | Unregistered Commentern8
I don't know of any magazines that never solicit as a rule, though they may exist. I think most submitters understand this situation. If it's an issue of transparency you can always put a disclaimer on your submissions page that says you reserve the right as editor to solicit work to appear alongside unsolicited submissions. Like you said, you have no space constraints, so you don't have to reject MORE of those submissions. Just add to the pool. No matter what you should always stand behind the work you accept, that was never in question.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterElisa
Right. The personal is the political and all that.

For the record: I think Reb's intentions of publishing in places that publish good percentages of women is a good one.

I would also guess Reb's dealing with a goodly number of solicitations for her work and then deciding where to publish her other work, then deciding a certain journal isn't "my journal"--at least one of those critiria is that it doesn't publish a sufficient percentage or women--is not the typical scenario for poets, male or female, white or black or brown.

So how telling your story, Reb, actually helps Nate as an editor is really debatable. If you're going to be honest about your perceptions of H_NGM_N, then I would be remiss not to point out my perceptions of your advice.

My motivation for pointing all this out, of course, is that I do think H_NGM_N is not a "bro-mag." I think it's doing good work, editorial and inclusiveness-wise, and I think poets should know that.

I don't debate those Bro-mags exist. They do. I'd be glad to list four or five here if you like.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Nester
Nate, I don't view it as my job to FIX other people's magazines and projects. I think it's much more effective to show by example. Why should I bang on your door, when I can build my own house? Instead of being resigned to how other people do things, I can do a lot on my own. In fact, I do a lot on my own -- for many reasons, but one is to dispel the "that's just the way it is" thinking.

I find it ridiculously easy to find really strong work by women poets. My magazine is inundated with it. Women who submit regularly note how much they like that I publish a lot of women writers. They almost never comment on the design, or that I'm a woman, what they notice and speak to is who and what I'm publishing.

My magazines is not inundated with work by poets of color. I could easily say, "hey, they're not sending, what can I do, it's not my job to care." I could leave it at that. It would be my completely within my right to do so.

But if I decide that I do care and if I decide that I want to change the demographics of the magazine, I can't publicly put the topic out there -- and reply to responses of writers of color by passing the responsibility right back to them. I mean I could, but that's not going to get me more submissions from writers of color. It's not their job to improve my magazine. It's not ANYONE'S job, except my own. Simply caring or feeling guilty about the situation isn't going to change it. As an editor, I have to make adjustments in how I do things. Something that is completely within my power.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterReb
OK Dan, what's your opinion as to why H_NGM_N is regularly publishing such a low percentage of women? Tell me why women poets aren't sending to H_NGM_N in droves, yet seem to be consistently submitting in other places? Seriously.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterReb
Probably because Nate doesn't solicit them? That tends to have a snowball effect after awhile.

And then maybe people like you say no? You'd have to ask Nate that one.

I mean, I could outline a whole plan complete with my own personal narratives about my own experience as an editor for the past 20 years,* but it's not really rocket science. It's as simple as that.

*Now, didn't that come off as back-patting?
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Nester
So *your* constructive advice is discounting the experiences/views of 2 women poets/editors who've taken the time to respond to Nate's call for dialogue and telling him he's doing just fine? That his acknowledging a contributor's concern about the # ratio is enough?

I just want to understand what exactly is going on here. Does Nate want to hear from from women poets as to why they might not be sending work to H_HNGM_N and does he want to hear from from editors who aren't experience the same shortage of submissions by women?

Or does he want to hear that he's doing just fine and has no responsibility for the direction of his magazine? Does he want confirmation that his magazine is tied to the fate of the slush pile? Does he want to hear that how he first promoted his magazine in the beginning (through emails, postings to newsgroups, personal encouragement to submit, etc.) played no role in the shape of his first issue, which set the the tone for the second, and then the third, etc.

If that's the case, I'll save my breath. Since Nate has been tweeting about this issue over the past few days, I thought he wanted real and honest dialogue. It's clear that you, Dan, view my take and experience on this to be invalid and a bizarre exception.

p.s. I have no idea what you're talking about when you keep bringing up "back patting" but I find it rather strange, and dismissive.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterReb
Just shrill. And self-serving.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Nester
In a non-gender-specific way.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Nester
I love all of you.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered Commentern8
I so agree with Danielle. I don't want to use baby as excuse but the fact is that from the time I got pregnant to now (my baby is 4 months old) I only really send poems to people who ask me for poems. I used to be much more aggressive than this but the fact is I am way short on time. It really saddens me but even as I type this I am nursing a baby. That's just where I'm at. And I always send poems to people who ask me for poems. Don't think that there is anything wrong with this. In fact I think it's really flattering to be asked.

On the other hand I feel a kind of resentment when various editors email me and ask me for names/emails of women writers for their mags because they need to balance their numbers. I just feel like asking for women for your mag simply because you didn't balance your checkbook properly doesn't make sense.

This ongoing problem, well, I just don't think that there is an easy answer.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered Commentersandra simonds
Hi. Numbers are pesky and can be troubling. My take on this is that Nate was surprised by the numbers when he did the math, and that he doesn't *want* to take active responsibility for them by soliciting because he believes that would somehow skew the field... in other words *not be as objective* as working more exclusively from a slush pile. As Reb tried to point out, that slush pile may itself be skewed by factors not fully accounted for at the launch of the project.

Nate's taking the time to do the math and be troubled by it is a first step, but only a first. This is where I disagree with Dan-- I don't believe it enough to notice this type of imbalance and express concern. That's passive and accomplishes little if anything. I also don't think you have to go beyond the first step if you decide that the imbalance is *really* women poets' faults since they don't tend to gate crash as often. If you believe they should just adopt those tactics and submit where they feel there is perhaps less opportunity, then your job is done.

You've said you are shocked and dismayed but that you feel as if that is the end of your responsibility. It can be. Reb, Elisa, and Danielle seem to simply be asking: is that truly how you want to deal with the troubling numbers you have uncovered--by noting them and returning to business as usual? I would guess that it is not, actually. But that's just my perception of the discussion.

I have never submitted poetry to H_NGM_N (though you solicited a review from me), again--broken record calling--, because I was not certain my work would be welcome based on the whoms (not necessarily gender specific here) you have published, and because as a full-time student and mother of 3, I send out more rarely I'd wager than many you find in your slush pile. I cite my personal experience here not to back-slap although--goddamn it--27 months pregnant deserves some back-slapping (and massaging if I am to be honest about my druthers)... but just to offer you another concrete example of a poet not in your pile for whatever reasons. I hope that was a bit shrill. I love the shrill, so invigorating, along with the cackle and the hiss... (smiling now, but not in a gender-specific way)
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterKirsten
I don't feel as if my last gesture here is to throw my hands in the air & say "Oh well!"

I came into this for two reasons - 1) to determine means for increasing the number of female submissions to H_NGM_N and 2) to determine if I was doing something intentionally or unintentionally to keep females from submitting to begin with.

I have answers, sort of - part of which is that I need to solicit more females so to increase the ratio of PUBLISHED female to male writers. This will then have the effect of sending out a signal which will get females to view H_NGM_N as their buddy so that they will send poems to me UNSOLICITED.

It might be worth noting that new Associate Editor Darcie Dennigan sent me an email this morning where she mentions soliciting 9 poets - all of them female, though she says this was sort of accidental & not part of any grand plan. As a male who has solicited MANY female poets in the past (including many of those posting here), I wonder if she'll get a better response. As noted before, I think my return on solicitations to female writers is about 4 in 10.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered Commentern8
Glad to see Darcie Dennigan is becoming an editor. I really like her work.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterElisa
Kirsten--

I also advised Nate that he should solicit women poets, too.

Which is a fairly active activity, I must say.

I just don't think it's fair to pick apart Nate's motives as anything more than wanting to fix a problem that he--actively--computed, reported, and then solicited comments.

Making this a roundtable show-and-tell about how I-I-I as an editor do the right thing and, well, Nate, you don't need to do the right thing, not if you don't want to, you having a penis and all, that's not very constructive. Nor is it very active. It's the pro forma navel-gazing Poetryland stuff we've all seen before.

I asked it before and I will ask it again: Can anyone name an editor, male or female, who rolled out their own numbers, who in effect acted as his own Guerilla Girls watchdog group, and then opened up a comments box free-for-all? Anyone?

If anything, Nate should have quietly done what he is going to do, which is reach out to people he's not seeing in his submissions box. Again, it's not rocket science.

Nate. Wants. To. Do. The. Right. Thing.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Nester
Nate, my return on solicitations from writers of color is about 4 in 10 too. There's a variety of reasons for that -- in some cases, I think certain writers are solicited frequently, many explain they don't have work at the moment, but will send later. Sometimes that pans out. Other times, my invitations are ignored or dismissed because they don't consider NTM a place worthy to send work. What can I do? Well, I continue to keep my eye out for writers and extend invites to the ones who I really like and hope to publish. I don't stop trying because its been a slow process with obstacles (and it certainly has). I want to get to the point where I don't have to recruit, that's the goal. But I'm a far way from that goal.

I keep bringing the writers of color up as an example because it's a sensitive spot with me (like I'm sensing the woman issue is for you). Broadening the scope of my magazine hasn't been a "natural," obvious process for me either, so far. I have to work at it. It's a responsibility I decided to accept. I really do understand the challenges in broadening the scope of a magazine and I'm really trying to be helpful. What I'm trying to say is that you do have the power to turn the tide -- and I doubt it'll be some quick fix that instantaneously makes it all good. But if you do want to change things, then you have to work at being more receptive and not give up when those you solicit don't jump up and down with appreciation and enthusiasm. We're long past the days when there were only 15-20 outlets for poetry. Poets have a lot of options. As editors, we have to keep that in mind.

Best,
Reb
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterReb
Hey Dan, if Nate wants to do the right thing, why do you keep speaking for him and trying to squelch the conversation with accusations of back patting, being self-serving and shrill? That seems counter-productive to what Nate is trying to do. Nobody is picking Nate apart. Everyone is trying to be constructive. Except you who keeps picking apart the credibility of those who are taking the time to chime in. You can't just disagree with me, you have to call me shrill and self-serving? Please explain my motivation to me because clearly I have no understanding how I select magazines. And clearly I am incapable of grasping the meaning of feedback I've received as an editor from other women poets.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterReb
Nate. Doesn't. Need. You. For. A. Cheerleader.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterElisa
Yes. Yes, you do, Reb.

But I think you already gave one to yourself.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Nester
Reb, I am not trying to squelch anything. Nothing could squelch you, not even if I tried.

I chimed in because I thought what you wrote to Nate was hurtful, non-productive, and self-serving. Now, you can go ahead and apply 200-leve lit class exegesis on those three adjectives and try to find something vaguely woman-hating or gynophobic about them. Knock yourself out.

The bottom line is I think you sounded like a pompous ass in your first post, You said nothing that could possibly help Nate, since you gave all a day in the life of a poet who is already fairly established and has a daily routine very much unlike a lot of poets out there who are sending their work out for the first time.

On the positive end, Reb, you mea culpa-d about poets of color, and talked about soliciting them, all by way of giving us a success story of NTM.

It's just icky, all this self-congratulation.

And Elisa, if you don't like me cheerleading Nate, go pound sand.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Nester
Random count of the last issue of Fascicle: 93 contributors total, 30 women. That's 32.25%, my calculator tells me.

It is bad out there and odd and effed-up. And many editors aren't even self-aware enough, as Nate is, to raise the issue.

That's my full cheerleading cheer.

[Puts pom-poms down.]

Now, if I were a woman, I would be sensitive to being perceived as complaining about it all the time. So I will go ahead and complain as a man: there's too many dudes in poetry journals. It's a boy's club. It sucks.

I'll go one step further, and I have gotten a lot of crap for this: It's a white, upper-middle class male club out there, just as much as ever before.

Reb, we need salty pirates like yourselves to fight the good fight. But my point is that Nate is not the enemy--shit, I am cheerleading for him again--there's plenty others. Along with the WILF thing, why not set up a gender breakdown site of journals? Do people already do that?

I'm not saying you should do it, Reb, or anyone else here. But I'd be curious if that might do more to change things. Or at least let people know from one source. People are busy.

I almost typed "busty." I always do that. Good thing I didn't here.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Nester
Well, technically, Julia Cohen raised the issue ... ahem.

I think the gender breakdown site idea is awesome. I'm going to shop it around and see if anyone has the bandwidth. Not me. I'm too busty. I can barely type around this huge rack.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterElisa
I would totally be into doing a gender breakdown. I think it could be a constructive thing for all concerned.

By no means do I think Fascicle is a strange example of what's going on. Anyone could look at the old issues of La Petite Zine, and I am sure there's lots of gender imbalances from issue to issue.

Nate hinted at this, and I don't know if this makes sense, but I think part of the dealio with this here gender thing is having men solicit women. Just typing that sounds strange, doesn't it? Putting women in editing positions like Danielle and Reb and Elisa is a super, super thing. And all of them are on the web. I would looooove to see how established college-funded print journals stack up in the gender sweepstakes. Not that there's any difference in legitimacy in the print/web thing anymore; I just think most web journals are edited by a different generation, by and large, than their print counterparts.

C'mon, Reb! Call me a smacked ass! Let it out!
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Nester
The numbers trouble article looked at a few "established" print journies. The most blatantly offensive was NY Review of Books which occasionally prints poems and I think they were either 100 or 90+ % men.

I'd love to see a more comprehensive analysis--it would be useful both for submitters and for editors, so they'd feel culpable and couldn't just say "I'm even" without actually doing the math.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterElisa
Caveat: I do give Nate props for stepping into the fray. Props, Nate! And I shld add Dan's been enormously supportive of my work from the time I was just a poetry tadpole, so I've always thought of him & his operations as woman-friendly. And busty, very busty.

Okay, since Dan mentioned it, I won't feel so bad saying so--we had a gender problem at LPZ...there were sooooooo many men submitting & so few women, and actually, Jeff Salane came up with our solution. Publish one issue of women only, don't say anything special about it, just publish it like it's a normal thing to have a whole issue no men, and see what happens. It worked. Our submissions balanced out significantly, and issues 16-22 were pretty evenly split...I ran the numbers once, I should re-do. We were also pretty proud of continuing Dan's tendency to publish new authors--we had a lot of new voices, cold submission picks. Pat pat pat on my back back back.

It is a complicated paradoxical position. When one is the editor, or some such agent of authority, and one is working from a more privileged subjectivity than the hoped for contributors, one is always already a bit in the wrong...when I, as White editor, attend to the racial imbalance in my journal, I'm in tricky territory. [And I should note I never did a very good job of improving the racial balance at LPZ, which is in large due to the time constraints mentioned in my earlier post, which is not an excuse, and is in fact a bit shameful, but also an attempt to identify the problem so I DON'T DO IT AGAIN somewhere. At least not so badly.] It is good of me to try to correct that balance, but it is maybe not so good of me to occupy the position of power in the relationship between editor and writer of color. It is good of me to solicit suggestions on how to publish more writers of color, but it is also probably going to insult writers of color, making them somehow responsible for my failure to account for white privilege. These things are simultaneously true. Or so I feel. We open ourselves to unnerving critique in these efforts,which I don't like, 'cause it frustrates me & hurts my feelings, but too bad me...I want to alter the dynamics of oppression, and sadly that costs more than hanging out in the status quo. And no matter how decently I behave, my Whiteness is always an unfair advantage, and that is a much easier discomfort to bear than to be the writer of color staring down a sea of White journals.

Nate, what's your response ratio from guy poets you solicit? And I'd add a reason women don't always have work for solicitation is because they have often more on their plates than their masculine counterparts...more parenting or reproductive duties, in academia studies show women professors take on far more service detail, etc. Some women don't write as many poems. And some women feel the critique before they even send out, so spend much more time per individual poem. Not me, so much, I am fast and dirty, but my production does go down during morning sickness, or night-nursing months. That's not blaming it on baby. As Sandra says, that's just how it is.

Whew, that was long, so I hope it makes with the sense,
xo,
Danielle
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle
Actually that might have been a follow-up article because I can't find the stat in the article itself.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterElisa
Still trying to figure out how I was hurtful or in any way implied Nate was an enemy. If my perspective is hurtful to someone, perhaps that's necessary. Anyhow I don't care for how personal this seems to be getting. I've shared my take. Consider it or pound whatever. Peace.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered Commenterreb
Danielle - My return rate on solicitations of male poets isn't perfect, but it's probably something like 8 for 10.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered Commentern8
I didn't mean your epoch of LPZ, Danielle. I meant mine: what is it, issue 4 to 12? La Petite Zine definitely improved after I stopped.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Nester
uh - I think we've topped out my fake blog. It can't handle more than 50 comments. Switch to another post if you want to keep going.
08.13.2009 | Unregistered Commentern8

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