Zoe Whittall: Unequal To Me


Much of the novel seems held together with a kind of teary hormonal paste.

There’s been much recent parley about “men’s fiction” and the vaginal shadow it has been condemned to live in.

I can sniff out the ink of the men.

But has the author made his parents proud?
What do they think about him writing about sex so brazenly?

The dichotomy of women writing big, important books about war
and men writing little, lapidary books about domestic life is shifting.

There’s just something about his ‘tough boy’ author photo.
He writes self-indulgent fiction.

At fifty, his face is sculpted and unlined, his eyes brilliant
blue and his body dancer-trim.

His house is immaculate, he has three children but there is no
evidence of them.

The floors gleam with perfection.
He’s a publicist’s dream author.

For all its verve, the novel gets tripped up by lack of control, coy
posturing, and preciousness.

I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know
whether it is by a man or not.

I think [it is] unequal to me.

* A found poem with text culled and adapted from Canadian Notes & Queries, The Globe & Mail, The National Post, The New York Times, The Guardian.

MallorytownPhotoZoeZoe Whittall has published three books of poetry, Precordial Thump (08), The Emily Valentine Poems (06), and The Best 10 Minutes of Your Life (2001). Her latest novels are Holding Still for as Long as Possible and Bottle Rocket Hearts.

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