The woman question: uplifting, or pinning down

At a dinner party scene on the L Word, Max shares an anecdote about lobsters: how it’s only male lobsters you have to worry about leaping out of the pot when you’re trying to cook them. The males, sensing danger, make a ladder so that they can help each other climb out of the pot. Female lobsters, on the other hand, hold each other back.

The idea of mentorship and support among women comes up often in conversations—particularly in conversations between poets and artists. There is a lot of complaining about a lack of female role models, a lack of support—and if I recall that is why Annie Finch started Wom-Po, the women’s poetry listserv. Wom-Po is a great resource, but apart from gender, that project seems to be concerned with discussion of formal poetry and less open to innovative and experimental work.

I’m not sure whether there is any veracity in the lobster tale, but the number of conversations I’ve had about this subject over the last half decade or so indicates that there must be. Reading series like belladonna—which I am very pleased to be part of—go a long way in creating positive experiences for innovative women writers and readers. But what about other forms of support? What about reviews, for example??