A few more questions regarding women, reviewing and power structures

Here are the original four questions:

Does the lack of women broadly accepted as intellectual/critical forces influence women’s creative relationships? #women&power #womenmentor
Does the idea of success evoke a gendered constellation? #womenmentor #womenandpower
Is that (successful) woman seen as a peer or competition? #womenmentor #womenandpower
Are women able to see more than one other woman at a time? #womenmentor #womenandpower

But there are a few more questions we need to ask about the relationship of women’s reviews and the larger editorial infrastructures that make up the literary world. I know, it’s a dirty business that no one wants to actually discuss, but I think it’s time. I would sincerely like to hear some discussion about the amount of mentorship that goes into those poets who have public literary profiles. I would like to hear some men talk about this specifically. How did you get the opportunity to review? It would be good to hear from women as well. What I am curious about is this:

  • How many women hold editorial positions and are assigning books reviews on a national level, not on a minor level, not in a journal designed for women (the general public as such don’t read those)?
  • What is the relationship between writer/editors assigning book reviews and those who they assign book reviews to reviewing their own books favourably? A long series of promoting each other ad-nauseum.
  • Realistically, how many core reviewers were asked to review, versus, the reviewer pitching out of the blue?
  • Who is currently setting the standard for what constitutes a compelling, effective critical frame for reviewing and thinking about literature? Why do we imagine there is only one such frame?
  • How many literary women, poets in particular, hold institutional power and are using it to build an army of defenders and acolytes who will write about and support them?
  • How are those relationships impacting general poetic discourses?
  • Do we want to know the infrastructures of critical review assignments?

Or, do we let those power structures go uninterrogated and focus on creating a generation of poet critics who can move outside of the increasingly small world of poetry and into mainstream sources? In other words:

  • How can we get women writing more reviews?
  • How can we get women into positions of institutional power so they are assigning and directing discourse?
  • If I organize the critical boot camp I have long been talking about, will women come? And will women  make like the Admiral butterfly and inundate the national media with their voices???
  • Yes, I am serious about the boot camp.

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