Blake Butler, Kate Zambreno, Amy King and I recently had a nice, interesting, and lengthy conversation about gender, publishing and so much more, prompted by lots of things including the recent, and largely excellent discussion in Blake’s “Language Over Body” post about the second issue of We Are Champion. We thank you all so much for engaging with us on these issues. Part 1 can be found here and Part 2 can be found here.
Amy: I want to try to connect such modes of discussion and modes of writing with why we might have an inequitable publishing history by citing excerpts from Joan Retallack’s essay, “:RE:THINKING:LITERARY:FEMINISM.” Blake, when you say we’re “just people” or we’re “just bodies,” I think you’re resisting the notion that biology is essentialist and destiny (it’s not) that determines how and what we write. You are, in fact, by default arguing against the primary thread of feminist literary tradition that says women’s experiences have traditionally been ignored and must be heard via the writing and, I suspect, you imagine that writers could empathize their way into such positions and write those realities. Just a guess.
But this notion falls short of what types of writing have been deemed masculine and feminine. I hope Kate jumps in soon because she most likely has more to say on this matter than I.