My research yesterday went insanely well.

The book I want is expensive: poetisas de america so I will have to go back and carefully xerox it all.


I read tons about Emilia Bernal and I like her poetry! And she’s not in any of the anthologies since 1950 or so and yet she is just like de Ibar. and Agust1ni and maybe cooler and weirder. She likes to be torn apart by the thorns of roses and the fangs of wolves; her pearl necklace falls apart into the swan-lake fount of modernist creative inspiration; she whips ghosts in the Alhambra with roses and leather. As far as I can tell she had 4 kids when she was incredibly young and then left her husband in 1909 and became a famous writer (in Cuba, traveling around to NYC and I think other places) and I can tell she is cool because she was also a translator. Yay Emilia! Nice to meet you!

I feel a surge of soul-filling confidence that my research and ideas will be good and right and worthwhile!

The thing is all the critics just erase these other “minor writers” that are women so that Delmira and Juana look like aberrations. Oh look, a rare writing-woman! Where did she come from? But no. The world was full of poetisas and I am reading all about the 19th century ones too. I mean DUH. So it is just like england/u.s. literature-world where everyone fans themselves and says what a shame it is that there’s only the rare odd writing-woman who pops up now and then in history but then when you really look they mean “only the rare writing-woman who’s any GOOD” and actually the world was full of them and at the time everyone knew it and read them and actually the ones who weren’t any GOOD are the most interesting and quirky and only the lame-ass Longfellows survive (and here only in awful translations).


One Response to “research”

  1. Prentiss Riddle

    Okay, you’d be just the person to fill in one detail of a little fantasy/RPG I play in my head sometimes to lull myself to sleep.
    It goes like this: I win a few million at the lottery and I decide to endow some scholarships or university chairs or something. They are to be named after great dead writers of the Americas. I’m talking canon fodder here: only figures suitable for carving in stone on faux alhambras, to be covered with ivy. People whose influence has been felt throughout our twin continents. Just a dozen names, max, so the competition will be fierce.
    I figure I’d start with Whitman and Borges. Who else? I guess Neruda is a must. Octavio Paz and José Martí seem like B-string alternates, or am I wrong? GGM deserves to be on the list and Carlos Fuentes would probably like to be, but they’re not dead yet. Of course we need some women. Sor Juana? Emily D? More women, more women! But who? I don’t see any Canadians or Franco-Creole writers making the cut, but it would be nice to include some Brazilians. Not Jorge Amado, please, but other than him and Tony Coelho are there any Brazilians who get read outside Brazil? Maybe Machado de Assis, which would be nice so there’d be *somebody* on the list from the African diaspora, and I can’t think of any African-American or Afro-Caribbean writers who quite have hemisphere-spanning reach. If there’s room for another anglo male, I’d nominate Faulkner.
    What do you think? Can you fill in the gaps and help trim the fat?

Leave a Reply