To Progress!

Wow, Salome Ureña’s paean to Progress and Society is fucking rad.  It’s from 1878 and really blows me away…   it’s an exhortation to intellectuals who think they’re above the world and full of Virtue, but who need to roll up their sleeves and get dirty.  That contact with the World does not contaminate them but is noble and good and the world teems with life and fertility.  It’s a call to action!  It’s so cool! Be like the miners who dig precious metal from the earth and the laborers who make fields fertile! it is your sublime religious duty to apply Reason to advance science, conquer all that’s unknown, dig the panama canal, tame that bitch Nature, and so on.  All in rather grand flowing lines like Whitman but with a lot less "I" in them, humbly.  Raise the banners! To arms!

I don’t understand how this woman’s poetry is left out of every anthology and when it DOES appear it’s some prissy little couplets on contemplating some flowers and a sad bird in a nest.  Well, I like the bird poem too, but this one on Society is so much better. Oh wait, I forgot that women’s poetry is trivial, confessional, limited to the sphere of home and hearth, uninformed by world events, and  at best, neurotic and self-obsessed… what was I thinking?

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