Get that Dead White Guy Away From Me!

Last week, in Origin & Liminality, we looked at the “origin” of Experimental Writing according to the Dead White Man’s Cannon, which they claim can be found within Ezra Pound’s imagism and dismissing the of the Victorian writers’ need to use language lavishly. We then juxtaposed the notion of “petals on a wet black bough, blah blah blah blah blah’s use of imagery and economy of language to that of one of his contemporaries, a woman writer from Uruguay: Delmira Agostini.

What is also relevant about studying women outside of the DWM’s CANNON is drawing attention to the history that is also suppressed in this not so subtle white supremacy in literature. Delmira was a victim of femicide. Her husband, after she told him she wanted to divorce, killed her. Ezra pound, her contemprary, (born in 1885, she was born in 1886) had a wife and a mistress, both of whom he impregnated, had ship their children off to different relatives to raise, and continued on into his nineties to be quoted through his dementia to receive standing ovations in New York. Womanizer, shit father, privileged white man = let’s make him a icon. Talented woman who speaks truthfully and wants to make her own decisions = killed and forgotten.

Let’s not forget WHY WE WRITE; WHY WE MUST WRITE and WHY WE MUST SHARE EACH OTHER’S WORK and WHY WE MUST RESIST THE WHITE MAN’S CANNON!!!

Here are two exercises based on Delmira’s writing:

First, read her poem Mi Musa Triste.

The Craft Exercise:

Key into her use of imagery. Write about a feeling through the use of nature. Fuck the economy of words thing if it doesn’t speak to you. Write as lavishly as you like.

The Theoretical Exercise: The Muse

For women, what the fuck is a muse? The muse is often depicted as a woman; a slender, white woman, ready to be fucked as well as serve as a conduit for words. The Muses were the godesses who inspired poetry and creativity. A place to worship these godesses was called a Museum. (As in a sort of display of all your available women conduits for the purusing. Sounds like some sort of brothel to me, except worse, since these women weren’t getting paid and it was their assigned duty to deliver their inspiration through men, not a consentual or self chosen position.) Re-write the concept of the muse to be self-posessed, to be a consenting collaborator, to be a divinity of her own will.