Douchecanoe Poet. Also, Trigger Warning.

12 02 2010

So, yeah, it’s been a while. What can I say? I’ve been busy.

Anyway, I just got back from my poetry workshop class. Basically, we exchange and critique poems every week. It’s a lot of fun, except when you run across gems like this:

“rape me, rape me, rape me, she cried
but jolly ginsburg prefers her dead”

What. The. Fuck. I saw that and was… paralyzed. Sadly, the critiques we must write cannot simply be YOU SICK MISOGYNISTIC FUCK in the biggest goddamn font that Microsoft Word can cope with, so with the help of the wonderful Shakesville community, I managed to tone it down a little bit and get a semicoherent point across. (the thread, if you’re interested:

It took some courage to raise the point during discussion, but I felt like I had to do it. So I raised my hand and pointed this out, and the response? He was trying to bring up the Wife of Bath. There is so much wrongity wrong wrongitude here that I need a list.

1. Correct me if I am wrong, please- it has been quite some time since I read any Chaucer but where exactly does the Wife of Bath talk about rape? Especially as a good thing?

2. Semantically, there are issues. Rape=nonconsent. Asking=consent. You cannot, logically, ASK to be RAPED. Simply not possible within the constraints of this weird mess of words we call English.

3. Why, exactly, are you trying to name-check Chaucer in a poem about the Beat poets? For only two lines? Huh?

4. If your allusions are so obscure you need working notes or actual commentary to explain them, UR DOIN IT RONG.

And, because this is just so very charming:

5. No, Moron Who Sits Next To Me, it is really NOT “good to be offensive.” Well, I modify that. It is fine and dandy and twenty-two kinds of entertaining to transgress the existing power structure. Offending the powerful is totally cool and edgy. Using language that continues the oppression of an already-oppressed group? Not so much.

In her summary of the discussion and recommendations to the poet, the professor did address the SERIOUSLY PROBLEMATIC language, happily (not strongly enough for my tastes, but one can’t have everything.) I did get the distinct impression that if I hadn’t said anything, it never would have come up. Good evening, rape culture. I’ll see you tomorrow morning. And the morning after that, and the morning after that…




One response

23 04 2010
Poet Not Such A Douchecanoe After All « It's Always the Little Things

[…] Poet Not Such A Douchecanoe After All 23 04 2010 Some of you may remember a previous post, in which I ranted and raved about a very poorly-thought-out reference to rape in a poem I critiqued for an English class. (If you don’t: […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: