Monday, June 18, 2012

Something Thoughtful

Nicholas Reid reflects in essay form on general matters and ideas related to literature, history, popular culture and the arts. You are free to agree or disagree with him.

            I really love it when somebody saves me the trouble of saying something by saying it better than I could.
            This week I have been commenting on books written by women, one of which was also about a woman. This led me to think about the battle of the sexes in literary terms, and the way women literary critics and anthologists can be just as blinkered and selective as male ones when they choose. Woeful are the 
anthologies which are put together for polemical purposes rather than for literary excellence. Women can do this just as well as men.
            Anyway, this made me think of a very good poem by New Zealand-born Australian-resident Jennifer Compton. It appears in her collection This City (Otago University Press, 2011).
            With Jennifer’s personal permission, I reproduce the poem below.
            See what you think.
Table of Contents

The anthology of Australian Women’s Poetry
fell quickly, according to the Introduction, into
the twelve sections. That you see here. There.
I was reading like a herbivore, eating pages.

Nature and Icons and Pregnancy and Birth.
Infancy, Sons & Daughters, Daily Grind, Loss.
Old Wives’ Tales, Mothers & Grandmothers,
The World and This Last Retreat. All neat.

I raised my head from the handsome book
and stared into the big whatwasmissing.
Where were the Fathers & Brothers?
Where were the Husbands & Lovers?

Where were those good looking bastards who
have had their way with me time and again?
Where was the delicious catastrophe of men?

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