I love male poets. My bookshelves are stocked with new and established writers of the male persuasion. Yet, I never seem to hear any buzz or swirl or momentum when it comes to new titles written by women. Why is that?
If women are at least half of the book-buying public, why aren’t we routinely topping any best sellers lists (Mary Oliver excluded)? I’m strictly speaking of women poets with three books or less. Are men more frequently signed by bigger-named publishers with better marketing machines, or are they just better at self-promotion? Are men even buying books by women? Or, as it was put to me on Twitter, are women buying books by women? (Forgive the sweeping generalization. I know there are men who buy collections written by women. But the lists speak for themselves.)
So, tell me about the up and coming women poets we should watch.
The short list that follows, sparked by this post, are women poets we should watch for. It is by no means all-inclusive, and certainly not as diverse as it should be. But it’s a start. Feel free to suggest names and I’ll update the list regularly. (updated 7/7/11)
Jeannine Hall Gailey
Cynthia Marie Hoffman
Tracy K. Smith
Rhett Iseman Trull
For the record, I buy books by men and women. And over the next few months, I will purchase a collection by every person on this list, because I believe in walking the walk.
And after we’ve created this great list, what then? How do we support these women on their journeys to reach a wider readership?