‘There are less Wikipedia articles on women poets than pornographic actresses’ James Gleick

“There are less Wikipedia articles on women poets than pornographic actresses.

The above quotation is derived from Wikipedia’s Women Problem written by James Gleick at the New York Review of Books made during this last week. It interests me as it is embedded in article about the sub-categorisation of American women novelists, an ongoing row about editorial habits that infect androcentric working environments. I have had some experience of these environments, which I consigned to their rightful place when I began blogging about poetry and poets.

Many discussions about resolving this issue have emerged online in recent days and none of them are fit to purpose. Imagine a scenario where a woman has spent some years writing about the American woman novelist, the woman poet, the woman editor or translator for Wikipedia – only to find that sleight of hand had consigned this work to some irrational sub-category based on an ephemeral and subjective desire to tidy-up ?

One can address the issue in a number of ways : subvert the categorisation, appoint editors to recategorise, or assert one’s independence and  transcend the necessity of endless and pointless plea-bargaining on the subject of poetry and novels by women writers.  I chose the latter route over five years ago and I am sticking to it in the face of reports from VIDA about the invisibility of women writers in the canon.There was the 100% men issue of The New Yorker (April 29th 2013).

There is a turbulence inherent in unearthing a viewpoint that asserts that there is a difficulty in our value system that relegates women’s views on every subject to the amateurs section including but not limited to issues of rape, torture, birthing (or not). There are even awards to those men who put words into the mouths of women historical figures.

The muse has become a tattered prostitute framed by the self-importance of the male writer. I wouldn’t go to the bother of redressing this imbalance via traditional publication routes.


Dear Friends: Grow Your Own Index

'Life or Theatre ?' Charlotte Salomon

An Index Of Women Poets











M Mc/Mac


O and O’









Irish Women Poets on SoundCloud

4 responses to “‘There are less Wikipedia articles on women poets than pornographic actresses’ James Gleick”

  1. Though I understand your position, I do think the issue needs to be addressed in the mainstream media as well as in Wikipedia.
    First of all, Wikipedia editors complain that there are too few women who are willing to contribute and edit the articles. I responded to this complaint a year or two ago by pointing out that contemporary women normally have two jobs: a job for pay and a homemaker’s job. They hence have little time for the sort of volunteer activity that non-working women used to do routinely. So, of course, if the editors are primarily men, they will focus on activities and interests of men.
    Secondly, many men are currently tuning into the current wave of feminism, and they seem sympathetic and open to “instruction.” So we shouldn’t give up on finding male supporters among those with influence in the media.


    • I am just glad that I didn’t put in the work. The decisions made were arbitrary and ever so slightly irrational imo. Theres a lot to be said about indy-blogging. One controls presentation.


    • I just gathered a lot of the poets that I blog and talk about together into some type of order. If is see another html/xhtml line of code : I may scream.


  2. Thank you for posting this valuable reference material/ I Will Be investigating for some time/


Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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: