The fourth issue of Perihelion was developed in conjunction with Conspire and features work by poets who are women, working in both electronic and print media. Included in Perihelion are several examples of poems which were written in tribute to women by men.
Some of the poets in this issue have added Real Audio files, which you'll find in the sidebar on their individual pages.
A quick list to poets featured in this issue:
Anonymous Old English Poem
Linda Sue Park
Beth E. Janzen
Penny L. Ferguson
Poetry Written in Tribute to Women
Poets who are Women in our Archives:
Janet I. Buck
katrina grace craig
Judy Smith McDonough
Follow the Comet
to Orbit a Sampling of Poetry
by Women at
the Astrophysicist's Tango Partner Speaks
Caron Andregg lives and writes in Southern
California, with a husband and two cats. Her poetry has appeared in the
print magazines Spillway, Rattle, Talus and Scree, Sheila-Na-Gig, and
di-vers-city, and on the web in Gravity, The Astrophysicists Tango Parner
Speaks, Zero City, Poetry Cafe and elsewhere.
As for being a WOMAN writer, honestly, I try my damnedest not to let gender
affect me at all. When it does, it's mostly in a negative reactionary way.
I hate the often underlying assumption that 'feminist poetry' or 'women's
poetry' must automatically include an element of man-hating. If I'm
concerned at all about being a 'woman' writer, it's only in making sure I
don't get dismissively pigeon-holed by my gender.
Anjana writes poems, short stories and features for the Indian
newspapers. Her poems have been published in an anthology of Indian women's
poetry brought out by Penguin India. On the Web her poems have appeared in
Conspire, Recursive Angel, Grape Poetry, Apples & Oranges and the Astrophysicist's Tango Partner Speaks.
Women's lives are different from men's; intimacy is key in our world, a
world of connections. In a man's world, status is key, the status to give
orders. In India for a long time, the woman's role was to take orders. Men
and women look at things from different viewpoints - hence the two
complementary worlds of Banalata Sen.
Jill Battson is an internationally published poet and has toured widely in
North America and Europe. She is a poetry activist, having created projects
like 'Word Up' for MuchMusic, 'The Poetry Express' at the Toronto Fringe
Festival and 'Fightin' Words'. Her new book of poems 'Hard Candy' is
available from Insomniac Press.
Janet is a registered nurse and breast cancer survivor from Long Island, NY.
I didn't realize how much my gender affected my writing until I was
diagnosed with breast cancer. I mean, women's issues were always forefront
in my poetry, but cancer empowered me to seek and share my experiences
with others. I gets lots of mail, primarily women, but also men whose
lives have been altered by this horrible disease and who, on some level,
relate to the words I write. This has made me more conscious of the
statement I make as an artist, the message, as a woman, I convey.
Joanna Bielobradek was born in the year of Warsaw's Ghetto
Uprising and only
minutes away from the ghetto. She studied Polish philology at the
University of Warsaw and humanities at the University of Perugia in
She has published four books of poetry: 'Slepcy' or 'The Blinds', 'Bracia Zydzi' (Jewish Brothers), 'Liryki Amerykanskie' (American Lyrics) and 'Wiersze Pisane w Ameryce' (Poems written in America.) She has also written plays - 'Zamach', (Assassination) and 'Live-in Princess' which she staged in Chicago with Polish actress friend Danuta Borowiecka.
Joanna is preparing a new book of her collected poems, 'Times of the Second Moses' and is currently collecting historical documentation for her first novel, written in a
Diane is married with three children--a daughter in college and two teen-age sons.
Although she's "written poetry virtually all my life, I find doing so is particularly
therapeutic during these middle years." Her poetry has appeared in various magazines,
most recently "The Christian Science Monitor" and "Poem" (University of Alabama), and
online in the Astrophysicist's Tango Partner Speaks.
As to how being a woman influences what and how I write, I don't doubt that gender
has a role, just as being an individual does. I just can't separate out exactly what
those roles are, since writing flows from the complex fabric of an individual's life.
Juliana Burgesen-Bednareck is a writer, visual artist,
actor/filmmaker and lesbian rabblerouser from Queensland
Australia. Her published books are
"Mission Brown Chihuahua" Metro Press 1993, a chapbook, previously ascribed
to the incubus Anna Cameron, and "Bermuda and the Other Islands"
Interactive Press 1998. Some
of Juliana's early work was seen in the feminist anthologies "Mother I'm
Rooted" Outback Press 1975 and "Up from Below" Women's Redress Press 1987.
Her recent video "Cicadas and Cellophane" is screening at the 1999 Sydney
Mardi Gras Film Festival.
If and when the millenium comes and/or she is still a "woman" she will
be rowing away from Oz in a kayak for two thereby avoiding, she hopes, the
Olympics, the Bug, and any bribe that may otherwise come her way. She
should be so lucky!
Kate Chenier currently lives in Nanaimo, BC, Canada, where she runs a
downtown coffeehouse and writes in her spare time. She has a useful BA
in English from the University of Alberta, three small children, and a
very barky dog. Her work has appeared in Feminista, Treeline,
Pyrowords, PoetFest and Oracle, among others.
Kay is the Women's Poetry Editor for the Web based community guide service,
suite101.com. She received South Carolina's Carrie Allen McCray Literary Award
for Poetry, 1998, and the ByLine Literary Award for Poetry, 1999. Eight of her
poems will be included in the anthology, Links, to be published this spring by
PoetWorks Press. Her work has been published in state, regional and national
magazines over the last fifteen years.
Being female gives my writing an involvement factor, a means by which a
reader can connect with the emotional interplay present in my words. My
poems, articles, and stories usually have a "people" focus, a by-product of my
interest in the human condition rather than in "things" that Virginia Woolf so
fondly relegated to the interest of the male gender. The internet offers
women the first level playing field in literature, because we are equals from
the onset of the medium. With the turn of the century, a virtual revolution
in women's writing will gain momentum, in large part because of the
availability of free Web pages and the increase in quality online
Penny L. Ferguson
My poems, short stories and drawings have been accepted/published by
various journals and anthologies in Canada, the US, and England.
In March of 1997 my first book of poetry, Runaway Suite: Two Voices,
was published by Hidden Brook Press of
Toronto, ON. 1990-1993 I served as Writer-in-Residence at the Nova
Scotia Teachers College. I am a co-founder and editor of The Amethyst
Review and a member of the Writer's Council of the Writer's Federation
of Nova Scotia. My work was short listed for both the Sandburg-Livesay
and the Acorn-Rukeyser Awards for 1998. I am the vice-president of the
Canadian Poetry Association.
Claudia K. Grinnell was born and raised in Germany. She now makes her home in
Monroe, Louisiana, where she teaches English at Northeast Louisiana
University. Her poems have appeared in
numerous publications--both print and electronic.
Being female affects my writing in the same way that being German, being
blonde, loving sushi, and being a Buddhist affects my writing. No poem is an
island, sprung from a platonic conception of
itself, but rather the result of complex, intricate, and dependent
interactions between writer and world.
Beth E. Janzen
Beth E. Janzen has lived in Georgia, Japan, Ontario, British Columbia and
She writes both poetry and prose, has an M.A. in literature from the
British Columbia, and is a member of the on-line poetry workshop, Zeugma.
Recently, she's moved to Montreal, where she lives with her husband and
teaches English to Francophone business people.
Undoubtedly, being female influences and informs my writing, but to explain
how is to
attempt to follow a piece of yarn into the intricately knit garment of my
concern with feminine symbol systems, a fascination with human relationship,
and affinity for the visceral, the emotive, the sensual, and the small:
these cannot be
considered the exclusive domain of female writers, yet, these obsessions
live and thrive
within my own conception of myself as a woman.
Currently residing in Knoxville, Tennessee I graduated with a degree in art
and have been writing approximately one year. I now work as a 'digital imaging
specialist' at Interactive Pictures Corporation (IPIX).
My writing is affected by a mix of factual events -- personal and
historical. It attempts to create an imaginary world
or setting. I enjoy the idea of creating a backdrop, stage or film set where the writing can unfold.
Dedicated to language-centered writing, feminist and Jewish concerns,
Adeena Karasick is a Canadian poet / cultural theorist and performance
artist; and the author of three books of poetry and poetic theory.
Karasick's writing has been described as "electricity in language,"
"an impressive deconstruction of language and
meaning which is "exuberant in [its] cross-fertilization of punning and
knowing, theatre and theory" and "inserts itself amongst the corpus of
texts that are changing, and being changed by, contemporary pedagogies.
Karasick recently received her Ph.D. which explored the interplay of
'pataphysics, Kabbalah, feminist and deconstructionist discourses and is
now based in New York working on a CD Rom, and a new intra-genre text,
I am a Chinese-Malaysian woman living in Scotland. Formerly a journalist,
press assistant, chambermaid. Currently a video-maker, belly dancer and media
Being Asian, I was always aware of the fact that I was female
and yet, my mother provided a role model of an articulate, successful and
professional woman. I grew up bi-lingual and spanning cultures. My identity
is based on a sense both of possibility and restriction, being never fully
part of any culture, never fully mastering a language. Perhaps I write to
make a language of my own.
Originally from New York, Beth Lifson currently resides in San Francisco where she
works for an Internet company. She is hoping to attend graduate school in the fall of
1999 to pursue an MFA.
The connection between my writing and my womanhood seems to lie somewhere
between the body and consciousness, the visceral and it's expression in language. Is
that the same for all artists, male or female? Maybe. How does this relate to the
poems featured here? I pass that question to the readers who come upon my work.
A certified trainer
for the world's largest and oldest employment transition consulting firm, Karen is originally from New York, although she now lives in Ohio with "a
wonderful man I've respected for twenty-one years." Her online publication credits include: Tintern Abbey, Melic
Review, Serpentine, and Savoy; featured poet on the Acme Poets website.
Hard copy anthology inclusion: Writes of Passage-every woman has a story.
Karen received first and second place for public reading of original work at The Greater
Columbus Arts Festival.
Having never been a man, I can't really say if that would change my writing.
I assume so. I know getting into a man's skin and writing from that
perspective is something I'm experimenting with. I am a woman however and
write about women; women I've met, always fascinated by the complexities and
simplicities. I left home when I was fourteen and wandered around on the
streets for quite a while, so many of my women characters come from my
street observations and experiences, although they are generally composites.
Also, having dabbled in photography, I view my poems in much the same way as
my photographs; I think of them in the same way, try to capture as much as
possible in a small frame. The bottom line for me though, is a life-long
exercise in empathy.
Brigid McLeer is a writer and artist currently living and working in
Devon, UK. Her work explores the relationship between visual and textual
modes, practices and discourses. She has done work for the page (CHAIN,
Performance Research, Circa, Coil, etc.) and for installation - most
recently as part of 'Dark Field' at the Boiler House, London. She also
writes critically on issues relating to image-text practice and her most
recent essay is published in Visible Language, (pub. RI School of Design,
Brigid is a lecturer in Performance Writing at Dartington College of Arts,
Could there possibly be two things more difficult to write about than 1.'on
being female' and 2.'writing'? Let alone write about how one affects the
other? And yet as a woman, this is precisely the position from which and
into which I write; the place where 'one' meets the 'other'. The 'other'
that I am - as female, queer, Irish, interdisciplinary practitioner and
teacher, etc.etc. the list goes on - writes her way into the 'one' with a
kind of Cixousian 'flying and stealing' that raids the dominant 'one', the
'same' the 'self' with inscription. The inscription is navigation and trail
- currents of intervention and interconnection - that are female and
writing and female writing, finding a way to be more than just an
Sheila E. Murphy's FALLING IN LOVE FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOU SYNTAX: Selected
and New Poems was brought out by Potes & Poets Press in 1997. Her LETTERS TO
UNFINISHED J will appear from Sun & Moon Press. She co-founded and continues
to coordinate with Beverly Carver the Scottsdale Center for the Arts Poetry
Series, now in its twelfth season. Her home is in Phoenix, Arizona.
I am fortunate to have been brought up in a manner that de-emphasized gender
differences and found commonality wherever possible. Nonetheless, as I moved
outward through the concentric circles of social connection, I heard legends
of limitation. By the time I was offered high dosages of such propaganda, I
had developed some level of immunity. Still, no one is perfectly immune.
Although I believe that I am living my life exactly as I choose, something
tells me that I'm often doing "workarounds" to make the context whole. What
does this have to do with my writing? Things I don't even begin to
Linda Sue Park
Linda Sue Park writes fiction for adults and children as well as poetry.
Her first juvenile novel, Seesaw Girl, is forthcoming from Clarion
Books/Houghton Mifflin (October 1999), with two other novels to be published
subsequently. She has had poetry published in Poetry Ireland and the Irish
Times and is currently at work on a historical novel for adults. Linda Sue
lives with her husband and two children in upstate New York and teaches
English as a Second Language at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
I write to explore my everyday experience. It is not possible to separate
gender from my work just as it would be futile to extract any other single
aspect of who I am, wife, mother, daughter, teacher, Asian-American, friend.
Examining the limitations imposed and the possibilities opened by those
aspects is why I write.
Sherry Saye is a wife and mother of two who lives in Colorado. With a background in English Education, academic research and editing, she is
a resident artist at Acme Poets and has had recent poetry accepted by Terrain, Zuzu's Petals, The Melic Review, and Jacksboro Highway Press. She is an active environmentalist and loves native landscaping and hiking in the Rockies.
"Admittedly pre-menopausal," Sherry says, she "has so far resisted the lure of hormones and Prozac, but reserves the right to change her mind at any time."
Margery Snyder is a poet, computer typographer, newly reincarnated
flute-player & accidental photographer who pronounces her first name
with a hard 'g' and lives in San Francisco. She is the author of Loving Argument
(Viridiana: SF, 1991) & The Gods, Their Feathers (Blue Beetle Press: SF,
1993). Ms. Snyder has given readings of her work throughout northern
California & in Paris, London, Portland, Chicago, Los Angeles,
Albuquerque & Detroit. In 1993 she was chosen for a Writers in
Performance Award by Bumbershoot, The Seattle Arts Festival, and gave a
reading at the Festival. In 1994 she published a "broadlet," The Secret
Humming (Mel Thompson Publishing: SF, 1994), & showed a series of
photographs from her travels across Celtic northern Europe in search of
prehistoric monuments & standing stones. In 1995 she took to lurking in
the hidden poetic corners of the Internet, and by 1997 she and Bob
Holman had created the Mining Company's comprehensive poetry guide Web
site. Her poems have most recently
appeared in Lynx Eye (Los Angeles), A Wise Woman's Garden (Racine,
Wisconsin), Green Fuse (Santa Rosa); online, she is currently the featured poet at the Astrophysicist's Tango Partner Speaks.
I find it difficult to
say just how being a woman affects my writing, because those are two
such fundamental facts of myself, that I am a woman and that I am a
poet. I cannot imagine not being either. But especially because I am a
poet, a truth-teller, my art involves imagining my way, through
language, most fully into myself as a character and so as a woman. So I
am very sure that being a woman does affect my work. But to say how, I
can only say "read my poems..."
Born in Montrèal in 1970 of French, English and Sephardic heritage,
nathalie stephens spent her youth in Toronto and Lyon (France). She is
the author of three works of poetry and a forthcoming
novel, and has contributed to numerous journals and her
work also appears in Insomniac PressÌs anthology, Written in the Skin
Not to be tied to the page, excerpts from several of nathalie's
works have been broadcast by the CBC and are featured in a film entitled
Les couleurs de la vie (Mèdiatique, 1998) as well as in the audio guides
of the National Art Gallery of Canada.
A popular reader, nathalie has performed at many events including
The Scream in High Park, Queer Culture, The Jewish Book Fair, Ruach, and
both Toronto and MontrèalÌs Salons du livre.
I started studying poetry when I was 12 at The Cincinnati School for Creative
and Performing Arts. I have performed at several festivals for The Arts
Council of Greater Toledo over the past 3 years, and am a member of the
rock/spoken word band Logic Alley.
To me, the question of "how being female affects my
writing" is like asking "how being right handed affects my writing." It's
such an intregal part of who I am, I can't separate what is and is not
attributed to it.
Cheryl A. Townsend
Cheryl A Townsend is the Editor of Impetus magazine through her Implosion
Press. She owns cat's Impetuous Books & stuff in Kent, OH. She is an award
winning poet with over 30 collections of her work scattered around bookstores
such as hers. She is also an avid photographer.
Being a woman has given me plenty of fuel for thought. I am an anti-
subserviant advocate of equality and write on many of the issues facing women
today... and yesterday. Issues of sexuality have always played a keen interest
for me as reflected in too many of my poems. With much of today's poetic genre
being angst... it's easy to substantiate the pages.
Chocolate Waters, the author of three collections of poetry, is the recipient of a
1995 New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in Poetry and a 1990
fellowship from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. Her work, which has been
nominated for several Pushcart prizes, is widely published and currently
appears in the Church Wellesley Review, Howling Dog, Hey!, the Journal of
General Internal Medicine and also in the new anthology And What Rough
Beast. Current work can be browsed on the Web at the Poetry Café, Zero City,
Poetry Magazine and the Astrophysicistıs Tango Partner Speaks.
Hailed as the "Poet Laureate of Hellıs Kitchen, Waters is a pioneer in
women's publishing and in the art of performance poetry. She has toured
throughout the United States, but makes her home in Manhattan.
Being a woman affected my earlier writing much more than it does currently.
Now that Iım finally used to the idea that I AM a woman, the
characterization is not so important as it once was. Since most of my work
is autobiographical, gender, of course, plays a large part, if only
Wulf, Translated by Jesse Glass
When most people talk about early poetry by women, they publish examples of Sappho's work. Jesse Glass, who with Ralph Bielobradek translated Joanna Bielobradek's poetry from Polish, also sent Perihelion the following poem and its translation from an Old English source.
Jesse Glass, a native of Westminster, Maryland, currently lives and works in Kyushu, Japan with his
sidekicks Yoichi and Maya. His poetry has appeared in The New England Review, The Shearsman,
The Literary Review, and Angel Exhaust, among others. He is the author of The Life and Death of
Peter Stubbe (Birch Brook Press, 1995).
Poems by Men about Women
Men have been writing poetry about women for about as long as they have been writing poetry. Chosen to reflect the contrast in voices possible in the tribute/love poem, Don Taylor and Mark Larsen's poems show two distinctly
different methods -- one classical, one
Don Taylor -- "I often resort to a feminine appraisal before I stamp a poem as finished.
here is reasonably consistent-- for a poem about transubstantiation and
My poem is a kind of Daphnephoria itself, choiring maidens ceremonious and
honoring-- if, the carried on shoulders is found to be sacred."
Taylor has a doctorate in English. Success in the construction business
took him away
from teaching from 1977 to 1991. He resumed teaching in 1991 and has taught
Wichita State University, Friends University, Kansdas Newman College, and
Mark Larsen -- "I tend to write very specific poems about
very specific people - these poems are messages to women, things that I would usually
not have the guts to say in person. In these two specific cases, they are
love poems about the woman that I am in love with."
Mark has been involved with open mike performance for 15 years ...10
years as a standup comedian and the past 5 as a poet. He makes his living as
a market researcher and enjoys blues and jazz, wants desperately to sing like
Frank Sinatra, and loves baseball. A novice to the Internet, he is very
excited to be making his debut as a web poet.