As part of its celebration of National Poetry Month in the US, the Boston Review is publishing one poem a day on its website throughout April. Today's poem is "My White Feminism" by Juliana Spahr, an Oakland-based poet who's most recent collection, That Winter the Wolf Came, in part captures the euphoria and sorrow of the Occupy uprising in the Bay Area. In a melancholy, self-deprecating tone, "My White Feminism" skewers the myopic second-wave feminism of figures like Germaine Greer and Gloria Steinem, and of the author herself. Here's an excerpt:
My White Feminism seems to have bashed open my skull and ate up my brains and imagination and it sends me to internet ogling not only Germaine Greer but all the lovers of Ted Hughes.
Each name its own tab. Each tab its endless images.
Sylvia Plath. Assia Wevill. Susan Alliston. Brenda Hedden. Carol Orchard. Jill Barber. Emma Tennant.
Next My White Feminism has me searching all the references to breasts in Karl Ove Knausgård’s volume four.
There are over forty fairly mundane references.
He seems to like them large, round, big, inviting, pendulous, firm, bouncing, white, tanned, magnificent, like apples.
Gloria Steinem went to bed with Norman Mailer out of kindness twelve years after he stabbed his wife.
I just read a version of this sentence on the internet.
My White Feminism as nothing but bothers and annoys.
Is it that the feminists of that generation got gender forced on them, crotch shot by crotch shot?
Is that where I can find some sympathy for them? ...
If My White Feminism is nothing but a gendered inventory of jobs I didn’t get and the men who got them then I should be writing “Kill My White Feminism.”
I mean what use is My White Feminism if it never gets me to fuck work, to fuck gender, to kill all bros?
When the women occupied the offices of Grove Press one of their demands was jobs for women.
The white feminism of the women of the Grove Press occupation.
But it isn’t just jobs.
I mean it is something more complicated, this My White Feminism.
Image of Juliana Spahr via Boston Review.