expert jury; Female poets: talented or talentless?

Share
Related Topics
Are female poets, as Germaine Greer's new book claims, mediocre victims and egotistical exhibitionists?

AS Byatt

Novelist

Well, there's probably a certain amount of truth in what she's saying. But I'm not really very interested in high-powered moral criticism - I am quite interested in poetry. I don't understand this business of taking up "positions". I was brought up to take poetry and see how it works.

I am on the side of those women who don't want to be known as women writers. The time when we looked at women's writing as a group together because it was by women is surely passed now.

Literary feminism is really less interesting than any other feminism. Political feminism is extremely important, but literary feminism has actually done as much harm to women writers as good. There are very few writers for whom their gender is the most interesting thing about them.

Julie Burchill

Columnist and novelist

It seems to me that Germaine Greer's attempted to pick off every aspect of women's art work, one by one. What can come next - hairdressers, fashion designers? - until she proves that women are no good at anything. Is there no female artwork that she's got something good to say about?

The problem with Germaine (right) is that she's an iconoclast, and we always thought that you couldn't be iconoclastic enough. But if you express that iconoclasm by just attacking everyone around you, what does it achieve? You don't have the equivalent black critic going around saying that all black artists are crap.

What's the opposite of a cheerleader? A gloomleader, I suppose. Well, for some reason we've been blessed with this gloomleader that no other group seems to have.

Suzanne Moore

Feminist writer

I agree that you shouldn't just like something because it's done by women, and if you are trying to look at the place of women's poetry it's completely legitimate to say it has to be as good as the stuff men are doing. But I think - why this book now?

If she's so concerned about what's wrong with contemporary feminism, why didn't she write a book about that? I can't begin to know the workings of her mind, and she's never been very consistent.

I think it's important that critics are able to say this work is good or this work is bad, regardless of gender. I just think it's a strange thing to be doing now - but she does a lot of strange things these days.

Ros Coward

Critic and writer

I haven't read the book yet, but I think it's good to begin to turn the tables on this idea that everything that women have done is as good as - or better - than what the men have done, but that history has simply been unkind to them. But one can't help but think - God, she's trying to get into the limelight again by this endless contrariness. You know, "I've been raped, the menopause is good, and there are no decent female poets".

Linda France

Poet and anthologist of women's poetry

Germaine Greer knows she's no longer the only woman in this country with something to say and who isn't afraid to say it, so maybe that's why she has to talk louder and louder, with greater eccentricities. She's certainly keen on the limelight, and she likes a good scrap.

But underneath all the blether and brimstone I actually agree with what she's saying. I just find her manner of expression very unfortunate.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 Teacher Required in Grays

£21000 - £40000 per annum + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 tea...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Kylie has helped to boost viewing figures for the talent show  

When an Aussie calls you a ‘bastard’, you know you’ve arrived

Howard Jacobson
The number of schools converting to academies in the primary sector has now overtaken those in the secondary sector – 2,299 to 1,884 (Getty)  

In its headlong rush to make a profit, our education system is in danger of ignoring its main purpose

Janet Street-Porter
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee