Saturday, May 27, 2006

Chicana Poetics: Aesthetics and the Marginalization of the Chicana Poet

Chicana poet, Sheryl Luna posted this on her blog last Sunday, May 21, 2006. One of the things I love about Sheryl's blog, Chicana Poetics, besides her luscious prose is that I constantly hear someone like Tina Turner in the background singing:

What's class/ got to do/ got to do with it?/ What's CLASS/ but a second hand e-MOTION?

Here's a few snips of it:

Mega-Post: Aesthetics and the Marginalization of the Chicana Poet

... For me innovation is not limited to a single narrow aesthetic preference. What is new is that we are able to write and publish thanks to the perseverance of many that came before us. Yet I sense the poetry club is an exclusive one that only allows a trickle of Chicanas in the door. Also, geez, there’s nothing like having a bunch of people tell you who you are or aren’t regarding your own identity.

We are in a conundrum. We’ve been pegged before we’ve been read. (...) But as long as Chicanas are relegated to the back of the bus, we need one another despite our own aesthetic differences.

I have found that Americans with Latino/a heritage seem to be more receptive to my work. So we bind together in a fragmented way since there seems to be so few of us. I mean there are probably hordes, but we often struggle alone and separated from each other. I believe that I personally need to take part in encouraging Chicanas because I received little positive reinforcement and I kept going to school because I was so eager to learn. Yet I always felt out on the perimeter. Our work is often deemed lesser and worse it is often stereotyped as singular rather than multilayered. Honestly can anyone say we are all writing alike? The content is often stereotyped as us writing about abuelitas and this is mocked. How often is one mocked for writing about a father or an abuelito? I have never heard criticism of that. I am particularly thinking about the work of Chicanas such as Emmy Perez, Diana Delgado, and Maria Melendez. There are other strong voices out there including Gina Franco, Veronica Reyes, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Carolina Monsivais. No two are alike. We are no less innovative than others, but for some reason we struggle with respect, or at least I do ;) People come to our work or right past it with preconceived notions about our material. Seriously, we all have our own unique obsessions we work out via words.

Well, I think innovation can exist in terms of content, musicality and imagery. Similarly, formal innovation and the issue of language matters, but poetry is about more than language. It always has been. It doesn’t matter if we view our poetry as representational or not, audience and purpose matter. I am struggling with issues like this and I woke up at 3 am upset about my perceived impressions about the current poetry climate. (...)

I feel (there it is again the quiet feminine qualifier) that many current movements in poetry are a direct response to multiculturalism. Despite liberal professions that this is not the case, it is a way of marginalizing us. And then there’s the loud booming voice of men I’ve worked with insisting we’ve had it so very, very easy due to affirmative action. And don’t get me started on that immense smug hypocrisy.
(...) (read more)


And I wake up at 3 am upset ...

I stay up. I write a poem, some unconscious mutterings -- something disconnected for the disconnect.

I dig hard holes in the Colorado clay and dream of com-post.


Blogger Sheryl said...

Thanks Lorna! I responded to your comments on my blog.

28/5/06 09:37  

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