Women + Poetry

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Saturday, September 22, 2007




featuring work by:

Kelli Russell Agodon
Nicole Cooley
Kate Greenstreet
Luisa A. Igloria
Eve Rifkah
Jennifer Karmin + vispo
Nicki Hastie
Raina León
Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Arlene Biala
Nava Fader
C Mehrl Bennett
Laura Goldstein
Jill Alexander Essbaum
Kristen Orser
Pearl Pirie
Kathryn Douglas
Angela Veronica Wong
Juliet Cook
Lillian Baker Kennedy

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Best of the Net Nominations

Amy King

Elizabeth Treadwell
3 from Virginia or the mud-flap girl

Holaday Mason

Anne Heide
from The Blue City

Ebony Golden
hocking a wedding ring

Eileen Tabios
(—after David Baptiste-Chirot's "After Rimbaud's Illuminations")

find out more about "best of the net" here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Late Summer Will be Golden

I'm working on the special late summer mini-issue of WOMB. Expect to see it by the equinox.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Poetry Puzzles

~*~ SPECIMEN JAR POETRY PUZZLES ~*~ for sale at the Hex Presse Shop

Poetry Puzzles inspired by Mina Loy, Sylvia Plath, and Elizabeth Bishop. More coming soon!

The letters of six words from a single poem are gathered and stored in glass specimen jars. "Sestina," "Fever 103," and "Lunar Baedeker" come in a triangular jars and contain brightly-colored letter beads which allow the player/puzzler to experience the letters synesthetically. Because the letters are also impressed on the beads, once can "feel" the letters, thus allowing for the experience of "feeling" and "seeing" as simultaneous acts of "reading." The puzzle jars can be emptied and their letter contents "solved" to spell the words from the poem. The letters can be used to make anagrams and new words also. In addition to letters, other materials are harvested and added to the jar for further delight and stimulation. These additional materials are carefully selected and are -- to a certain degree -- intended to conjure sensory details related to the poem which inspired the puzzle. Something for each of the *six* senses is contained in each Hex Presse Specimen Jar Poetry Puzzle. This "syntax of tangibles" can be used to create poems, to conjure new ideas, and to amuse, delight, and inspire. For students of poetry, Hex Presse Specimen Jar Poetry Puzzles enhance understanding and enjoyment of the poetry. Like Cleromancy games, Hex Presse Specimen Jar Poetry Puzzles are an exciting, surprising, and unique way to engage with poetry.

Forthcoming Cleromancies

I've finalized the list for the first 12 Cleromancy Games!

#1 EMILY DICKINSON curated by Michelle Detorie (june 2007)
#2 CHRISTINA ROSSETTI ("cup-like lilies") curated by Jessica Smith (july 2007)
# 3 CHRISTINA ROSSETTI ("a summer wish") curated by Jessica Smith (july 2007)

forthcoming (not necessarily in the order in which they will be published)

GWENDOLYN BROOKS curated by Evie Shockley
GERTRUDE STEIN curated by kathryn l. pringle and Magdalena Zurawski
LORINE NIEDECKER curated by Julia Drescher
JUNE JORDAN curated by Alexis Pauling Gumbs
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING curated by Catherine Daly
AUDRE LORDE curated by Kate Greenstreet
VIRGINIA WOOLF curated by Michalle Gould
EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY curated by Susana Gardner
ALICE CHILDRESS curated by Cherryl Floyd-Miller*

*Hex Presse will also be publishing a special-edition author-curated Cleromancy by Cherryl Floyd-Miller. More about this in Spring 2008.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cleromancy Poetry Game # 2, "cup-like lilies" : CHRISTINA ROSSETTI, curated by JESSICA SMITH

Now available at Etsy.

******six word dice for poetry, divination, and play******

*Cleromancy Poetry Game # 2, "cup-like lilies," is sourced from the work of Christina Rossetti
*Curated by Jessica Smith
*Six dice; each side of each dice has a different word (for a total of 36 words)
*Comes in a hexagon shaped box
*Dice and box are pyrographed and inked by hand
*Roll the dice to make poems or divinations

Cleromancy is a form of divination using sortilege, casting lots or casting bones in which an outcome is determined by random means, such as the rolling of a dice.


Cleromancy Games are published in *very* limited editions (there will only be six of each). Due to their handmade nature and differences in the patterns and texture of the woodgrain, each Cleromancy game is entirely unique.


Jessica Smith edits Outside Voices Press, an umbrella for Outside Voices Books, Take-Home Project chapbooks, and FOURSQUARE magazine. Her first book, Organic Furniture Cellar, is available from the Press website at outsidevoices.org


There will be MORE cleromancy poetry games from Hex Presse. Each game will be sourced from "woman-authored texts"** and contemporary poets will be invited to "curate" the dice. Cleromancy #3 also will be curated by Jessica Smith and sourced from the work of Christina Rossetti. Cleromancy #4 will be curated by Michalle Gould and sourced from the work of Virginia Woolf.

**open to interpretation :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Dear Lovely People,

1.) Womb is open for submissions throughout July.

2.) I am updating the blogroll. If you identify as a woman + make poems + blog, please leave a link to your blog in the comments if you do not see your name in the sidebar. Also, if you know of a blog that I have missed, please leave a link.

xoxoxo Michelle

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Call for Submissions: Summer Mini-issue

~*~W_O_M_B~*~, a new, online journal of poetry by women, seeks submissions for a summer mini-issue, scheduled to launch in August 2007.

~*~W_O_M_B~*~ is intended to showcase the innovative and intriguing and electrifying work of contemporary poets who self-identify as women. We also hope to provide links to resources that are of particular interest to women poets, and to build a comprehensive blogroll of women poets who blog. If you'd like to suggest a link, please e-mail femme feral at gmail dot com. We believe this will be a vital contribution to the exciting world of online poetry journals and to the community of poets who blog.



*WOMB publishes the work of people who self-identify as a woman

*Please send 3-6 poems as inline text (in the body of an e-mail) or as .doc or .rtf or .pdf attachment.

*We also welcome submissions of audio, visual, tactile, and collage poetry. To submit poetry of this nature, please attach a sound file or jpeg/pdf image of your work. If the work is hosted online, you can also just send us a link. If you think the file is too large to send via e-mail, please contact us to obtain a snail mail address.

*If you are interested in submitting hypertext or video poetry or poetry that requires a flash player, please send a file that is viewable using quicktime or real player. Again, if you think your file is too large to send via e-mail, please contact us to obtain a snail mail address.

*Collaborations and translations are also welcome.

*If you are interested in submitting something that does not fit into any of the above descriptions, that's fine. Just help us out by providing us with a brief description of the piece.

*Please query if you are interested in doing a book review. We can't offer review copies at the moment, but we would love to hear from you if you would like to share your thoughts about a book.

* Send all submissions to
wombpoetry at gmail dot com


* We are open for submissions from July 1, 2007 to July 30, 2007. Issue 1.5 will launch in late August 2007.

*Please put your name and date in the subject line of your e-mail. Please also include a cover letter with a brief bio so that we can get to know you a little bit.

*Simultaneous submissions are allowed, just let as know asap if a piece has been accepted elsewhere.

*Please note that we do not consider previously published work (however we are willing to consider work that has been posted to a personal blog; if this is the case, please make a note in your cover letter).

*Expect a response by the first week of August. Since this is a mini-issue, we'll only be accepting a small handful of submissions. We'll begin reading for our super-sized annual issue in October.


Monday, June 25, 2007

finally updating the blog!

under construction. Check back soon!

you can view the old blog at here.

Friday, January 5, 2007


Q. Why only women?

A. The short answer: Because we felt compelled to gather, solicit, and create a space specifically for poems made by women. By doing this, we hope to bring more attention to all of the exciting work currently being done by women poets. We find the idea of looking at a collection of poetry by various women really exciting.

The long answer: We believe in multiple genders, and believe the term "“women"” includes multiple genders. We hope this multiplicity is evident in the work we showcase.

Womb is partly inspired by the riot grrrl scene, and the zines that came out of that community. These zines were exciting because they mixed academic discourse about gender with D.I.Y. aesthetics and attitude. They made use of, and incorporated, traditionally "“feminine"” or "“girly"” imagery, while simultaneously challenging that imagery. Nothing was off-limits. Like riot grrrl, which existed within the larger context of indie rock and punk, we hope WOMB will work as something that exists within the larger context of online publishing. That is to say that we see WOMB as something within -- – not against --– the online poetry community. This point is especially important to us.

The other thing of course, is that an online journal which focuses on work created by women provides a context that will allow all of us to explore the role gender plays in poetry, performance, and cyberspace. We don'’t have an answer to this, but we do believe that gender is something worth thinking about. Will WOMB be different from other journals because it focuses on work created by women? We're not sure.

There are some amazing venues which focus on poetries created by women. Check 'em out: HOW2, belladonna*, Superflux, Wicked Alice, Dancing Girl Press, Kelsey Street Press, Switchback Books, and others listed in our sidebar.

Also: Many people have written about women-only spaces as an essential aspect of attaining world-wide gender equality. If you are interested, you can check out this piece which argues that women-only spaces are still vital to achieving gender-equality in the west, or this article on the benefits of women-only spaces in the quest for gender equality in Africa .

Q. Is WOMB just for women?

A. The short answer: WOMB is for everybody! One of our main goals is to make a meaningful contribution to the exciting world of online journals, and for us that means making something that is for everybody.

The long answer: Although WOMB is for everybody, we do hope to provide a space that allows women to find/connect with other women more easily. The internet is a sprawling, rhizomatic space. We hope that WOMB might become a "hub" or sorts. One of the ways we are trying to do this is by building a comprehensive blogroll of poet / bloggers who identify as women.

It goes without saying that this resource will also be of interest and useful to everybody.

Q. Are you looking for "“women'’s writing"”?

The short answer: No.

The long answer: The short answer is no because we'’re not really sure what "“women'’s writing"” is, but it seems like most people who've used this term think "“women'’s writing"” is writing that addresses or discusses "“women-specific"” issues (rape, pregnancy, domestic violence, ect.). Of course we are open to poetry that deals with these subjects, as we are open to poetry that deals with any subject. We have no preferences content-wise. We like all sorts of stuff, which we hope is evident in our weekly links and the links in our sidebar. Check '‘em out!

*That said, there is the term "feminine writing" or "écriture feminine," as coined by Helene Cixous in The Laugh of the Medusa. If you are interested in this term you might want to start here. Additionally, there is Nu shu or "women's script," a form of writing invented by women hundreds of years ago in Jiang Yong Prefecture, Hunan Province, China.

Q. Why the name WOMB?

It'’s a word we'’ve always liked, and it's a not a word you hear very often.

We also like the figurative/connotative properties of the word "“womb."” The etymology of WOMB, and the connections made to "womb" in other words' etymologies, is also interesting.

You can read more about the why we like the word "womb" as a title for a publication here.

Q. Why the funny mark-ups in the title?

It'’s sort of our little homage to thirteen year old girls, which is where we got the inspiration. Something about the urge to decorate text -- – whether it be using bubble letters or tildes and asterisks and underscores -- really appeals to us. We also like how it turns a mark that has a "standard use"” into something decorative. In this sense, thirteen year old girls have successfully appropriated these marks to suit their aesthetic preferences. We think that'’s pretty hip.

Q. I am an artist who works in genres / media other than poetry. Can I still submit to WOMB?


We consider poetry inclusive of all media. Really. Some "types" of poetry include: Visual and Concrete Poetry, Tactile Poetry, Gestural Poetry, Sound Poetry, HTML and digital poetry, Video Poetry, Found Poetry, Prose Poetry, Altered Texts, and Book Arts.

Anything is poetry if you say it is.

Q. Why online?

It's accessible 24/7 worldwide. It'’s less expensive for us. It'’s free for readers. Plus, it will allow us to include lots of images, movies, and poetry which requires an online/digital environment. Plus, we plan to archive everything forever.

Q. Is WOMB a blog? A zine? A journal? What?

For now, WOMB exists here -- at wombpoetry.blogspot.com -- as a blog. But we are working on a website, and when WOMB launches in January 2007, it will be at our website. We'’ll always have a blog, which we like because it'’s easy to update and is open to comments.

As to whether WOMB is a "zine" or a "“journal," we'’re not sure, and for now we don't really care. Call us whatever you want.

Q. Is WOMB feminist?

The short answer: YES.

We like the deinition bell hooks offers in her book Feminisim is for Everybody. feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression”

The long answer: There are many types of feminisims. The one thing we'd like to make clear is that we are feminist because we love everybody -- including men. We are feminist because we believe everybody should have the same rights and freedoms. We believe feminisim is good for everybody.

Q. What can I do to help or become involved with WOMB?

A. The short answer: Spread the word! Link to us! Submit!

The long answer: We are always grateful for your thoughts and feedback. Feel free to write to us at wombpoetry at gmail dot com. And if you have any special skills that you'd like to volunteer, particularly with web design, we'd love to hear from you!

Monday, January 1, 2007

WOMB as a title for a publication

Some people seem to think that "womb" is a pretty provocative/controversial title for a publication. I'd like to unpack why that is. But first I'd just like to say this:

-I like the word "womb," it's etymology, and the letters w-o-m-b and their suggested visual echoes: b-o-m-b (a buzzing or booming sound), c-o-m-b (a toothed object), t-o-m-b (to swell). I have always liked the "om" combination. I also have an intense fondness for words containing "ov." And I like almost all the words used to describe female and flower anatomy. They are tasty, tangy words. I also like the word "speculum." And "hem." And "hone." And "bone." And "elixir." But I digress.

- wombs -- the body parts -- are not required for publication in WOMB.

- WOMB publishes the work of people who SELF-identify as women.

- WOMB publishes the work of multiple genders.

- WOMB is feminist.

- WOMB is for everybody.

I think one of the reasons some people are put off by the name has to do with the body, and the way certain parts/areas of the body can become sites of political discourse and how this is enacted through language. The idea of the anatomical womb and it's function as a reproductive organ is frequently used as way for others to claim possession of/power over women's bodies. In case it isn't obvious, I think this is really gross.

I think another reason why some people are made uncomfortable by the name has to do with the way WOMB seems more sincere than say, words like "pussy" or "cunt." "Pussy" and "cunt" seem more ironic and distanced...and in some ways, this irony/distance is what makes many people, especially men, more comfortable. In case it isn't obvious, I think it is okay to make people feel uncomfortable. Especially if the discomfort reveals some sort of occult privilege.

It also seems that some people make the assumption that the title WOMB is meant to be a sort of synecdoche. That the journal is a sort of "all wombs on deck" call to poets. Or else that the title is meant to glorify fecundity/fertility. Both of these assumptions tend toward an interpretation of the title as a means of being divisive. Additionally, these assumptions also align with a tendency to value women because they possess wombs, or -- even worse -- to value the womb more than the woman. In case it isn't obvious, I think these tendencies are really, really gross. It is, in fact, a desire to squash those tendencies that compel me to use words like "womb" and "ovary" and "fallopian tubes."

I know that not everyone will like the title/name of every publication. And I know language will always be the site of conflict. I like poetry because it is a radical use of language. And yes, I do think "WOMB" is a radical name for a publication.

Colloquially, it is not unusual to hear someone say that so-and-so has "balls." It also isn't unusual for people to call things "seminal," or to call a person "cocky," or to say that someone got "shafted" or is a "tool." And did you know that the word "pencil" comes from the diminutive for penis? Yes, next time you use a pencil you can think "little penis." Or "tail," which is where the word for penis comes from.

The word womb comes from the word for belly.

And check this:


1373, from O.Fr. matrice, from L. matrix (gen. matricis) "pregnant animal," in L.L. "womb," also "source, origin," from mater (gen. matris) "mother." Sense of "place or medium where something is developed" is first recorded 1555; sense of "embedding or enclosing mass" first recorded 1641. Logical sense of "array of possible combinations of truth-values" is attested from 1914.

More here.

Other things: Womb Chair from Design Within Reach & knit a womb. Also this.

WOMB POETRY Volume One is live. Check it out!