BLACKWOOD, Margaret




Author Tags: Poetry, Women

Margaret Blackwood is a Victoria-based poet, fiction writer and visual artist. She edited Earth, Air, Fire, Water (Arkana, 1990) and Aimed at Nobody (Faber and Faber, 1993) along with Robin Skelton. She wrote The Monstrous Regiment (Andre Deutsch, 1990), a compilation of quotations about women throughout the centuries, Gravity and Light (Cacanadadada, 1991), which was co-authored with Anne M. Kelly and Kerry Slavens and The Seed Jar (Beach Holme, 1995). She has also published a chapbook, Unfinished World (Reference West, 1991).

[BCBW 2003] "Poetry" "Women"

The Monstrous Regiment (M&S $12.95)
Article



WHEN A WOMAN BECOMES A SCHOLAR there is usually something wrong with her sexual organs," according to Friederich Nietzche. "Woman is like a teabag," says Nancy Reagan, "You can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." Those are just two of the hundreds of contentious quotations about women in The Monstrous Regiment (M&S $12.95) compiled by Margaret Blackwood of Victoria. Coincidentally The Little Pink Book: Quotations About Women (Pulp $4.95) is a pint-sized compendium of howlers dating from Cleopatra to Margaret Thatcher. "A man in love is incomplete until he is married," says Zsa Zsa Gabor, "Then he is finished." "Well, certainly, if one of those single mothers on welfare finds herself pregnant with an unwanted child, 1 think that she should find relief by going to any of our free-standing churches and ridding herself of her unchristian feelings of depression."--Bill Vander
Zalm.

--The Montreal Massacre.
--No Means Maybe. Or Later.
--Date Rape On The Rise.
--Violence Against Women In Movies.
--American Psycho Is A Bestseller.

Who's leading the resistance?

WE'RE ALL ON THE SAME. SIDE, the side of full expression and choice, of breaking the silences," says Mary Billy, editor of Herspectives (Box 2047 Squamish, B.C. VON 3GO). Four times a year, despite failing health, Mary Billy staples together her unsubsidized new letter of women's letters and opinions. Although Billy has attracted contributions and subscriptions from the likes of Burnaby novelist Eileen Kernaghan and Susan Crean, for the most part her little-known network consists of grass roots literati seeking "friendship, and the kind of sisterhood most only dream about." Herspectives ($22 per year) ain't fancy. But it's far more sophisticated and inspiring than one might guess at a glance. Much like Mary Billy herself.

Similarly Caffyn Kelley of North Vancouver continues to share feminist art with her network of subscribers throughout North America. Newest releases in her Gallerie Women Artists' Monographs series ($24 for 8 issues) are Tee Corinne's Growing Up in an Alcoholic Family and Lee Maracle's Oratory: Coming to Theory (2901 Panorarma Drive, North Van, B.C. V7G 2A4; $5). Maracle is one of the rising stars in a Native women writers' movement which includes Pen tic ton's Jeanette Armstrong and Nanaimo newcomer Ellen White. Her autobiographical novel Bobbi Lee (Women's Press $12.95) has just been re-issued; and she's recently co-edited Telling It: Women and Language Across Cultures (press Gang $14.95) inspired by a conference of the same name; plus she's released a new fiction collection, Sojourner's Truth & Other Stories (Press Gang $10.95). .

Press Gang publishers have produced the all-time feminist bestseller from B.C., Anne Cameron's Daughters of Copper Woman ($10.95). They continue to break new ground with a photo book exploring lesbian sexuality and censorship, Drawing the Line (by Kiss and Tell) by Susan Stewart in collaboration with Persimmon Blackbridge and Lizard Jones.

At the forefront of the Femlit language revolution is Betsy Warland of Saltspring Island. She initiated and coordinated the West Coast Women and Words Society which resulted in the bilingual Women & Words: The Anthology (Harbour $9.95) in 1984. A language reformer, Warland challenges linguistic conventions and celebrates lesbian identity as a source of power in Proper Definitions (Press Gang $11.95). Co-organizer of the Women and Language Across Cultures conference for SFU's Women's Studies Programme was poet Daphne Marlatt, also a founding member of the feminist editorial collective, Tessara, and author of an exploratory historical novel of Vancouver, Ana Historic, in 1988.

This summer's Women & Words gathering for writers will be held in North Vancouver, Aug. 11-24, with instructors Maria Campbell, Eve Zaremba and Gaye Allison. Contact 872-8014 for info. (Earlier this year the 3rd annual Women in View Festival was held in Vancouver including B.C. writers Cynthia Flood, Susan Musgrave, Helen Potrebenko, Sharon Thesen and Phyllis Webb.) Historically, at the forefront of feminist expression in literature has been Dorothy Livesay whose newest memoir is Journey with My Selves (D&M $24.95), covering her life from birth in 1909 to 1963.

B.C. FICTION WRITERS WITH A FEMIN'IST sensibility are a varied and art oft-celebrated lot. The 'big names' of Audrey Thomas, Anne Cameron and Jane Rule are being followed by a new generation of storytellers such as Mary Burns, Caroline Woodward, Leona Gom, Jean Rystaad, Maureen Moore and SKY Lee. The latest arrival is SFU's Sheila Delany, whose Telling Hours: Journal Stories (New Star $12.95) is a first personal collection after numerous books on medieval literature and women writers. The first winner of the $10,000 Journey fiction award, Holley Rubinsky of Kaslo and Toronto, has just released a highly praised collection of stories, Rapid Transits (Polestar $12.95). Another Journey winner, Cynthia Flood, is the new chair of the B.C. chapter of the Writers' Union of Canada and a contributor to Frictions: Stories by Women (Second Story Press) along with British Columbians Claudia Caspar, Maracle and Woodward.

WITH AN EXPLOSION OF FEMINIST FICTION has come a need to critically assess writing from a feminist perspective. The likes of Yale University Press can afford to produce the heavy tomes such as The Feminist Companion to Literature in English with info on 2,700 female writers since the Middle Ages -- but Vancouver's A Room of One's Own has persisted for 17 years (Box 46160 Stn. G Vancouver, B.C. V6R 4G5) by sticking mostly to contemporary Canadian content. In 1991 (the 50th anniversary of the death of Virginia Woolf) A Room of One's Own's current Issue 14 -2 ($4) is a general issue but a forthcoming special issue will be devoted to women and criticism, to be edited by UVic's Susan MacFarlane. Aguelarre is a bilingual Spanish/English feminist journal from East Vancouver that links B.C. with Latin American concerns (c/o Box 65535 St. F. Vancouver, B.C. V5N 5K6). Formerly a coordinator of the innovative (f)lip journal and now the Literary Press Group sales rep for B.C. and Alberta, poet Angela Hyrniuk is editing a special issue on B.C. women artists and writers for the Capilano Review (2055 Purcell Way, North Van V7J 3H5) in the fall along with Zainub Veijee, Carol Williams and Marcia Crosby. With a diverse range of B.C. contributors that includes Edith Iglauer, Paulette Jiles, Margaret Hollingsworth, Kathy Mezei, Sandy Frances Duncan and Dorothy Livesay, Language in Her Eye: Writing and Gender (Coach House) is a refreshingly open-minded anthology co-edited by former Vancouver journalist and critic Eleanor Wachtel.

OF COURSE THE ACADEMICS HAVE TO get in to the act too. UBC anthropologist Julie Cruikshank has dramatically shown the importance of women as preservers of family and tribal history in Life Lived Like A Story (UBC Press $55), a retelling of the lives and times of three elderly Native women from the southern Yukon. "I've tried to live my life right, just like a story," says Angela Sidney, the last living speaker of the Tagish Athapaskan language. Cruikshank spent more than a decade collaborating with Angela Sidney, Kitty Smith and Annie Ned to produce their three autobiographies.

UVic's Misao Dean explores the' double marginalisation' of writer Sara Jeannette Duncan as a colonial writer in the 19th century with A Different Point of View (McGill-Queen's $34.95). The Eternally Wounded Woman (Manchester University Press, ISBN 0-7190-2525-7) by UBC's Patricia A. Vertinsky is an examination of women, exercise and doctors in the late nineteenth century. It focuses on the cautionary and often misogynist prescriptions made by physicians regarding physical activities for women. After a tempestuous life that shocked Edwardian Bohemia, Violet Hunt died neglected and forgotten by her lover Ford Madox Ford in 1942. Now Joan Hardwick of Victoria has revealed how this much under-rated Englishwoman is worthy of a full biographical study in The Immodest Violet (M&S $34.95). Mary Lynn Stewart, an SFU history professor,. has won a first prize from the Canadian Federation of the Humanities for her analysis in Women, Work and the French State: Labour Protection and Social Patriarchy (1879-1919), a book length study of restrictive French labour legislation.

WOMEN HELPING WOMEN. IT'S THE BASIS of the Vancouver Status of Women's monthly Kinesis, a non-sectarian newspaper with' news about women that's not in the dailies' (301-1720 Grant St. Vancouver, B.C. V5L 2Y6. It's also the story behind SARA, the 'Sexual Assault Recovery Anonymous' Society which has published an inspirational memoir called Rainbow 'Round My Shoulders (SARA $14). Written by Jan Grey (a pseudonym) in collaboration with Vernon's Elizabeth Moorhouse, it's the true story of how Grey overcame childhood sexual assault to become a founding member of SARA (Box 16, Surrey, B.C. V3T 4W4). Similarly Visions of Flight, edited by Kelly Wheeler and Gem Wirszilas, is an anthology of writing by women with disabilities. The contributors are as varied as their disabilities but the book is intended to serve as a cohesive journey of positive thought (Trabarni Productions 15165 88th Ave. Surrey, B.C. V3S 2S6 unpriced).

Jobstories contains more than 50 interviews with B.C. women in a wide range of occupations discussing their work. Compiled by Donna Stewart and Bev Bradshaw, it's dedicated to the 14 women of the University of Montreal Engineering School "who were preparing for interesting well-paid work when they were killed December 6,1989." The publisher is the Learning Resources Society (c/o 102-2511 E. Hastings, Vancouver, B.C. V5K 1Z2; $19.95). Vancouver Island's Linda Halliday and Diana Vander Meyhave prepared a series of books about helping victims of sexual abuse. Available from Ptarmigan Press in Campbell River, they are concerned with kids in court, court preparation, examining false allegations and counselling. Women helping women is also one of the themes explored in the hit NFB movie Company of Strangers. One of the seven women appearing in the acclaimed group portrait is Mary Meigs, previously the author of three memoirs, The Box Closet, Lily Briscoe: A Self-Portrait, and The Medusa Head (all published by Talonbooks). Meigs' forthcoming book is In The Company of Strangers (Talon), based on her experiences with the film. Meigs' painting of the house in the NFB film will adorn the cover of the book.

[BCBW 1991] “Women” “Feminism”