Thursday, 8 March 2012

Celebrating women: literary heroines

It's National Women's Day today, so it's great to have a chance to celebrate women writers who've inspired me. One of my all time literary heroines is George Eliot. I still re-read her novels and find new layers of meaning, subtleties and nuance. She, and others like Austen and the Bronte's, is a writer I'll always return to.

“To be a poet is to have a soul so quick to discern, that no shade of quality escapes it, and so quick to feel, that discernment is but a hand playing with finely-ordered variety on the chords of emotion--a soul in which knowledge passes instantaneously into feeling, and feeling flashes back as a new organ of knowledge.”
― George Eliot, Middlemarch

Loose Muse is an event which takes place every second Wednesday of the month at London's Poetry Cafe. Having recently got some funding from the Arts Council, organiser Agnes Meadows has started an anthology series to showcase the work of some of the female writers who've performed there.

"It's not about excluding men, who are always welcome. It's more about giving female voices a chance to shine, particularly those who've never performed or been published," Agnes said.

The recent anthology launch featured writers like Katrina Naomi, Dzifa Benson, Patricia Foster as well as previously unpublished writers.

Held at the Whitechapel Gallery in Aldgate East, the evening was a warm and inclusive affair with some cracking performances.

I might put a video up of me reading my poem 'Paper Hearts' later, if I can get it off Mike, who turned up to support me despite being high in painkillers (medicating himself after a cycling accident left him with a wrenched arm).

Perhaps the old adage 'the pen is mightier than the sword' is more true for us, and certainly was for our predecessors, than it has ever been for men.
So, to all you creative women out there - use it! You just might have a Middlemarch or a Wuthering Heights in you.

“If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.”
― George Eliot, Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life

Here are some pictures of the Loose Muse event.

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