I am the founder and continuing anchor person for the Second Light Network of Women Poets. We oscillate between about 300-400 members, perhaps depending on how ‘sisterly’ women poets feel, or not.
I’ve recently been writing about and inviting submissions to be considered for a new 220pp+ anthology of women’s poetry, Her Wings of Glass. This is the fifth anthology I’ve helped edit and I’m delighted to be a co-editor with the marvellous poets Myra Schneider and Penelope Shuttle.
The anthology title comes from a poem by Sylvia Plath and the book is one project in a Homage to Sylvia theme we’ve been exploring for a while. We think Plath’s life and work probably inspired many more women poets to publish. She was one of a handful of women poets whose work made a real impact on the male-dominated poetry scene of 50 years ago.
Plath died in 1963. Since then the balance has been largely re-adjusted numerically but perhaps not in terms of true respect and appreciation for women’s writing. Some men (and women) readers and critics still think that women’s poetry has (or ought to have) a kind of ‘sphere’, close to home, relating to feelings…
Second Light are grateful for another chance to ‘show-case’ women writers, made possible mainly through support from the Arts Council of England (ACE). Finances will be tight, even so, and, because Permissions Fees to use poems are so high from some publishers, we will be constrained in the previously published poems we can use. We have to ask those submitting to pay a small handling charge and we can’t pay poets for using their work. Sorry!
We aim to bring the book out in Autumn 2014 and have now started sourcing the poems from the widest range of women poets, from the very well-known to a few whose poem in the book may be their first published poem.
In 2006 Second Light joined with Arrowhead Press to bring out Images of Women. The book covered every aspect of women’s lives. The new book will not be a repeat of Images… but will focus on the kind of poetry by women which tackles ‘big issues’.
We ask women poets to send us ‘ambitious’ poems. We can’t anticipate what will come in. What is vitally important to you, women poets? The fate of the planet? Relations with other species and with our own species? Good and evil actions? Strong emotions? Creative and spiritual capacity and experiences? It must be obvious that we aim to ‘bust’ too common misconceptions about what women write about. Domestic and personal poems? Yes, some. But these are not our main focus here.
We invite submissions. The Closing Date is Wednesday, 15 January 2014. Women are invited to send up to 6 poems, published or unpublished, 3 copies of each poem to Dilys Wood, 3 Springfield Close, East Preston, West Sussex, BN16 2SZ. To assist with the costs of the book we request a £8 handling fee with each submission (£5 SLN members).
Second Light Network of Women Poets was founded in 1994 and supports women poets worldwide.