The 2012 count is here.
The past three years compared.
A bit of analysis from Amy King.
Feel free to vent or whatever in comments. I’m going to digest this a bit before writing about it. But I will. Who ate all the blueberry pie?
I used to count the women published by various literary journals when I taught my “Women Into Print” classes at Poets & Writers in the late 1990’s, and The Paris Review improved in the publication of poets in those few years, while the rest of it stayed about the same, which is to say, with mostly men represented. This was when Richard Howard was the poetry editor, and George Plimpton was the main editor. The worst count for women was the interviews section, both in those interviewed and those interviewing. My belief at the time was that they had four issues a year in which to publish writers, and thus, plenty of time and space to balance it out. Most of the literary journals I analyzed at that time were publishing men 50-90 percent of the time, but some were close to half, and others were mostly women, such as American Letters & Commentary. I appreciated it when an issue of all women arrived without a declaration of “special women’s fiction issue” or similar. If you are going to do that, you should declare those opposite ones “back to the cave: men’s fiction issue”. Anyway, I analyzed the publishing houses, also, and FSG was a disappointment, though better with fiction authors than poets. Back then, if they were going to publish a woman poet, she had to be long dead. Francine Prose published around that time her excellent “Scent of a Woman’s Ink” article in Harper’s Magazine, ironically, which I see from the current count, still ranks low on publication of women. They should add number that to their famous index.
In those “Women Into Print” classes I emphasized ways to influence change, personally, and broadly. Those were small classes. VIDA is a huge movement. The counts are public, but it seems as if it does not change much the editing at the publications analyzed. What else can we do? Can we create publications that publish a balance of men and women, and pay those writers decent, equal wages?
P.S. I wrote the above before reading Amy King’s analysis. Yes, to her conclusions and solutions, and to encouraging more opportunities.
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