FINALLY, AN EXCUSE TO USE SAPPHO IN A HEADLINE
According to the Guardian, out lesbian poet Carol Ann Duffy, 52, is "likely" to be the first female Poet Laureate in the United Kingdom (thanks to
LeeAnn Kriegh for the tip). The job, which comes with a 10-year gig and an annual salary of less than £20,000, has previously been filled by such greats as Alfred Lord Tennyson and Cecil Day-Lewis. (But back in the day, they only got
£100 and "a butt of sack" — that’s
108 gallons of sweet wine — for their verse. I guess poets do like to drink, don’t they?)
Back in 1999, Duffy was also under consideration for the post, but "her status then as the mother of a young child and as a woman in a lesbian relationship made her wary of taking up such a prominent national position."
Carol Ann Duffy
Now that her daughter is older and she is no longer in a relationship with her former partner, Scottish poet Jackie Kay, apparently Duffy has been deemed more suitable for the position. As much as I think it’s cool that a woman (and a lesbian, at that) could finally become the British Poet Laureate, it’s weird that the Guardian would think that Duffy being single makes her a better candidate.
‘Cause being single doesn’t mean you’re no longer having lesbian sexual experiences. Now they’ll just have to contend with a lesbian Poet Laureate who goes out on dates.
Although maybe it’ll give her more fodder for poetry. I mean, did Sappho ever write about being in a happy, committed, long-term relationship? I rest my case.
BOOKISH LESBIANS UNITE!
Last week the 2008 Lambda Literary Awards were announced, and several of the winners deserve a place in your beach bag this summer. See the whole list on this page, and here are my picks for what to read now:
- Among Other Things, I’ve Taken Up Smoking by Aoibheann Sweeney (Penguin) — Winning the award for Lesbian Debut Fiction, this novel is told from the point of view of teenager Miranda, who lives with her eccentric father on a foggy island; the Washington Post describes it as "post-gay fiction," but the author herself has said, "I always really felt strongly that it was a lesbian book." Decide for yourself!
- Split Screen by Brent Hartinger (HarperCollins) — This young-adult book won the Lammy in the Bisexual category because one of its two main characters is Asian-American bisexual teen Min (half the book is told from her perspective). I loved it, but you don’t have to take my word for it; read Sarah’s opinion here. (Full disclosure: The author also writes for AfterElton.com.)
- The IHOP Papers by Ali Liebegott (Carroll & Graf) — Winning the Women’s Fiction Lambda award, I’d read this book for the cover alone (tattoos, check; wrist cuff, check), but even better, it’s about a 19-year-old IHOP waitress who moves to San Francisco in tragic pursuit of a love interest. I’m so there!
- And Now We Are Going to Have a Party by Nicola Griffith (Payseur & Schmidt) — In the Women’s Memoir/Biography, Griffith’s beautifully made and intimately detailed memoir is a keeper. Plus there’s the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll she talks about.
Other books of interest are: Out of Love by K.G. MacGregor (Women’s Romance); Wall of Silence by Gabrielle Goldsby (Women’s Mystery); First Person Queer: Who We Are (So Far) (LGBT Anthologies), a book of essays from writers including Sharon Bridgforth and Katherine V. Forrest; and Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England by Sharon Marcus (LGBT Studies), for the historical nerd in you.
So much to read! Good thing there are no lesbian/bi characters on TV to distract me.
— by Malinda Lo