"No one wants to be a poet." Kenneth Goldsmith on NPR, November 21, 2013
Strange thing is that Kenneth Goldsmith himself is a poet. And a sculptor. And yet he chooses these self-deprecating words when describing part of what he himself does.
I guess Mr. Goldsmith doesn't quite understand the road that many of us had to travel to get ourselves to the place(s) from which we could indeed be poets. Gilbert and Gubar's groundbreaking work, Madwoman in the Attic, explores the anxieties behind the audaciousness of the 19th century women who dared to write and thus become authors. We, as fat women, had as many and perhaps more anxieties. At first some of us questioned if we even had the right to write poems. After all, the people described in the poems were usually beautiful. Especially if they were women. They might be ideals. And the USA was fervently in favor of ideal women being slim, we did not find many poems about fat women who were beautiful or extremely interesting, or both, or just poems about fat women in general. You had to go to certain very specific and not necessarily well known places for those.
But even so, what a joy, what a rush to read poems with fat women in them. Some magazines, zines and journals began to carry and list poems by and about fat women.
This was a very important time and a very key development. For if fat women were to write poems about themselves, they had to read poems in which people like themselves figured largely (no pun intended). The identification process had to begin.
Then we had to stop being ashamed of their bodies and themselves enough to be able to write about them both objectively and celebratorily. We had to figure out exactly what went into creating images about our bodies and also to understand what putting these images into poems would entail.
This meant finding a further identity, not just as poet, but as fat poet. What was the difference? What did it mean to write as a fat poet? It meant finding out what the word fat meant to each of us, and how we wanted to see ourselves in the poems we were writing, and how we wanted others to see us -in the future.
In short, how we wished to present ourselves in poems, and what we wanted our relationships with our poems to be.