I’ve a question I’d like to ask, but first some background. With an androgynous name like ‘Ashley’ I’ve occasionally been mistaken for the fairer sex in the context of my poetry. A reader or editor sees a poem by ‘Ashley Capes’ without a bio, and perhaps naturally assumes that I’m female.
Now, this hardly offends me. I have no problem with it at all, and when it happens in writing, in the context of a review, like here
I certainly don’t mind, for at least two reasons. One, it’s wonderful to have my writing described as ‘sparse’ & ‘taunt’ and two, it’s just so damn nice to be mentioned in a review! (The review is for Canberra Journal Block, and my poem ‘through the backyard’ appears in it.) Actually, make that 3 reasons. I love the fact that poetry is being mentioned by a bookshop, and I also agree with SmithsalternativeBookshop that the issue is wonderful. And that it’s a shame this will be Block’s last.
But now to my question. Is poetry seen as more of a ‘female’ pursuit? I have some potential evidence to say it is, because when an androgynous name appears, and there is no other contextual information for a reader to determine the gender of the writer, it seems the female gender is default. What do you think? Opposing evidence? Supporting evidence?