Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Anne Michaels and the ecriture feminine

I find myself coming back again to the ideas of ecriture feminine. Although I am not convinced that language functions merely as an instrument of patriarchal expression, I do see some strong elements of what Cixous describes as feminine writing in the writers that I am currently attracted to.

"Women must write through their bodies, they must invent the inpregnable language that will wreck partitions, classes, and rhetorics, regulations and codes, they must submerge, cut through, get beyond the ultimate reserve-discourse..." (Cixous, H. The Laugh of the Medusa)

Cixous and Irigarary do not accept the very Western idea of a separation between mind and body - the mind being traditionally male, the body female. They are not saying that only women can write in this new, freer more physical language but that this is a more feminine way of writing.

I am currently reading a book of poetry called The Weight of Oranges by Anne Michaels - Michaels is a Canadian writer who started out as a poet but now writes mostly fiction. Her poetry is very sensual and to me embodies exactly the way of writing that Cixous is describing.

"By morning the stones we'd found
were dull with air,
but I couldn't forget the smell
of the trees' intimate darkness,
the scattered sound of the rain's distracted hands,
husks of buds in green pools on the sidewalks."

(from "Turning Twenty-Three" in Michaels, Anne, The Weight of Oranges)

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