VIDA: The Count Roundup


Before VIDA released its latest count, there was Ann Hays’ open letter to The New Yorker complaining about the dearth of women in its pages, and I remember applauding the letter while thinking the whole time that it wouldn’t matter if the conversation didn’t somehow jump into the mainstream. And I worried that the same thing would happen to VIDA’s count. I mean, we had a nice discussion here, but we’ve been fans of VIDA since they started their work, so it should be no surprise that we were willing to continue the conversation.

But it’s starting to look like more people at bigger publications are paying attention now. Here’s some of the latest offerings from around the web.

Katha Pollitt at Slate says we need more women editors.

Roxane Gay is trippin’ and rightly so.

Jim Behrle has some suggestions for fixing the problem.

Jessica Crispin talks to Christian Wiman of Poetry about the subject. The world of poetry, it seems to me, is the area in literature where women are the closest to parity.

Annie Finch has solid advice for editors on how to get more women in their pages.

And I’m just going to add this, which I said in the comments in our own discussion on the subject, and which I’ve heard reiterated in most of these pieces–if you’re an editor, then you have a duty to aim for parity. Don’t blame the slush pile–do something about it. It’s difficult, I know, and in a lot of cases, we’re doing this work for no money or next to it, and being asked to track what you accept seems like an additional pain in the ass for an under-appreciated (by the public at large anyway) job. But it’s important to do all the same. Don’t run from the responsibility.

Brian Spears is Senior Poetry Editor of The Rumpus and the author of A Witness in Exile (Louisiana Literature Press, 2011). His poem “Upon Reading That Andromeda Will One Day Devour Triangulum and Come For Us Next” was featured in Season 9 of Motion Poems. More from this author →