There are short posts with the most minimal information on Poethead giving glimpses (albeit briefly) of women’s visionary writing. They include Marguerite Porete, (a Beguine who was burned at the stake in the French Inquisition), and excerpts from the beautiful Anna Livia Plurabelle Soliquoy, which shares a set of images and ideas with Porete.
I have mentioned the antiphons of Hildegard of Bingen and the gorgeous vision-laden writings of Ursu, Touminen and Julian Of Norwich. Mostly they were Women in the Wall (apart of course from the wonderful James Joyce whose tropes and archetypes do share similarities). I have been reading the Karlén for a week or two. I must admit studiously avoiding the poetry and focusing instead on the symbols, not least because I reluctantly accepted it as a gift from an old friend whom recommended it in the highest terms. Its not that I am unused to non-verbal communication, the use of word and tone by women, whose communication is not academic but it exhausts me and I do not know why.
On a not unrelated note I see in the Guardian of last weekend that Charlotte Perkins Gilman‘s The Yellow Wallpaper is going to be re-issued, the review of same was excellent because the reviewer discussed her initial reaction to the story in t The Gilman short Story can be accessed in Scribbling Women, Short Stories by 19th Century American Women, edited by Elaine Showalter/Christopher Bigby.
Back then to Karlén. I wonder if it because it is easier to read those whom are removed from us historically such as Porete and Julian of Norwich, that breaks the tension in reading visionary books?
“Whilst the storm is raging and completing its work, this book will tell you more about this artist. He was the artist who had decorated the whole of the king’s palace with images of eternal beauty. The artist whose wisdom and power was able to transfer the highest eternal beauty and justice down here to the lower planets. The artist who periodically came to the world of human beings, to bring them visions of eternal truth. I shall now write down the poem that the good king wrote whilst he lived here on earth. A poem that is about the artist who made the statue.”.
(From : A Moment in the Blossom Kingdom and When the Storm Comes , by Barbro Karlén.
I will excerpt some of the poem onto the blog tomorrow along with an excerpt from Liliana Ursu, a modernist writer in the immediate post WWII period.