There’s a Jacques Lacan joke about a boy and girl on a train pulling into a station. ‘I see we’re in Femmes’, says the girl. ‘No you idiot, it’s Hommes!’ the boy corrects her.
Consider the implications of that joke in relation to the review pages of the new Poetry Review. As follows:
Steven Matthews reviews John Kinsella. Man/man.
Sara Crown reviews Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Tamara Fulcher and Mary Oliver. Woman/three women.
David Morley reviews Adam Foulds and Ciaran Carson. Man/two men.
Jamie McKendrick review Michael Hofmann/Bernard O’Donoghue. Man/two men.
Adam Thorpe reviews Taha Muhammad Ali and Mahmoud Darwish. Man/two men.
Jane Holland reviews Charlotte Mew, Ruth Pitter and Janet Frame. Woman/three women.
Michael Hulse reviews Matthew Francis and Robert Crawford. Man/two men.
Sarah Wardle reviews Annemarie Austin, Sujata Bhatt, Alison Brackenbury, U.A. Fanthorpe and R.V. Bailey. Woman/five women.
Tim Liardet reviews John Seed, Ken Cockburn, Julian Stannard, Graham Mort, Gerard Smyth, John McAuliffe, Philip Nikolayev and David Grubb. Man/eight men.
Melanie Challenger reviews Lotte Kramer, Zoe Brigley, Jen Hadfield, Gerrie Fellows and Julie O’Callaghan. Woman/five women.
Tony Frazer reviews Kenji Miyazawa, Soleïman Adel Guémar, Ivan Blatný, Nikola Vaptsarov, Yana Glembotskaya and Oleg Burkov (eds), and Marc Falkoff (ed). Man/four men plus two anthologies, one of whose three editors is a man. Reader, Nikola Vaptsarov is a man.
Charlotte Newman reviews Tamar Yoseloff, Kathryn Simmonds, Deborah Garrison and Jane Griffiths. Woman/four women.
The Tony Frazer review complicates things ever so slightly, but leaving those two anthologies out of the picture we still have seven male reviewers reviewing 21 men and five women reviewing 20 women.
Hommes and Femmes. Someone tell me how highly significant this is, and why, or why in fact it means nothing at all.