Erase the Patriarchy: An Anthology of Erasure Poetry (University of Hell Press, ed. Isobel O’Hare)

I was delighted to read a review of this collection by one of those mean right wing Christian conservatives that hate what they do not care to understand, and demonize intelligence, learning and thought like if they allowed it they might be inclined to think up the obvious possibility that mmmm…either God doesn’t exist, or he else he doesn’t appear to give a fuck, and that Jesus dood is a little late to the shit-party that is Earth in 2021. Of course, this man – (who I have the delight of erasing), choose to not not mention or credit the “author” (no, dear, the editor, she collected an Anthology, she didn’t compose the whole fucking lot of it) in his own act of dumb rebellious erasure, dismissing her, as misogynists do, as “probably not all there..” Yawn. The crazy woman trope aka the woman you don’t understand or else disagree with just HAS to be insane in the membrane has been done to death. Dull. Dull. Dull. Dangerously dull.

So after his own petty uncomprehending dumbass act of erasure, what did we glean from his precis? Yeah, that he didn’t get it at all. Women are constantly erased from their work, their passions, even life itself by violent men and by rubbing out Ms. O’Hare from her editorial rights, he proved the damn point. Hey boys, you consistently erase women, you deserve a dose of your own medicine! In fact I am so delighted, I am off to my favorite bookstore to see if I can score a copy without giving cash to another man, the dubious Bezos.

After all, if we take a text and remove the men, remove the bricks and mortar of the patriarchy, if we remove Jack from Jack and Jill and have Jill and Jill taking a tumble down the hill together, and the men do not tend to like the means of their oppression over women, being subjected to the big black marker of oblivion.

How dare women get together, and just take men out of the equation, out of the sentence, how dare we say, ‘actually boys, we have had enough of the Judeo Christian we are to blame for fucking everything under the sun bullshit, and simply exist revolving around a sun made up solely of our own sisters. Oh we dare alright!’ Lesbians are being removed from society, simply redefined as just about damn well anyone who likes the word, including straight women, who incidentally, I have no problem with straight women deciding that men are a bit shit really, and choosing to come over to the more languid, safer side of sexuality, but I do mind when they happen to be in a physical relationship with a penis. Words have meaning! You know that pipe, the one that says it isn’t one in ugly swirling script? Yeah, that is a pipe, and to heck with post modernism.

Errr…sorry boys a pipe IS A PIPE

Where was I? Yes, here….women do not tend to hurt women, it is not a woman-thing (do not make me go fetch stats, I hate numbers, but if your patriarchial mind cannot comprehend this, google…you know I am right), nor do we tend to hurt anyone. Female crime is the crime of survival, of petty theft, prostitution and drug addiction, apart from a few aberrations, it is men who hurt, men who have the physical edge and the drive to destroy. It is men who punch and hit, and make nukes and kill kill kill pussycat, because they are too addled with testosterone to work out what else to do with their three score and ten.

Before you dismiss me as a man hater, which really doesn’t bother me, apart from the fact that it is a means to dismissing me without listening to me, hear me out! Some of my favorite people are men. I like male company. I have male friends, and listen to male-created music, and read male-written books, but sometimes the weight of feminine oppression by our male captors weighs heavy. Sometimes I do not want to listen, to read, to converse with a male psyche, I am overjoyed I have freed myself from the chore of having to pretend I enjoy sex with guys, finally able to say, hey boys, I am more than happy to talk, more than happy to enjoy the to and fro of intellectual conversation, you might even be considered a friend (looking right at ya, Ron, Luke and a couple of Brothers Campfire), or the apple of my eye, my joy and my comfort, my beautiful son who told me in no uncertain terms after I was horribly outed, that he loves me, that he is proud of me and that he gets it. You might be any number of these things, but if you are male you won’t ever get truly get why this book needs to exist

Which is partly why I write about my life, because it is so easy to dismiss women who don’t fit the mold, who don’t play by the rules, who have been crapped on from a great height by the patriarchy and its laws and systems and not allow them their gatherings, their collections, their anthologies, their party. This book is not for you, it is a message of hope for women, that we can dare to imagine a world where there is no patriarchy, no system of masculine oppression over women, where there is no female life ruined by male violence. We can fight back, we can erase instead of consistently being erased, we can say ‘to the University of Hell press with it! Publish and be damned!’

And from me…you can stick your fake relgi-o-so phoney uncomprehending piety and leave this woman to her own party: to dare to dream of a world where she does not have to kowtow to men.

I think I have my next poetic project…some erasure poetry! What it would be to be free!


  1. Ruth

    I think it feels bold because we so seldom say such things – indeed many women avoid even thinking such things. It’s both a relief to get it out there and a burden to acknowledge it.

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