ARTEMISpoetry, Second Light Network of Women Poets, Poetry Communities

Please read my Disclosure HERE, particularly paragraphs four and five.

The Greek Goddess Artemis, call Diana by the Romans
The Greek Goddess Artemis, called Diana by the Romans

The mailbox is the most fun when it delivers literary delights: Poetry magazine, The Paris Review, The Hudson Review and a few others including ARTEMISpoetry, one that you may not have read much about except possibly in reading this blog over the years.

ARTEMIS, the well-chosen namesake of the magazine, is she of the hunt, of nature and birth. She is the moon goddess.

Artemis is an archetype for independence, courage, strength and confidence. Depicted with bow and arrow, she is a free spirit, both huntress and protector of wild animals. Not unlike Artemis are the free-spirited women poets who have the strength and courage, the independence and confidence, to shoot poetic arrows of intuition and insight. Speaking their hearts, they stir the wildness in our souls.

Among the many things that I like about ARTEMISpoetry is the idea behind the organization that birthed and publishes it, Second Light Network. Second Light was founded by English poet Dilys Wood as a movement to encourage and acknowledge a “second” start for older women who, without the responsibilities of their younger days, now have the time to devote to the craft of poetry. It gives women who were once almost invisible in the world of poetry …

        • a welcoming community of poets,
        • events at which to gather, learn and celebrate,
        • and a chance for professional publication of their work in their distinctly feminine voice in its magazine ARTEMISpoetry , on Second Light’s website and in its anthologies.

“The inspiration for Second Light was that vibrant, exciting work is absolutely not sex or age-related. Probably all serious editors and organisers know this, but some number-crunchers are obsessed with youth, trendiness, or any kind of gimic. There may be reverence for famous older poets, but the pattern of women’s lives may mean that a woman may be a ‘new poet’, just starting to publish, at any time up to old age.” Dilys Wood HERE in an article on this blog

English poet and Second Light Network Founder, Dilys Wood
English poet and Second Light Network Founder, Dilys Wood

Dilys Wood founded Second Light Network in 1994, which predates the birth in the late 90s of blogging and subsequently of social networking with their easy means to form communities of like interest. Blogs and other social networking technologies had to wait until the development of web publishing tools that facilitated online content publication by non-technical users. Through the gift of blogging we observe that there are many people of both genders that come home to their art – poetry or other arts – late in life, a second chance.

Blogging, however rewarding, doesn’t preclude off-line activities. Second Light Network is open to women all over the world, but is mainly active in England where it was founded and where the bulk of its members appear to reside. I’m guessing women in other countries would be welcome to start chapters, though you’d have to check with Second Light on that. I would start one here if I weren’t often home-bound and undependable due disability. Though my own poetry community is now largely an online adventure, I encourage other poets, women and men, to complement their online creative communities with off-line communities.

A reader of The Bardo Group blog who wishes to remain anonymous had this to say about such creative collectives:

“Prior creative and intellectual movements benefited greatly from geographic proximity. It wasn’t enough to be part of community, but that the community shared and debated some essential values and were in constant contact. The idea is that fervency, serendipity and discovery arise out of actual physical proximity.

“This is why artists still flock to cities. Despite the Internet, we still go to Mecca.

“Connecting technologies have always strengthened the bonds between people with like-minded interests (letter-writing, magazine letter columns, BBS, chatrooms, message boards, social networking, etc), fostering community. But, in the last 40 years, I haven’t seen technology yet truly replicate the creative synergy that occurs with physical proximity.”

1815_coversI find Second Light Network’s magazine, ARTEMISpoety, a welcome and refreshing read. While many of the poets included are fairly well know, the bulk of the work is by talented lesser-knows. I never have the feeling – as I do for example with American Poetry Review (APR) – that the work is largely (if not exclusively) about big names posturing for critics and marketing their classes and expensive university creative writing programs. Books are marketed through ARTEMISpoetry, but that’s fair, I think.

In addition to a wealth of poems and a dollop of original artwork, there is always an excellent interview or two. In the most recent issue (November 2013) Gillian Allnutt  was interviewed by Ruth O’Callaghan in a feature, Among the Already Occluded Worlds. There are thought provoking essays, like the one by Myra Schneider, published HERE as a post. There’s instruction on writing and the writing process. In the November 2013 issue Jill Eulalie Dawson showed the evolution of her poem Owl, a good lesson for those who don’t know what to do with their first draft or wonder how other people move through the development of a poem.

I find much to admire in the enterprise of the ladies of Second Light and much to value in their magazine and in their support of other women poets.  The ideals are real.

© 2014, essay, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; Photo credits ~ Artemis, in the public domain; Dilys, © Dilys Wood, All rights reserved; magazine covers © Second Light Network/ARTEMISpoetry, All rights reserved