Does gender matter?

You may kindly correct any mistakes I may have made - I am sure some articles are missing there or there are some extra articles, as usually... You better send me a message, if you want to help me in "polishing" this text, which is going to be a presentation at a meeting in this autumn.

I got in touch with the poetry by reading Federico García Lorca, one of the biggest modern Spanish poets. His poems were full of colourful images, moons, blood, guitars: symbols of romantic poetry since the first romantists, Wordsworth and Coleridge. Lorca´s poems are full of big sentiments, mostly of love and death, that he takes to the other extreme. And yes – the poet is male, not female! And he has lived almost hundred years ago.

What Lorca – and several other male poets, after and before him – showed, was that writing
poetry full of big sentiments is completely possible, regardless of one´s gender. You do not have to be a female poet in order to write heart-breaking, sentimental verses. On the other hand, you can be female and write large, allegorical and even apocalyptical verses about the world, or its presentations, that surround us. Like the other poet I read after Lorca, T.S.Eliot, who skillfully analyzed in The Waste Land the psychopathology of the contemporary western world, which was going through hard times, war and transition towards a complete consumer society. I was affected at the same time by the more subtler verses of Lorca and the vaste, apocalyptic visions of Eliot. That was not a bad influence for a young child, aged twelve. I did not understand nor recognize all the intertextual references Eliot was going through in his masterwork, but I was merely convinced by the actuality of his critique of contemporary society. It seemed to apply to
Finland in the beginning of the 80´s, when we lived starting of the big hype boom.

As quite normally upbrought child, I started to write a bit childish verses that were full of the feelings of nature and love. I slowly tried to move towards vaster verses that took into account also the society that surrounded us. Mostly I tried to put forward a more human world, where there would be no mishandlings and –doings, where everybody would get what they deserve. In other words, I naively believed in the world where good people are being rewarded and bad people condemned to hell, an unreal world, that is. We know that world is not constructed like that, unfortunately. It has proved many times in our contemporary world, that it is more rewarding to be a bad rather than a good one, so far. Maybe Mr. Putin has become one of the greatest examples of wrong-doers, who have began to serve the evil, in order to maintain the peace and order in his country, no matter what the cost.

Few years later on, after mingling with poetry and literature in general, I became fascinated especially by the dissident thinkers in societies like Soviet Union, where dissidentism had a natural social order. Andrei Sacharov with his pacifist thoughts and support for anti-nuclear world where there would not exist big super-powers but only peaceful state powers, that would kindly support each other, if needed, interested me especially. It striked to me, that there still were people like Sacharov. I desperately wanted to be like him, someone who defends only the right and good causes. Now I have reached that phase of my life, when I can say to follow the heritage of Sacharov and other human rights fighters. They had a good cause, but so do I too. I fight for the writers right for freedom of expression. Thus I fight in the end for human rights. I write mostly with my pen, I let the others go to barricades, but in my mind I support them, if they are doing for the right thing.

As you can see, my role models during the sensitive teenage years, in writing as well as in real life, have always been more men than women. I never searched for them consciously, they just happened to come across my way, like life usually happens. Maybe due to these early influences my current verses have become somewhat genderless: they lack the clear characteristics of the feminine verses. They are not rose-coloured verses that see the current world only as the place of love and happiness. They rather paint quite black picture of the era we are living in.

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