Wom-Po Twentieth Anniversary Panel at Poetry by the Sea, May 2018
The Twentieth Anniversary of WOM-PO was marked on May 22, 2018 with a panel at the Poetry by the Sea conference (directed by Wom-Po Kim Bridgford). Moderated by list facilitator Amy King, the panel included Barbara Crooker, Annie Finch (list founder) and Allison Joseph, with many wom-pos also in the audience, as shown in the photo.
From Annie Finch’s Report on the Panel
Overall, it was a wonderful occasion combining recognition of where Wom-Po has been with lots of good energy and ideas to move forward. Here are some highlights that I took away from the discussion:
- The listserv still serves a valuable function even in the age of social media, and it’s time to educate younger people about its merits as a protected space where discussions can be kept for later, and where community is deeper and discourse more respectful and thoughtful than it is elsewhere.
- White womponies need to take the lead in addressing inclusiveness and intersectionality on the listserv through an active process of reaching out — being supportive of diversity when it happens is not enough–and white womponies can and should also go ahead and initiate conversations about race and inclusivity, rather than assuming that such discussion belongs only to members of color.
- An idea for organizing regional, in-person wompo groups through the website was formed, so we can get to know each other in person and reach out to poets in our own areas who might like to join.
- It was great to hear the role the listserv has played in members’ lives: it offers supportive literary networks, fosters projects including anthologies, panels, and workshops; supports those who are geographically isolated, as Barbara Crooker described; and provides a rich resource of information.