‘Listen, bitch’, he says. ‘Listen, bitch’. That’s what they all say. And we have been.
Poet Melinda Smith and artist Caren Florance are back with another excursion into the linguistic and visual pleasures of found text, a joint practice which brought us 2017’s Members Only. With this book, Listen, bitch, they turn their attention to misogynist language, working with a corpus of several decades’ worth of statements by powerful Australian public figures (and other blokes with big platforms). By listening very closely to the snarlings of what Kate Manne calls the law enforcement branch of the patriarchy, these poems attempt to map the lines women are still not supposed to cross in contemporary Australia, and to document the consequences suffered when they do. The results are sometimes harrowing, sometimes ridiculous, and always thought-provoking.