In honor of the current special theme for Gyroscope Review, “The Crone Issue”, let’s talk a bit about the theme. When we put out the call, we decided to limit it to an underserved section of the population, women and those that identify as women over the age of 50. It’s around that age that women really start to disappear in society. They are not valued any longer. Having outlived their usefulness as mothers or sexual objects, they are discarded and disregarded. From the heartfelt cover letters we are getting, it’s apparent older women are eager to have an opportunity to submit, and disappointed that this kind of opportunity doesn’t present itself more often. Older women need to be include, invited, and embraced.
Older women contain a wealth of wisdom. This is what we want to celebrate. Crone has been turned into a derogatory term. Let’s take it back. The dictionary defines a crone as ‘a cruel or ugly old woman’. The dictionary was not written by the enlightened. We prefer the more modern take, as identified in Wikipedia. “In New Age and feminist spiritual circles, a “Croning” is a ritual rite of passage into an era of wisdom, freedom, and personal power. Some feminist authors have defined the crone archetype in a positive light, as a powerful and wise old woman.”
By taking back the word Crone, women are recognizing the power, wisdom, and abilities of aging. We want work that celebrates the ideas of crone: wise woman, matriarch, post-menopause, grandmother, elders with strength and experience. Tell your story. Tell what has been digging at you the past 50 years. What are you not going to stand for anymore? What is your source of power and strength, be it quiet or fierce?
Women have a wealth of life experiences to share with others. Remain silent no longer.
Here is a poem that resonates with the theme of Crone.
by Marge Piercy
It happens in an instant.
My grandma used to say
someone is walking on your grave.
It’s that moment when your life
is suddenly strange to you
as someone else’s coat
you have slipped on at a party
by accident, and it is far
too big or too tight for you.
Your life feels awkward, ill
fitting. You remember why you
came into this kitchen, but you
feel you don’t belong here.
It scares you in a remote
numb way. You fear that you—
whatever you means, this mind,
this entity stuck into a name
like mercury dropped into water—
have lost the ability to enter your
self, a key that no longer works.
Perhaps you will be locked
out here forever peering in
at your body, if that self is really
what you are. If you are at all.
“Dislocation” by Marge Piercy from The Crooked Inheritance. © Alfred A. Knopf, 2006.
We hope your summer is going swimmingly. Ours just got better now that the work on our Summer Issue is complete. This issue makes us happy for a lot of reasons: great poets who share their work with us, a cover that showcases a white line print done by our very own Constance Brewer, and a nice new font to give us an updated look. The issue has a summer feel from start to finish, with poems that evoke the pleasures of the season: skinny dipping, filmy dresses, canoeing, gardening, travel. There are other topics addressed between summer moments, too, and we hope you get a copy of this issue as soon as possible so you can see for yourself. Pour yourself something cold to drink, take off your shoes, and settle into a nice hammock with our print edition. Or, if that’s not in the budget, you can find a PDF version on our Issues page on this site.
While you’re settled in your hammock, you might find a moment to consider whether you have any work of your own you would like to send out into the world. Are you a contemporary poet? Submissions for our Fall Issue are open July 1 – September 15, or until we have enough submissions to fill an issue. This is a new way for us to take submissions; once the issue is full, we will close submissions even if it’s not quite September 15 yet.
Why the change? We’ve seen an increase in submissions this year. Because we have a small staff, we have to be smart about how we manage to get everything read and evaluated in a fair, reasonable way. After a couple of reading periods that found us scrambling to get everything done at the close of submissions, we decided a change was needed. And this is it. So, get your submissions in early if you want a space in the fall issue and any issues after that.
There is one more bit of news about our Fall Issue. We decided to open a themed category alongside our regular submissions. The theme is The Crone. If that puts images in your head of an old witch stirring stuff in a cauldron, let us gently move that idea out of the way. Here’s what we are thinking: Women poets over the age of 50 are underrepresented in poetry publications. But they shouldn’t be; women over 50 have a breadth and depth of experience, knowledge, and wisdom to celebrate. So we want to hear from poets who identify as women and are over 50. We want you to shake things up, make us rethink your demographic, let us share your magnificence with the world. Same rules apply here for submissions; the category will close when the issue is full or on September 15, whichever comes first.
Happy submitting! But first, happy reading.