Obiya Jolly_ 1537245-“Lady Writes the Blues. Call and Response in the Poetry of Afro-American Women”


Hopewell, Kathy. “Lady Writes the Blues. Call and Response in the Poetry of Afro-American Women.” Equal Opportunities International 19.2-4 (2000): 93-102. ProQuest Central. Web. 20 June 2016.


Argument: The article juxtaposes the representation of women in blues genre of music with the poetic imagination of African American in 20th century. The article is centered on the argument that “the figure of the blueswoman in the ‘classic’ era of the blues (the 1920s) is perhaps the major inspiration behind the black women’s poetic tradition in the latter half of this century” (Hopewell, 93).

Supporting points: 1) The classical blues were mostly performed by women performers. Hopewell cites the example of Ma Rainey, a blueswoman performer, who addressed Black sensibilities. According to Hopewell, Ma Rainey’s poems dealt with “the plight of sharecroppers and poor Southern blacks and the pain of sexual betrayal and mistreatment.” (97)

2) An artist named Bessie Smith “embodied the sensual power of the black woman” in her lyrics (98).

3) During the Black Arts Movement in the 1970s, poets such as Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni and Carolyn Rodgers, continued to amplify the themes of “black women’s oppression, addiction and violence” (98).

4) The lyrics of the classical blues and the black women’s poetry that emerged in the latter part of the century focused on the proud female figure with her strong sensuality and bodily presence.

Limitations of the Article: Besides the lack of organization within the article, it supports the central argument with examples from both blues genre and women’s poetry. The analysis could be more elaborate.

Connection to the current research: The article briefly mentions the thematic trends of African American women’s poetry in the late 20th century. Poets such as Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez are of primary focus for the proposed research as of now. A glimpse into some of the poems of these poets has been provided in the article. This article could be one of the starting points to further research into the thematic study of African American women’s poetry.



Obiya Jolly-Reading the Body/ Writing the Body: Constructions of the Female Body in the Work of Latin American Women Writers.


Fitts, Alexandra. Reading the Body/ Writing the Body: Constructions of the Female Body in the     Work of Latin American Women Writers. Diss. Duke U, 1995. Ann Arbor: UMI    Microform, 1995. ProQuest. Web. 15 June 2016.


The proposed research attempts to examine body as a site of discourse in the poetry by African American women writers following the theoretical frameworks of Écriture féminine. This dissertation article is chosen to be included towards the secondary reading of the proposed research as the article provides an extensive theoretical understanding the framework that could be employed in the proposed research. Hence only the selected portion of the dissertation was read towards understanding the theoretical framework.

This dissertation by Alexandra Fitts analyses the construction of female body in selected Latin American women writers. The research presented dates back two more than two decades. Hence, the research findings and the researcher’s argument are not at the primary focus of this reading. From the selected reading of the article, the proposed research could draw an understanding of the ways to address the counter arguments and questions of applicability of Écriture féminine in contexts other than French. Since the proposed research attempts to read African American Women’s poetry under the light of Écriture féminine, this reading could be considered a future reference, if required, to incorporate the context specificities of employing a foreign theoretical framework to analyze a country’s literature.

Obiya Jolly_Gender Studies

Writing the Body : Toward and Understanding of “L’Ecriture Feminine”

Jones, Ann Rosalind. “Writing the Body: Toward an Understanding of “L’Ecriture Feminine”” Feminist Studies.Inc 7.2 (1981): 247-63. Web. 07 June 2016.

Ann Rosalind Jones explores L’Ecriture Feminine through the perspectives of Luce Irigaray, Helene Cixous and Julia Kristeva. L’Ecriture Feminine (Writing the Body) considers the female body as the source and topic of female writing, which thus creates a counter discourse to the unequal power relations in a phallogocentric world. Jones observes why this idea is problematic.
As Psychoanalysts observe, sexuality is not an innate quality, but a learnt behaviour from the individual’s encounters with the symbolic systems of one’s culture. new discourse”(258).
In conlusion, Jones observes that there is no universal version of L’Ecriture Feminine. Women writing should be examined for their liberatory potentials within the contexts from where they are produced.

Relevance to the proposed research: The exploratory article dismantles the universalising notion of L’Ecriture Feminine. This offers the key to critically analyze the theoretical framework that I propose to be employed in my research. The proposed research need to be contextually sensitive and be open to differeing experiences of female body and sexuality for the primary texts that I intend to choose.