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Forum is an ongoing discussion site focussed on one particular question per issue proposed by revolving guest editor/s who will conceive of the question and invite specific respondees as well as selecting from reader responses. Other readers are invited to reply with their written views of the announced FORUM question; those views will be considered for publication in this section and may be e-mailed to the FORUM editor. FORUM remarks will, in most cases, be excerpted if included and will be chosen with an eye for introducing new points-of-view that have not yet been expressed. This issue's editors are Mytili Jagannathan and Elisabeth Joyce <> and <>.

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Taking risks in critical writing often seems impermissible for those of us seeking jobs, tenure, promotion, and most telling, publication. At the same time, many of us are fascinated by more experimental forms of expression and desire to participate in critical writing that is more riveting, evocative, and boldly playful, making use of innovations that are not only permitted but often valorized in the poetry that we, as critics and readers, discuss. Given the extreme pressures to publish in academia, most writers in academic contexts feel compelled to conform to certain styles of writing, with their attention focused especially on the audience of reviewers who ultimately determine whether or not an article is eligible for publication in "juried" and traditionally targeted print journals.

What are the risks and rewards of carrying the innovative project over into our forms of critical discourse? We are interested particularly in how this dilemma is experienced and negotiated by women in various stages of their professional and writing lives. What are the models of critical style available to us? Do women feel pressure to conform to certain styles in order to survive in this profession? If they do not, what makes it possible for them to write in another way? Is audience the determining factor for their style, and if so, how do they envision this audience? Is inclusion of the personal a taboo, an innovation, or has it been worn out by overuse? And, as importantly, how has the proliferation of online publications changed assumptions about public intellectual exchange, and transformed the parameters for critical dialogue?

BIO: Mytili Jagannathan holds an M.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania, and currently works for the Asian Arts Initiative, a community arts organization in Philadelphia. Her poems have recently appeared in Interlope, Combo, Salt, and Xcp: Cross-Cultural Poetics.
BIO: Elisabeth Joyce is an assistant professor at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Her Cultural Critique and Abstraction: Marianne Moore and the Avant-garde appeared from Bucknell University Press in 1998. She is currently working on relations between image and text.

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Mary Baine Campbell

Erika Renée Williams

Sara Lundquist

Elizabeth Treadwell

Deborah M. Mix

Cynthia Davidson

Rachel Blau DuPlessis

Linda A. Kinnahan

Jen Hofer



During the act of writing...

...what, if anything, oppresses you? Do you perceive the oppressors to be mainly personal, social, historical, aesthetic, or other? Do they take human form or are the ideational? What do you do to overcome that oppression? How completely do you feel you overcome it? How do you imagine your writing might be different if you overcame it completely? you notice yourself being reactive? What are you, in recent writing instances, reacting to or against -- experience? other writers? social conditions? emotional states? language? or other?

Send contributions/responses to Guest editor: Nada Gordon <>


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