“She moved easily between projecting images of the ‘Goddess’ and the ‘femme fatale,'” one of my interviewees told me; another spoke of Kizer as a “fertility goddess.” A letter, addressed to “The White Goddess at Chapel Hill” was neatly delivered to Kizer. And then there was this stunning white snow goddess that Kizer made with her children in the late 1950s–to the anger of her conservative Seattle neigborhood:
My former title of this blog, “Carolyn Kizer: White Goddess” sparked indignation, too: my labelling her a White Goddess might, according to some, inadvertently link Kizer to white supremacism, while Kizer as the White Goddess was “a white guys’ fantasy” to boot. But others talked of Kizer as “being the White Goddess, utterly free.” I think it is wonderful that, even after her death, Kizer calls up so many strong emotions. Or did I call up these emotions by using that “White Goddess” title? Fine with me, too. For now, though, because of the omnipre[si]dent racist and misogynist political atmosphere in America, I have decided to change my subtitle to Queen Bee, which is how Kizer described herself in an early, uncollected poem, “Apis Americanus,” which ends:
” Sometimes with irritation, yet pleased to see
All bow to my supreme nonentity
Rank is important here . . . and I the queen, queen bee.”
More on Kizer as the Queen Bee next time.