The Genealogy of Maiden Names is a feminist poetic investigation into and deconstruction of the androcentrism inherent in the practice of genealogy. Genealogy systematically erases women’s narratives from the historical record at the level of the family. Through its erasure of the maternal name, the patrinomial organization of genealogies privileges men as the embodiment of relational narrative. The story of a family is told through the transfer of its name from father to son, and this sequence of entitlement and inheritance is what traditionally defines a family beyond the scope of memory and oral history. Drawing on a number of theoretical and poetic practices, such as homophonic procedures, psychogeographic techniques and decentred treatments of
voice, this exploration reconsiders what it means to inherit, to name, to remember, and to be remembered, through an examination of three women whose familial histories and legacies occupy spaces outside of the standard genealogical frame.