Every day up until our What Is Feminist Poetry? event we are collaborating on with Threads Equality Agency, we will be sharing a poem which exemplifies feminist poetry in one way or another – to celebrate these voices and start exploring the ideas and experiences they raise. Who writes feminist poetry? What is it about, and what kind of language does it use?
And remember – our event will include an open mic segment so please do bring along (or comment below!) any poetry you’ve written which you think explores or illustrates your experience of your gender, or poetry by anyone else (living, dead, celebrated, anonymous or otherwise) which you think deserves to be shared, discussed, or heard.
Feminist poetry does not shy away from female experiences. Even when it is heartbreaking or painful (physically or otherwise), traumatizing, or uncomfortable, poetry is a chance to share what it is like to experience harassment or menstruation or childbirth or misogyny or – in the case of this poem by Gwendolyn Brooks – abortion. Though it doesn’t take a straightforward for or against stance, the poem explores the hugely complicated emotional undertaking of such a decision, from the point of view of someone who has actually taken that decision. It has been called an anti-abortion poem, but it reads to me more as an agonizingly complex and non-judgemental portrayal of a woman undergoing this experience. There is unflinching honesty in poems like these which are not often voiced elsewhere and it can be painful to read – but unmistakably important that these feelings are recorded and truthfully expressed.