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.

Our event is TOMORROW! Get yer tickets now to avoid disappointment on the door. This also means we have only two more feminist poems to share with you in our feminist poetry advent calendar. But they’re both good’uns.

This penultimate feminist poem is by our very own Serena Arthur who will be one of our performers tomorrow night. Serena (http://www.libraryofbirmingham.com/ypl-serenaarthur) is a second year English student at Mansfield College, Oxford. From the ages of 16 to 18 she held the title of Birmingham’s Young Poet Laureate 2014 – 16 and, both during and after this period, has performed

in many venues, including Birmingham Town Hall, Writing West Midlands’ Birmingham Literature Festival, London School of Economics and lots and lots of schools. Serena even read on Barbados television in 2015 and is looking forward to performing more in Oxford. Here’s one of her powerful and truthful pieces exploring themes which have come up before in this feminist poetry rundown – ownership of your own body, self-perception, self-respect, and finding strength. Here’s “Greenhouse”:

 

There doesn’t seem to be

A mid-point in our society

Between was

And could have been

A focus on the negatives

That cancels out the positives

Subtracts our sense of self worth

And multiplies our doubt

And leaves us all wondering

What life is all about

We live a society

Where x equals perfection

And any kind of difference

or dissymmetry

Fails to fit into the equation

Where we are ashamed

Of our own bodies

Of our own bodies

 

Both the parts that we can cover

And edit and makeover and change

And the parts that whatever we do

Will always be the same

When we hate that our

Bodies that don’t fit the prototype

 

Of those we see on TV

 

Or in the papers or in the magazines

For when x equals perfection

We are unable to work out why

 

We look like we do

 

Why we don’t look

 

Like they do

 

It’s hard to realise

That even the new generations

Are following in our footsteps

Not towards acceptance

But towards unneeded operations

It’s hard to realise

 

They need a popstar to tell them

 

That nobody’s perfect

 

And a group of scantily clad singers

To tell them that they’re worth it

We need to spread the message

That we should already know

That are bodies aren’t a battleground

But a place where we can grow

We need to let poppies bloom in our pores

 

Let our bodies be a paradise

 

A sanctuary

A greenhouse for

Self appreciation

And self respect

Remove the magnifying glass

from our imperfections

And let our bodies rest

In peace

Just as beautiful now as

They have

 

Always been

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