I am a Supportive Feminist

by Kali Nelson

red code for a computer that says end patriarchy.
A sign written in code.

My lipstick, I pick it out carefully every morning.

All the shades of red and pink remind me that

I am the decedent of warriors.

My mother was a warrior

And her mother before her.

They did not use lipstick to armor up.

They used a little pink ribbon.

But my lipstick is my armor.

Without it I feel naked, defenseless.

My feminism is a lot like my lipstick,

I sometimes water it down as to not offend.

From blood red to pastel pink

I know I shouldn’t but I do.

I am most offensive in my head.

Always set to my darkest red.

I do not control my thoughts in my head, but I censor myself when in crowds.

But do not think I do this for you. I do this for me,

Because I do not want to fight today

My feminism is ready to combat all the stereotypes.

Don’t tell me I cannot,

If you do, get ready to watch me do it.

Oh dad,

Thank you for telling me I could be whatever I wanted

You’ve raised an ambitious woman.

But did you have to say you think it’d take me five years to graduate?

Because now dad,

I have to do it in four. Continue reading “I am a Supportive Feminist”

Blood

By Kali Nelson

a pile of pads, liners, and tampons that are used during menstruation.
Feminine hygiene products.

The blood is thick and red

It reflects myself back at me in an angry red

It suddenly smells like a fish market on a hot day

I think my cheeks are as red as the blood on my underwear.

My stomach hurts, I think I may be dying. Continue reading “Blood”

The Broken American Dream

By Valeria Ramirez

Our skin does not reflect a statistic,

Nor does it mean that we need critics,

Our skin is what hard work looks like,

Hours in the burning sun where our backs are down into the fields alike,

Why can’t you see the hurt that you bring,

Thousands marched toward the same thing,

Our families came and sacrifice their way for a better life,

Instead, we’re treated with hate, malice, and strife,

Build walls is what the country needs,

Without us, no one will pick what you feed,

Continue reading “The Broken American Dream”

“What is a Woman” and Poetry for a Feminist World

         

Feminist AF.:
This is a drawing I found on Pinterest of a cartoon woman wearing a shirt that says “feminist AF”

 

         I discovered poetry when I was in the third grade. By that point I had already began creatively writing stories and I had discovered that I loved to sing as well. So when I first saw poetry, it seemed like a kind of song to me in writing, and from then on I loved it. I find poetry (and other writing) to be an amazing way to express yourself, to let the world know what you think they should. To enlighten or brighten people’s life. To me, poetry is the most beautiful form of getting your ideas out of your head, along with music (which is basically people singing poetry). Continue reading ““What is a Woman” and Poetry for a Feminist World”

A White Girl’s Journey Through Black History Month

Watercolor style image of the silhouette of an African American woman
Watercolor of an African American woman

By Kali Nelson

It’s Black History Month and I couldn’t figure out what exactly to write about that could do this month justice. I knew that I should acknowledge this momentous event, but how eluded me. I spent a better portion of the month unsure, there were so many things I could write about. I could write about #BlackLivesMatter, or how racism affects pregnancy, or black feminists we’ve forgotten about. I had so many options to choose from, it overwhelmed me. So I started to read. I read Roxanne Gay’s book, “Bad Feminist.” I watched a documentary on Audre Lorde and I read her poetry. I read Maya Angelou, I googled “black feminist.” I sat and thought about what I, a white, middle-class woman, could bring to the table on this topic.

I figured I couldn’t bring much, to be honest.

Then I read a poem Maya Angelou wrote called On Working White Liberals, and it hit me. I’d write about this, this is what white people need to read. Angelou is telling White people what we can do to help them with this battle. To me, it said that she doesn’t want us to fight it for them but to follow the Black man.  This poem was published in Maya Angelou’s Poems in 1981.

Continue reading “A White Girl’s Journey Through Black History Month”

3 Poems

By Emily Alexander 

blogpoems
Drawing of different people standing close to each other.

I have been struggling to figure out what to say about the election, and what kind of post I wanted to write for this week. There is so much hurt right now. I am one of the lucky ones, whose circumstances have put me in a place of relative privilege that allows me to search for and find love. So mostly I want to listen. For this post, I decided to share three of my poems; the first two are about the most important women in my life, and the last is a love poem. I am hoping that I am lucky enough to have this little bit of light, and to give it.
Continue reading “3 Poems”

An Evening of Other Marvels: Kathryn Nuernberger, Laura Read, and Maya Zeller Read at Bookpeople

By Emily Alexander

bookpeople

On Friday night at Bookpeople, I saw Kathryn Nuernberger, Laura Read, and Maya Zeller participate in a reading called “Taxidermy Mermaids, the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary, and Other Marvels.” The reading was smart, funny, and genuine. Each poet had a wide range of subject matter and themes, all of which tended to circle around femininity and womanhood, but in very different ways. Continue reading “An Evening of Other Marvels: Kathryn Nuernberger, Laura Read, and Maya Zeller Read at Bookpeople”

Writing into the Void

By Emily Alexander

rich.PNG
A notated Adrienne Rich book.

I’m taking a class on Women and Poetry, and while it is by far my favorite class, it’s also made me feel like a bit of a failure in terms of both poetry and feminism.

I’ve been working on an essay analyzing June Jordan’s poem, “Case in Point,” while also reading Sylvia Plath’s Ariel; both poets were highly influential in making a name for women’s poetry. Their confessional styles were often mocked and not taken seriously, but these are the poems that got them noticed, and more importantly, got them noticed as three-dimensional, subjective human beings. Their poetry allowed all women to step out of the univocal space they had been given, and into their multitudes.

Continue reading “Writing into the Void”

Three Poems

By Canese Jarboe

18509989254_40f4f50345_c
“Untitled” by Sarah Mittermaier


Ars Poetica (scavenge)

A female alligator snapping turtle will collect sperm
it over several seasons. You know when the time is right.
I carry you by your carapace and push you past aluminum threshold
to truck bed. You crawled all night
to lay your eggs in the icebox of the ditch at sun-
up. I recall they found one of you down in Alma with a musket ball
embedded in their shell—saw men running
and gutted by bayonetlight, muzzle-raw. I scrawl
my name into your belly with a pocketknife, a sigil to bind you here.
I will eat your heart to make me brave. You are full of snake,
crawdad, filaments of hair.
If I cut off your head, your body should live for nine more days.
Your eggs are soft and warm in the hole you’ve dug. I swallow
them one by one hoping to feel them hatch in my hollow.

Continue reading “Three Poems”

Poetic Offense

Rebecca Johnson

What would you do if your government told you that your passion was corruptible? That pursuing what you wish was your freedom would eventually lead you to a life of loneliness, condemned from your own society?

For many Afghan women, this obstruction of law comes in the form of words strung together to create poetry.

Afghanistan is in line for a new presidential election, and it brings forth many crucial questions about the rights of women and whether they will be protected by possible new reforms. Afghan women have fought fiercely for their rights since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001. According  to the Feminist Majority Foundation, actions that were enforced during the Taliban’s strict regime included:

  • Women banished from the work force
  • Women and girls banned and expelled from universities
  • Women prohibited from leaving their homes unless accompanied by a close male relative
  • Women’s houses ordered to have publicly visible windows painted black, and women forced to wear the burqa (or chadari) – which completely shrouds the body, leaving only a small mesh-covered opening through which to see
  • Women and girls prohibited from being examined by male physicians, while at the same time female doctors and nurses prohibited from working

Women were sorely mistreated, beaten in public, stripped of any individual freedom of expression and threatened with death if they did not comply with the extreme dictatorship.

After the Taliban rule ended, women began to gain more independence and rights as citizens. Thirty-eight percent of the women returned to work, 35 percent of the school children are now girls, and universities are again open to women. One of the more interesting rights women gained in this reform was the right to compose and recite poetry. Continue reading “Poetic Offense”