Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Women’s poetry by the book

Women’s poetry by the book

She is Fierce
Henley Town Hall

LAST Thursday was National Poetry Day and so what better way to celebrate than to listen to and discuss poetry.

However, this wasn’t just any poetry, it was powerful poetry by women. Women not afraid to write about their fears, their struggles and their victories. It was not just a celebration of poetry but a celebration of what it is to be female.

Ana Sampson, the editor of She is Fierce, was shocked to find, after searching, that she could not purchase a book of poetry by women. As a result, she compiled her own, and so She is Fierce was born.

It contains poetry by women, across the centuries, including Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti, Emily Bronte, and Margaret Atwood. Ana describes it as an experience of living, not just a description of womanhood.

Two present-day poets included in the anthology are Nikita Gill, who read her poem 93 Percent Stardust, and Deborah Alma, who read her poem, I Am My Own Parent.

There is something so captivating about hearing poetry read, in any situation, but these two poets were fearless and their poetry brave.

The discussion, in just an hour, covered everything from the #MeToo movement to the importance of social media, the healing power of poetry and why women write.

They talked about having children, being childless, coping with trauma and writing in defiance. It was fascinating and empowering.

We are living in a healthy time for women’s poetry. It is being rediscovered, embraced and finding its way through social media and the younger generation. It is exciting for all of us.

Everyone experiences poetry differently, whether listening or writing, we react in our own way, with our own interpretations. For some it is an escape, for others a coping mechanism, a shelter or a release.

Thursday’s event was enlightening, and highlighted not only the wealth of women’s poetry, both past and present, but also the determination of women to be accepted and to be heard.

At the end, Ana read a poem by Kaylin Haught, God Says Yes to Me, and positivity rippled through the audience.

Ana said all the women in the anthology pushed the boundaries beyond expectations. This event did the same.

Laura Healy

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