Thursday 8 March 2018

#MeToo - A Woman's Poetry Anthology edited by Deborah Alma @emergencypoet @fairacrepress #InternationalWomensDay

This book came straight out of a long thread on Deborah Alma's Facebook page in October 2017. Something was released and given a space within social media.  Many women felt emboldened by this to share more difficult stories, more details. As a poet, and an editor, it felt natural to Deborah to collect these stories somehow and it was obvious to collect them as poems. 

This collection contains mainly previously unpublished work from 80 of our finest poets:Jill Abram, Vasiliki Albedo, Deborah Alma, Jean Atkin, Roberta Beary, Victoria Bennett, Kaddy Benyon, Ama Bolton, Jhilmil Breckenridge, Rachel Buchanan, Jane Burn, Rachel Burns, Cath Campbell, Louisa Campbell, Zelda Chappel, Rachael Clyne, Jane Commane, Meg Cox, Sarah Doyle, Pat Edwards, Alicia Fernández, Rona Fitzgerald, Kate Garrett, Kathy Gee, Georgi Gill, Roz Goddard, Linda Goulden, Vicky Hampton, Sue Hardy-Dawson, Deborah Harvey, Ramona Herdman, AM Hill, Clare Hill, Angi Holden, Rhiannon Hooson, Helen Ivory, Sheila Jacob, Sally Jenkinson, Jemima Laing, Gill Lambert, Dorianne Laux, Claire Leavey, Emma Lee, Liz Lefroy, Pippa Little, Mandy Macdonald, Maggie Mackay, Holly Magill, Sabrina Mahfouz, Sarah Miles, Sarah Mnatzaganian, Kim Moore, Abegail Morley, Helen Mort, Katrina Naomi, Lisa Oliver, Michelle Penn, Pascale Petit, Bethany W Pope, clare e potter, Wendy Pratt, Lesley Quayle, Kathleen M. Quinlan, Amy Rainbow, Natalie Rees, Jess Richards, Victoria Richards, Bethany Rivers, Rosie Sandler, Jacqueline Saphra, Elisabeth Sennitt Clough, Emily Sernaker, Emma Simon, Beth Somerford, Ruth Stacey, Judi Sutherland, Angela Topping, Cathy Whittaker, Natalie Whittaker, Stella Wulf.

#MeToo - A Women's Poetry Anthology is edited by Deborah Alma and published by Fair Acre Press today, 8 March 2018; International Women's Day. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

So first, I have to raise my hands and say that I am no poetry expert. I often struggle to understand what is being said through poems. However, I was determined to read this anthology, not least as it contains a contribution from a friend of mine; Angi Holden, but also because the aim of this collection is to rally against sexual assault and harassment.

I feel as though I owe it to the authors of these poems, to read them, to ponder and to make what I can of them. And I did, and I have, and I've been incredibly moved by the words that I've read. I've also been angered and at times I felt hopeful.

#MeToo is made up of a poems in varying styles, and lengths, but each one has a strong and striking message, and the anthology is split into seven parts:

  • Part One : 'silly lasses'
  • Part Two: 'my ordinary walk home'
  • Part Three: 'I see myself lie quiet as snow on rail tracks'
  • Part Four: 'Domestic'
  • Part Five: 'They can't help it'
  • Part Six: ''I said I was the proof'
  • Part Seven: 'make for the light'
Each of these chapter headings tell a story of their own, and the phrases littered throughout the collection such as: "It's just a game";  "What d'you expect, silly lasses ...";  "She never told anyone." are a reinforcement of the stories related by thousands of women over the last few months.

This is an important book, a proper call to arms, and should be an essential read, in schools, by both girls and boys. It's a slice of history, a true representation of what is happening in our world today. 

I am not a writer, and certainly not a poet, but I am a woman. A woman who is constantly outraged and alarmed by the things that have been exposed, and are continuing to be shared every single day. My words do not do this book any justice, but I hope that they are enough to make people go out and discover it for themselves.

Deborah Alma has an MA in Creative Writing, is Honorary Research Fellow at Keele University and is the Emergency Poet in her vintage ambulance.
She is editor of Emergency Poet - an anti-stress poetry anthology and The Everyday Poet - Poems to live by (both published by Michael O'Mara). Her True Tales of the Countryside is published by The Emma Press (2016). Her first full collection Dirty Laundry (May 2018) is published by Nine Arches Press.

She has worked using poetry with people in hospice care and in care homes, with vulnerable women's groups, and with children and taught Writing Poetry at Worcester University.
She lives with the poet James Sheard on a hillside in Montgomeryshire

Twitter @emergencypoet

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