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The Poetess’ Heart

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Together We Are More

Written by Tallulah Gray The Poetess Heart is a series of articles dedicated to women writers of poetry and their poetic explorations into girlhood, womanhood, and femininity. Now that we have begun the process of tearing down our own marble statues, let’s recognize and celebrate the women around us for who they are and they build us up. The Poetess As I scoured the internet for our next empowering poetess, Rupi Kaur appeared at the top of nearly every list. Kaur is well-known for her feminist poetry, inspiring women to self-awareness, and casting a spotlight on these ancient, shadowed marble heads. She picks up her pen with fervor and aims at critical angles to fracture the negative ideals with which we have been conditioned. This poem, however, from her book Milk and Honey, first destructs the impossible standards of our marble sculptures and then recontructs them as a more solid…

On Marble Heads

Written by Tallulah Gray The Poetess Heart is a series of articles dedicated to women writers of poetry and their poetic explorations into girlhood, womanhood, and femininity. The Poetess What’s the first image that conjures itself in your mind at the word Woman? What does she look like? What does she sound like? Is she adored by everyone? From a tender age, young women are taught by their parents and society what a “beautiful woman” is. As we grow, this image of the woman aesthetic is continually built, torn down, and remolded on both conscious and subconscious levels according to ever-changing trends mixed with ancient traditions. As I was reading a chapter on voice and style in The Poet’s Companion, authors Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux reference two poems by Lucille Clifton, “Homage to My Hips” and “The Women You are Accustomed To” in order to demonstrate the power of…

On Fatness and Shrinking

Written by Reese Leyva The Poetess Heart is a series of articles dedicated to women writers of poetry and their poetic explorations into girlhood, womanhood, and femininity. The Poetess I recently discovered Rachel Wiley’s work through Button Poetry and their release of her performance “The Fat Joke,” a piece modified from Wiley’s poem “Fat Joke” as published in her newest poetry collection, Nothing is Okay. Toward the beginning of the poem, Wiley writes, “Patient walks into the doctor’s office,” using an easily recognizable setup to a joke. She goes on to unleash an intimate and passionate exploration into the experience of being a person defined by his/her weight, so much so that being fat becomes more than a social detriment –  it’s a damning diagnosis. Being  “fat” means others see your body as the cause of all your suffering. It doesn’t matter whether  you’re dealing with a muscle ache or…

On Sovereignty

Written by Reese Leyva The Poetess Heart is a series of articles dedicated to women writers of poetry and their poetic explorations into girlhood, womanhood, and femininity. The Poetess For our inaugural post, I’ve chosen a poem by one of my favorite poets — Barbara Jane Reyes. Born in the Philippines and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she writes with unique and piercing cultural, historical, and geographical perspectives. One poem in particular, “To Be Walang Hiya,” published in The Poetry Foundation’s May 2014 Issue of Poetry, resonates with the deep, hidden, childhood heart inside me which remembers being called walang hiya, a common Filipino term that loosely translates to unconscionable, inconsiderate, shameless, rude, or selfish. At its core, walang hiya says, “you should be ashamed of yourself.” While the term may be foreign, the concept is familiar. Can we not all relate to the struggle of recovering from…