The Wardrobe's Best Dressed: Soul Sister Revue: A Poetry Compilation by Cynthia Manick

Rachel Eliza Griffiths
CHOSEN FAMILY

When you find your people you’ll still look over your shoulder sometimes
to see if you’re being followed. You’re hoping one or two people you don’t
know will want to see where you’re going. When you find your people
they won’t ask you where you came from because they’ll already know
& if they don’t they’ll be busy putting good food on your plate & asking you
if you’re hungry or broke. When you find your people they’ll tell you
to use any bathroom you want, marry anybody you want, work side-by-side
together for long hours in close quarters without any fear of being harmed.
When you find your people they’ll throw the ball to you, offer you
their love song & say you need to listen to this track & dance with us
whether or not you know all the steps. When you find your people
they’ll say Do You Remember & you’ll say Yes until you remember together
the different ways the whole thing happened. When you find your people
they’ll say wear whatever you want, wear the tightest dress, wear the hot pants,
wear your birthday suit. They’ll say we love your skin & drag & natural hair
& we love you naturally so please just live & don’t let anybody kill you
or tell you they’ve killed you & you’re just fine the dead way you are. When you
find your people don’t leave them & don’t let them off the hook when they are
in the wrong. When they are trying to take themselves out of the world
lay your hands on them & call them yours & yours & yours.
When you find your people be sure you’ve been preparing your heart
the entire way by loving your difficult self & what you pretend you don’t know
but you do so that when you see them smiling into your eyes, the soft
or tough flags of their hands covering yours in a truth so light & fierce you see
you all have been midair for some time & could go higher & burn some shit up
if you remembered what else is good everywhere
& everywhere you look.

This selection comes from the book, Soul Sister Revue: A Poetry Compilation, available from Jamii Publishing.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Cynthia Manick is the author of Blue Hallelujahs (Black Lawrence Press) and editor of Soul Sister Revue: A Poetry Compilation (Jamii Publishing, 2019). She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, MacDowell Colony, and Château de la Napoule among others. Winner of the Lascaux Prize in Collected Poetry, Manick was awarded Honorable Mention for the 2019 Furious Flower Poetry Prize. She is Founder of the reading series Soul Sister Revue; and her poem “Things I Carry Into the World” was made into a film by Motionpoems, an organization dedicated to video poetry, and has debuted on Tidal for National Poetry Month. A performer at literary festivals, libraries, universities, and most recently the Brooklyn Museum, Manick’s work has appeared in the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day Series, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. She currently serves on the Editorial Board of Alice James Books. Jamii Publishing can be reached via Twitter at https://twitter.com/jamiipub

Rachel Eliza Griffiths is an artist. Her most recent collection of poetry is Lighting the Shadow (Four Way Books, 2015). Griffiths’ work has appeared widely, including The New Yorker, Virginia
Quarterly Review, The Progressive, Gulf Coast, Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica, Lit
Hub, Buzzfeed, American Poetry Review, BAX: Best American Experimental Writing (2016),
and many others. She is a recipient of numerous fellowships including Kimbilio,
Cave Canem Foundation, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Provincetown Fine
Art Work Center, Millay Colony, and Yaddo. She lives in New York City.

Nilsa Rivera writes about gender and diversity issues. She’s also the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications. Nilsa’s work appeared in the Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, and Selkie Literary Magazine. She lives in Riverview, Florida with her husband, son, and other multi-species family members.

 
 

The Wardrobe's Best Dressed: Soul Sister Revue: A Poetry Compilation by Cynthia Manick

Keisha-Gaye Anderson
T O M Y S I S T E R S


Be fabulous
I mean,
stand up and say
I am
without words
know that
you are moonlight
pushing aside the night
a hearth warming
chests into a wave of motion
when grief slowly siphons breath
No need to scream about
what is not
or lament
the crazy
of they —
the oldest tale of
hungry chasing its tail
We are older,
before all that
buying and selling
Reluctant or not,
we are
creators of culture
purveyors of cool
distilled diamonds
ditching the dirt
of a thousand long marches
through manacles
cane and cotton
assembly lines
back doors only
first-name nannies
wet nurses whose own kids
rocked with rickets
medical guinea pigs
men who are always boys
who are made the blame
for a leaky economy
built like a sieve
in seismic ground
We been around long enough
to know
that no man
put salt in the ocean
that Nat Turner
was speaking to God himself
as himself
and then made those two selves
agree to proceed
with an overdue lesson
We are to lead
even reluctantly
because
time breathes in
and out
on a scale the mind
can’t measure
but which the soul sees
and plots a journey
of light
sound
color
vibration
a path up and out for those
trapped inside the smallness
of things
a gracious door of salvation
out of ignorance
Don’t spend time
trying to convince me
or her or them
you’re fabulous
just BE
what you already
are

This selection comes from the book, Soul Sister Revue: A Poetry Compilation, available from Jamii Publishing.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Cynthia Manick is the author of Blue Hallelujahs (Black Lawrence Press) and editor of Soul Sister Revue: A Poetry Compilation (Jamii Publishing, 2019). She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, MacDowell Colony, and Château de la Napoule among others. Winner of the Lascaux Prize in Collected Poetry, Manick was awarded Honorable Mention for the 2019 Furious Flower Poetry Prize. She is Founder of the reading series Soul Sister Revue; and her poem “Things I Carry Into the World” was made into a film by Motionpoems, an organization dedicated to video poetry, and has debuted on Tidal for National Poetry Month. A performer at literary festivals, libraries, universities, and most recently the Brooklyn Museum, Manick’s work has appeared in the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day Series, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. She currently serves on the Editorial Board of Alice James Books. Jamii Publishing can be reached via Twitter at https://twitter.com/jamiipub

Keisha-Gaye Anderson is a Jamaican-born poet, author, and visual artist. She is the author of Gathering the Waters (Jamii, 2014) and Everything Is Necessary (Willow, 2019). Keisha’s poetry, fiction, and essays have been widely published in national literary journals, magazines, and
anthologies that include Small Axe Salon, Kweli Literary Journal, Renaissance Noire, The
Killens Review of Arts and Letters, Mosaic Literary Magazine, African Voices Magazine, The
Mom Egg Review, and others. Keisha received the Editors’ Choice recognition for the
Numinous Orisons, Luminous Origin Literary Award for Poetry (Agape Editions)
for her poetry collection A Spell for Living. Keisha is a past participant of the VONA
Voices and Callaloo writing workshops, and was short-listed for the Small Axe Literary
Competition. She holds an MFA in creative writing from The City College, CUNY.

Nilsa Rivera writes about gender and diversity issues. She’s also the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications. Nilsa’s work appeared in the Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, and Selkie Literary Magazine. She lives in Riverview, Florida with her husband, son, and other multi-species family members.

 
 

Transgender & Nonbinary Workshop

For many in the queer and trans community, we wrestle with the idea of ‘self’ on an almost existential level. When you have to question things like sexual/romantic orientation, gender, your childhood, and your name, it can lead one to wonder how much of the “you” is expressed and how much is hidden. It also opens us up to the questions of how that has changed over time and how it may change again since one’s sense of self can be heavily impacted by the queer experience. Even memes and social media posts delve into this kind of search for self and ways to exist outside of social bonds and boundaries.

As many queer folk are drifting farther outward, away from rigidly-defined roles and into a more nebulous sense of being, we want to explore the ways that this search can manifest in writing, whether in telling our own stories or using our story to influence the ways in which we tell others. In this open genre workshop, we will explore the trans and nonbinary identity and the ways in which it can inform our creative writing.

This workshop will be led by Gene Jeter and Nik Buhler on January 22nd, 6-7PM in Hodges Library Room 252 on the campus of the University of Tennessee. This event is free and welcome to the public.

Gene Jeter is a writer and photographer in Knoxville, TN. You’ll usually find him by a campfire with a beer in hand. (Pronouns: he/him or they/them)

Nik Buhler is a queer, Appalachian native living in Knoxville, Tennessee. Their work has been featured in Phoenix Literary Arts Magazine, Crab    Fat Magazine, and Apogee Journal. As Writer-in-Residence at the Sundress Academy for the Arts, Buhler can be always be found writing new poems and chasing chickens around the coop.

The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is writers residency that hosts workshops, retreats, and residencies for writers in all genres including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, journalism, academic writing, playwriting, and more. All are guided by experienced  instructors from a variety of creative disciplines who are dedicated to cultivating the literary arts in East Tennessee.

The Wardrobe's Best Dressed: Soul Sister Revue: A Poetry Compilation by Cynthia Manick

Yesenia Montilla
HAMILTON HEIGHTS STARBUCKS
Been waiting for a Hamilton Heights Starbucks
for 10 years. Dreaming of Sunday morning papers
& poems while sippin’ my triple venti half sweet
non-fat caramel macchiato to the latest coffee house
appropriate tunes. I wanna be a white girl, no cares
just lounging about with hipster black glasses & a cute
but non threatening boyfriend waiting for me downtown
so we can hit up first Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum
before an indie concert at the pier at dusk in fall.
I want a world where all those things do not spell gentrification.
Where I don’t think about Cornel West being arrested in
Ferguson between my third shot of espresso & my weekly
trip to Whole Foods & for a moment I am sea sick, because
middle passage is still happening, except now we are being
transported in police vans to prisons made just for us.
No one drinks white mochas but still it stays on the menu.
Last night, I had to bring my 80 year old neighbor
my leftovers because these days her foot don’t work
too well & her children have forgotten her name
& cat food is just so damn expensive ever since
the C-Town supermarket got themselves an organic section.
In order to wake up each morning, I can’t think too hard on this world.
Maybe I should really be careful what I
wish for, that Starbucks is coming whether I wish it so
or not. & did I mention, my 80 year old neighbor used to be
a concert pianist. She played at Lincoln Center, her whole
life dedicated to her brown elegant fingers touching white —

This selection comes from the book, Soul Sister Revue: A Poetry Compilation, available from Jamii Publishing.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Cynthia Manick is the author of Blue Hallelujahs (Black Lawrence Press) and editor of Soul Sister Revue: A Poetry Compilation (Jamii Publishing, 2019). She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, MacDowell Colony, and Château de la Napoule among others. Winner of the Lascaux Prize in Collected Poetry, Manick was awarded Honorable Mention for the 2019 Furious Flower Poetry Prize. She is Founder of the reading series Soul Sister Revue; and her poem “Things I Carry Into the World” was made into a film by Motionpoems, an organization dedicated to video poetry, and has debuted on Tidal for National Poetry Month. A performer at literary festivals, libraries, universities, and most recently the Brooklyn Museum, Manick’s work has appeared in the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day Series, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. She currently serves on the Editorial Board of Alice James Books. Jamii Publishing can be reached via Twitter at https://twitter.com/jamiipub

Yesenia Montilla is an Afro Latina poet & translator, daughter of immigrants & native New Yorker.
Her poetry has appeared in The Wide Shore, Prairie Schooner, Gulf Coast, Academy of
American Poets Poem-a-Day and others. She received her MFA from Drew University
in poetry & poetry in translation and is co-director of CantoMundo. The Pink Box is
her first collection and is published by Willow Books. It was long-listed for the Pen
Open Book Award 2016. She lives in Harlem with her love & writes her best poems
while at work.

Nilsa Rivera writes about gender and diversity issues. She’s also the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications. Nilsa’s work appeared in the Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, and Selkie Literary Magazine. She lives in Riverview, Florida with her husband, son, and other multi-species family members.

 
 

The Wardrobe's Best Dressed: Soul Sister Revue: A Poetry Compilation by Cynthia Manick

I WISH THE TRESS COULD SWAY TO MARVIN AND ARETHA

because sometimes I forget/ soil/ can do more than hold/
wooden or metal boxes/ it pulls on elements/ my shins have
long forgotten/ there are seven/ different words for dirt/ in
French/ we hear/ what is left/ in the woods/ children
with twelve/ fingers or webbed toes/ I used to pray/ for
normal appendages/ I often stopped/ myself from talking
out loud/ singing where others/ could hear/ but we know/
of hushed tales/ somebody’s callin/ my name/ about where
wounds/ use to go/ to the trees/ swinging/ someone’s Black
uncle/ or son/ sometime daughter’s under/ steady stars/ bright
as birth/ day candles/ we can’t blow/ but let’s not talk/ of
dark/ histories/ of how you and I/ are still alive/ like three flowered
maples or perennials/ unculled/ or how standing/ on a hilltop/
just over there/ with headphones/ a seashell of Mo-/ town and
Aretha/ you forget the universe/ is expanding/ as if the gods are/
tired of our sand/ and stone/ bones/ brutal ozone’s/ the oldest tree/
is over 4,000 years old/ but what if/ the bark doesn’t hold/ like it use
to/ the bloom turns shallow/ cause you can die/ from survival you
know/ it’s like working three jobs/ the weight of limbs/ in winter/
so that tree/ has breathed a lot/ of shit/ geographic shadows/ but soul
music/ can be/ a prayer/ and what if/ it could reach/ every spore/
every carbonated leaf/ note/ pollinating dreams like bees/ down
to the root/ until every bark/ vibrates/ under our palms/ and what
if Marvin/ and Aretha/ can make them remember/ what love
sounds like/ and all the wild things/ come so close/ the trees
no longer die/ standing up.

This selection comes from the book, Soul Sister Revue: A Poetry Compilation, available from Jamii Publishing.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Cynthia Manick is the author of Blue Hallelujahs (Black Lawrence Press) and editor of Soul Sister Revue: A Poetry Compilation (Jamii Publishing, 2019). She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, MacDowell Colony, and Château de la Napoule among others. Winner of the Lascaux Prize in Collected Poetry, Manick was awarded Honorable Mention for the 2019 Furious Flower Poetry Prize. She is Founder of the reading series Soul Sister Revue; and her poem “Things I Carry Into the World” was made into a film by Motionpoems, an organization dedicated to video poetry, and has debuted on Tidal for National Poetry Month. A performer at literary festivals, libraries, universities, and most recently the Brooklyn Museum, Manick’s work has appeared in the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day Series, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. She currently serves on the Editorial Board of Alice James Books. Jamii Publishing can be reached via Twitter at https://twitter.com/jamiipub

Nilsa Rivera writes about gender and diversity issues. She’s also the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications. Nilsa’s work appeared in the Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, and Selkie Literary Magazine. She lives in Riverview, Florida with her husband, son, and other multi-species family members.

 
 

The Wardrobe's Best Dressed: We Will Not Be Silenced edited by Christine E. Ray, Kindra M. Austin, Candice & Louisa Daquin Rachel Finch

TW: Rape

Quiet Now
Amanda Coleman
You left
And for the longest time
It was so loud
The emptiness inside of me
Left your vicious words
Ruminating off my walls
And through my core
It was so loud
The pieces of me
Screaming to be
Whole again
For years
It was so loud
But finally
It’s quiet now
And I can hear
My own voice again

This selection comes from the book, We Will Not Be Silenced, available from Indie Blu(e).  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera .

We Will Not Be Silenced: The Lived Experience of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Told Powerfully Through Poetry, Prose, Essay, and Art is the brainchild of Kindra M. Austin, Candice Louisa Daquin, Rachel Finch, and Christine E. Ray. The four indie writers and survivors felt compelled to organize a response after wide-spread, highly publicized cases of rape, sexual harassment, and misconduct. They chose to advocate, educate, and resist through art. The editors opened submissions for just two weeks to women and men around the world. The response from writers and artists was overwhelming: the final anthology includes 166 pieces of writing and art from 95 contributors around the globe.

 
 

The Wardrobe's Best Dressed: We Will Not Be Silenced edited by Christine E. Ray, Kindra M. Austin, Candice & Louisa Daquin Rachel Finch

TW: Rape

dark intentions
Linda M. Crate
“i bet you don’t remember me,” you smirked with that devil may cry
grin; and i froze like a doe in the headlights, unable to move—i
remember being little more than a girl and you were my boyfriend
and your sister wasn’t watching us, of how powerless and angry you
made me feel when you kissed my lips thrice when i told you no all
three times; of how terrified i was when you tried to force yourself on
me—but in a rush of adrenaline somehow i was able to keep hold of
my flowers, my innocence was shattered though; i realized that the
big bad wolf’s of little red riding hood weren’t strangers but rather
people you thought you knew—there was no turning back to that girl i
once was, and every time i hear the compliment, “you have a pretty
smile” i hear your voice saying the same thing; and i am haunted by
it—such a nice thing to have someone say to me, and yet i cannot
embrace it as i should because i am reminded of you and your dark
intentions.

This selection comes from the book, We Will Not Be Silenced, available from Indie Blu(e).  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera .

We Will Not Be Silenced: The Lived Experience of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Told Powerfully Through Poetry, Prose, Essay, and Art is the brainchild of Kindra M. Austin, Candice Louisa Daquin, Rachel Finch, and Christine E. Ray. The four indie writers and survivors felt compelled to organize a response after wide-spread, highly publicized cases of rape, sexual harassment, and misconduct. They chose to advocate, educate, and resist through art. The editors opened submissions for just two weeks to women and men around the world. The response from writers and artists was overwhelming: the final anthology includes 166 pieces of writing and art from 95 contributors around the globe.

 
 

Lyric Essentials: Mike Hackney Reads Sharon Olds

For this installment of Lyric Essentials, we’re joined by Mike Hackney, who shares a poem by Sharon Olds. Mike shares how his desire to learn from challenging poetry led him to choosing Olds’ work for this series, along with his admiration for her work and her refusal to compromise her principles. Thanks for reading!


Riley Steiner: Why did you choose this poem to read for Lyric Essentials?

Mike Hackney: I selected “I Go Back To May 1937” because it was a sort of confession that I related to, an ars poetica of sorts, and I am always interested in poems about the writing process or about being a writer. Plus, it is fairly accessible, and I think a lot of people can relate to it. Mainly, I chose a poem by Sharon Olds because I am wrestling with her right now and want to gain some clarity, some understanding of her through this interview process. This piece resonated with me, while other poems by Olds have not. However, I am getting closer to gaining a complete admiration and respect for her work.

Mike Hackney reads “I Go Back to 1937” by Sharon Olds

RS: What do you admire about Sharon Olds’ poetry in general?

MH: She shares her pain on the page for everyone to see. I appreciate the bravery it takes to do such things. But, to answer this question fully, let me begin with a story: When I was an undergraduate in creative writing, my final project one year was to write a thirty-page paper on a poet of my choice. I considered Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and William Carlos Williams, all fine poets in their own right. I finally settled on Ezra Pound because he seemed the most complex and difficult to understand at the time; I wanted to really challenge myself and ultimately learn something through the writing process. It would have been easy to select one of the others, but I guess I chose the road less traveled by (to quote a phrase by Frost himself). My admiration for Pound came through my learned understanding of him and how he worked. Incidentally, I got an A on the paper but failed the final exam that term because I managed to tie every essay question back to Ezra Pound, even when there was no relation. My professor at the time, noting my obsession, allowed me to take the exam over, and I managed to answer the questions the second time without referring to Pound. I got an A in the class… 

In my spare time, I read a lot of poetry criticism, book reviews, and essays on poets and poetry. Sharon Olds has popped up a couple times in my reading. She controversial and quite popular in certain circles, and at first I didn’t understand what all the hype was about. I always felt as if I were reading highly stylized Grimms’ fairy tales when I read her poems. There seemed to be a mock tone, an insincerity about her at times, as if she capitalized on situations that were embellished. I felt that she paled in comparison to, say, Sylvia Plath. I chose Sharon Olds because I felt I had something to learn here. It seemed, most often, I would miss the point of her greatness and talent. But the more I read of her, the more I admire her for what she is. She seems to lack technique in many ways, but she makes up for it with raw emotion.

I also admire Olds a lot for the stance she took in 2005 when invited to a White House luncheon by Laura Bush. Olds declined the invitation, stating, in essence, that she could not break bread with the current administration because she didn’t believe in the war with Iraq, and she felt that the administration was making decisions counter to the wants and needs of the American people. I appreciate Olds for that. She would have garnered a lot of attention and possibly sold a lot of books by attending. She declined on principle. She was heroic in that instance. I have the letter in a nightstand drawer. It is easily accessible online. I hope that answers the question.

RS: I noticed there is a sort of “ticking” sound in the background of your reading, sort of like a metronome. Was this something you used to accompany your reading? If so, what is your purpose for using it?

MH: So, I just learned how to use the recording equipment that is available online. It is all very new to me. The program I chose just happened to have this ticking noise that I could not get rid of—an effect that would not go away. Eventually, after several recordings of the poem, I decided that I rather liked the dissonance in the background. I came to view it as part of the overall presentation. I think it adds something to the reading. Although I’m not sure exactly what.

RS: Do you have any current writing projects (poetry or otherwise) that you’d like to tell us about?

MH: I am in the midst of finishing a book-length manuscript of poems, which I hope to have published by the end of 2020. I think it might be my strongest work yet. It will be my first full-length publication since 2012.


Sharon Olds graduated with degrees from Stanford University and Columbia University. She is the author of more than ten books of poetry and the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, as well as the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. From 1998 to 2000, she served as New York state’s poet laureate. She currently teaches at New York University.

Further reading:

Purchase Olds’ most recent book, Stag’s Leap
Read an NPR book review of Stag’s Leap
Read a conversation with Olds in Lit Hub

The author of multiple poetry collections and a novel, Mike Hackney studied Creative Writing at Bowling Green University and earned his MLS from the University of Toledo. He is the recipient of grants and awards from the Toledo Arts Commission and the Ohio Arts Council. His poetry has been published in a wide range of literary journals, including Prairie Margins, The Insider, and the Cornfed Angel.

Further reading:

Purchase Mike’s book Mid-Western Shoes: Your Poetic Self All Over Again
Read Mike’s poem “How to Write a Poem” in THEthe Poetry
Visit Mike’s Facebook page

Riley Steiner graduated from Miami University, where she studied Creative Writing and Media & Culture. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, she enjoys baking, cheering for the Green Bay Packers, and spending way too much money at Half Price Books. She’s published her creative work in the Oakland Arts Review and Collision.

The Wardrobe's Best Dressed: We Will Not Be Silenced edited by Christine E. Ray, Kindra M. Austin, Candice & Louisa Daquin Rachel Finch

TW: Rape

Safety at Age Eleven

Wilda W. Morris

Grandmother would have kept me

safe had she known her beloved nephew

visiting from Kansas would trap me

on the basement stair and touch me

in the wrong places. I kept her safe

from heartbreak by not telling.

And Mother would have kept me safe

had she suspected. She’d warned me

about strangers, told me where to kick

if I needed to get away, but she was at work

and had too many worries already

so I kept her safe, too.

I didn’t go to the basement again

until he was back on the west-bound train.

And until now, I never told anyone.

This selection comes from the book, We Will Not Be Silenced, available from Indie Blu(e).  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera .

We Will Not Be Silenced: The Lived Experience of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Told Powerfully Through Poetry, Prose, Essay, and Art is the brainchild of Kindra M. Austin, Candice Louisa Daquin, Rachel Finch, and Christine E. Ray. The four indie writers and survivors felt compelled to organize a response after wide-spread, highly publicized cases of rape, sexual harassment, and misconduct. They chose to advocate, educate, and resist through art. The editors opened submissions for just two weeks to women and men around the world. The response from writers and artists was overwhelming: the final anthology includes 166 pieces of writing and art from 95 contributors around the globe.

 
 

The Wardrobe's Best Dressed: We Will Not Be Silenced edited by Christine E. Ray, Kindra M. Austin, Candice & Louisa Daquin Rachel Finch

TW: Rape

Lock Her Up

Cynthia Bryant

Somewhere

to a nonplussed audience

of her parents

a molested daughter blurts out the secret

about her lately pouting tummy

how it came to pass

Somewhere a mother screams

unintelligible sounds rise

to blot out offending words

that present too hard a choice

Calls the police

on her canary-yellow kitchen phone

Somewhere
the fury of a father
shocks high-color to face
as he pummels daughter
in attempts to exorcise
the madness
that threatens exposure
Somewhere
nosey neighbors open front doors
stand in groups in their yards
make up minds by committee
about what sort of folks
and who’s at fault
when laundry is aired

Somewhere
small town police arrive
lights flashing
as parents point to daughter
an undone puzzle on the floor
police gather the pieces
pile her into the back of a squad car
Somewhere
an unheard daughter
serving one-month solitary in Juvenile Hall
revisits over and over
the last few moments at home
outnumbered
incorrigible

This selection comes from the book, We Will Not Be Silenced, available from Indie Blu(e).  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera .

We Will Not Be Silenced: The Lived Experience of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Told Powerfully Through Poetry, Prose, Essay, and Art is the brainchild of Kindra M. Austin, Candice Louisa Daquin, Rachel Finch, and Christine E. Ray. The four indie writers and survivors felt compelled to organize a response after wide-spread, highly publicized cases of rape, sexual harassment, and misconduct. They chose to advocate, educate, and resist through art. The editors opened submissions for just two weeks to women and men around the world. The response from writers and artists was overwhelming: the final anthology includes 166 pieces of writing and art from 95 contributors around the globe.