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2018 Split This Rock Report #4

IMG_3918.JPGAt the Split this Rock Poetry Festival on April 20, 2018, the Dresser attended two sessions that were upsetting in different ways. This report will focus on "No F*cks to Give: Women Poets and Dark Humor" addressed issues women have been dealing with that are barely acknowledged and brushed off as trivial. These matters include such things as shaming young mothers for pumping breast milk or hounding attractive women with catcalls and salacious name calling. While there were occasional short bursts of laughter, the Dresser would say most of the content of this panel was dead serious. Participants in this reading studded with thought-provoking commentary were: Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, Kendra DeColo, Shara McCallum, Erika Meitner, and Tyler Mills. Here are two poems from Shara McCallum, offspring of a Black Jamaican father and white Venezuelan mother that shows the complexity of problems women face:


You are the original incognito.
Transparent so all things shine through you.
She's the whitest black girl you ever saw,
lighter than "flesh" in the Crayola box.
But, man, look at that ass and look at her shake it
were just words, not sticks nor stones, flung
when dresses were the proof that clung like skin,
when lipstick stained brighter than any blood.
Girl, who is it now you'd want to see you?
And what would that mean: to be seen?
Why not make a blessing of what
all these years you've thought a curse?--
you are so everywhere, so nowhere,
in plain sight you walk through walls.


I-woman go turn all a Babylon to stone.
I-woman is the Deliverer and the Truth.
Look pon I and feel yu inside calcify.
Look pon I and witness the chasm,
the abyss of yuself rupture. Look pon I
and know what bring destruction.
Yu say I-woman is monstrosity
but is yu gravalicous ways
what mek I come the way I come.
Is yu belief everyone exist fi satisfy
yu wanton wantonness.
Yu think, all these years gone,
and I-woman a come here fi revenge?
But yu wrong. Again is so yu wrong.
I-woman is the Reckoning and Judgment Day.
This face, etch with wretchedness,
these dreads, writhing and hissing
misery, is the mirror of yu shame.
I-woman not the Terror.
I-woman is what birth from Terror.

Copyright © 2015 by Shara McCallum, all rights reserved.

Kendra DeColo read "I Pump Milk like a Boss," a lengthy poem in couplets (think mother and child, a mother's two breasts, or the woman and man in the act of procreation) that leaves no detail out.

Erika Meitner read "Miracle Blanket" a long poem with short lines that deals with motherhood that is funny as long as you aren't the parents dealing with a colicky baby who cries all night.

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram read "Facts about Deer" which addresses the expectations put on women and her lack of patience for those lodestones.

Tyler Mills read two poems that caught the Dresser's attention--one concerned the first atom bomb which had the image of pinup girl Rita Hayworth on it and the other was called "Ho at work." (Sorry, neither seem to be online.)

And may the Dresser add that the Sharon Olds reading about her Odes to various female body parts seemed like an apt precursor to this session. Stay tuned for a report on #RedStateWritersResist.



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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 20, 2018 9:31 PM.

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