Okay. Seeing as we are in the days of FACE book confessions, here goes. Not a confession. A rant.
I thought long and hard before posting this.
And, really, I'm not trying to sell a book. Not even sure if there are copies available right now. I'm trying to get folks to read this book though. Find the poems. Buy. Give away. I don't care (my publisher might).
How LONG a journey this has been to have this discussion. 35 years ago this book was written, 22 years since its publication. And yes, now the talk is out in the open in a BIG way.
In 1992, many cringed (o survivor literature—confessional, no—no, people—resilience literature) but some progressive profs and teachers and media and friends embraced and saw it as opening for conversation. In This House Are Many Women still has this wonderful underground tribe of readers and I still get letters. I'm grateful especially to Susanne Alexander at Goose Lane who helped me find more courage than I had and Shelly Ambrose ,then at Moringside who produced my reading of them on National radio at that time. Paula Danckert who stayed constant, there for me , as I was writing -as did DDFM, who I'd just met, really. And Gwen Davies who arranged first public reading along with Jane Buss. At the time book stores shelved it in psychology section.
I refused a interview at Chatelaine, there was too much I was being asked I did not want to share. Discretion was still a good idea unless a woman wanted to be labelled as "Ex-battered ... or welfare mother or angry feminist." So I was always careful to say that book of poetry was not me, it may be parts of my experience and women I've met and known. I am all the women in this book and none of them. And Yes, I've been to the Moon and back.
Those are still my lines. But you can read between them. How could Bubbly Sheree mother of Mable Murple write soooooo dark? After play by Eastern Front Theatre based on this book, (directed by Mary Vingoe) a man came up to me and said Please stick to kids stuff.
I am glad I never have. Pluto's Ghost tackles the subject of abuse in a whole other way. As hard as it was to write—I tried to gives voice to a young man, to the wounded who wound. I tried to ask, too, look deeper to where you might find the seeds of violence in our selves, and have you seen the beast inside that is you? And where does one go when there is no where to go? Voices of men and women are needed in this conversation. The victims and the perpetrators.
Blame and shame need to be gone so honesty can emerge.
There was an amazing interview with Anna Marie Tremonte on The Current this morning.
Maybe, these recent events will mean this conversation will no longer drop in cones of silence and only among the already converted and like-minded who commit their lives to peace education and mental health issues. I'm so not surprised by these events, though I was sickened and sad and yes, knowing it triggers hard old memories for so many. Now I am hopeful, perhaps, perhaps, there can be a sea shift. As the current asked is this a WATERSHED MOMENT?