I received this collection of poems for my birthday earlier this year. I have loved Andrea Gibson (who is the editor of this book) for almost four years now, since I was introduced to her by my girlfriend through videos of her spoken word, slam poetry. Reading her words invokes the passion I heard in her voice, and these words (while not hers) are no different. From many writers from many background, races, sexualities and beliefs, this book is equal parts uncomfortable and comforting!
Each author gives the information of a charity near and dear too them, which usually inspired the poem included by them. This means that if you should wish to do so you could simply input the web address given in the book and find out about volunteering opportunities, or even donate to that charity. Each also charity receives some of the money raised through the sales of this book. Andrea Gibson writes this: “Our goal is to raise awareness on important issues and encourage the kind of critical self-reflection that inspires a rise to action. We thank the writers and readers of this book for their fierce and compassionate hearts. There is so much work to do. May we do it beautifully.”
While I cannot say I love, or even like, all of the poems in this book I can say that some of them are simply beautiful. I’m not someone who read poetry habitually, and so I cannot claim any knowledge of what make on poem “Good” or not; that having been said I know what I like and that I would recommend that if you find a copy of this book you should give it a shot. I would place money on everyone finding at least one poem which they are affected by in some way.
Now I do feel it only fair to say that the subject matter of the majority of these poems are at the very least uncomfortable, and at times down right upsetting! So reader beware, you may have to set the book aside and make a cup of tea (or grabbing a whiskey) before returning to it! Even considering this, this book is simply wonderful and I have, and would recommend it to all; poetry lover or newbie alike.
I will leave you with a video of the first poem in the book, this is ‘Feminism is not a brand of combat boot’ by Lauren Zuniga: