Published 2017 by Mud Press
Star rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Synopsis (from blurb):
This anthology speaks of sexual beings, of bellies, of mothers, of mammals, of women ever shifting. It speaks of what we’re done with, tips its hat to where we’ve come from, and sees ahead to where we’re going. It’s a whisper, picking up speed, becoming a shout.
The poets in Woman give us moments, glimpses into their timelines that resonate in some way with all of us, as human beings. From wasps nests to pillow-stuffed-tights, this anthology encapsulates love, fight, and strength.
I bought this anthology at its launch which was part of Nottingham Poetry Festival. A few of my friends were going along so I thought I would too. I also found out that my friend Lauren had a poem in the anthology, so that meant I was definitely 100% buying it.
When I had an initial, curious flick through I found the names of other people I knew from the poetry/publishing scene, including Anne Holloway and Leanne Moden! I hadn’t even read the thing yet and already I was proud and excited on their behalf.
The launch event celebrated womanhood in a way I didn’t expect. Its core message (I believe) is that women should feel proud to be a woman and in no way ashamed of herself, her body, or her sexuality.
The poems touch on a range of subjects from motherhood, to bellies, to friendship, body hair, love, menstruation and tougher subjects such as miscarriage. This anthology, and the women in it, are not afraid to express their thoughts on the subjects that they hold close to their hearts.
The composition of the anthology is worth noting too. Each poem is accompanied by a full page photo of the writer in black and white. This is a simple touch, but very effective to the overall feel of the book. My favourite of these has to be the photo accompanying Captain, Skipper, Galley Slave by Sarah Crutwell. It’s beautiful.
One of my favorites is Shaving Grace by Leanne Moden because it deals with the subject of body hair. Particularly the debate as to whether a woman should shave her pubic hair off or not. The poem seems to address a man who thinks she should, and stands up for a woman’s right to have her body hair however she wants it.
Mattress Girl by Laurie Ogden is another stand-out piece. It tells an imaginative story that I didn’t expect to find in this collection. It reminded me of Tim Burton’s poetry in The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy.
Stings by Georgina Norie also stuck with me. She has managed to convey a heart-warming story through poetry that for me is admirable. It’s a poem I want to read again and again because of the message it holds. It’s a poem to be proud of.
I was glad to see Marina by Lauren Terry in the collection. I’ve read the poem before and think it is wonderful, and even more so for being inspired by Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse.
In the latter part of the collection we are treated to the stories behind the poems, and this is something you don’t often get in poetry books so it was a pleasure to have it here. Some poems speak for themselves, but this gave them an extra level, and allowed the contributors to speak deeper about what they felt passionate about in their poems. I enjoyed this section just as much as the poetry. The words here are powerful and give extra significance to each poem.
And to top it off, right at the end we have an ‘about the authors’ section, with links to websites/blogs etc.
If you want to explore the ins and outs, ups and downs of womanhood, then read this collection!