I am so proud to be able to announce that I have finally released my first poetry booklet – The Goddess Collection.
The collection consists of twelve poems which explore various themes around feminism and women’s rights, and draws a direct comparison between the Ancient Greek Goddesses and women of today.
The first poem that I wrote is called “Catcall,” which was inspired by a chat I had in the Women in the Arts Scotland group on Facebook. The group was set up for creative women to ask questions, collaborate, let off steam, and chat about issues that specifically affect women in the arts. We got on to talking about when men catcall women in the street, and the chat ended up one of those epic threads with thousands of comments.
After reading through the comments, I thought – there has to be a poem in there! – and so I sat down to write.
It wasn’t long after this that the #MeToo movement began, with women all over the world sharing their stories of being sexually assaulted. I began to write my own #MeToo story, which started off with me just recounting various incidents from over the years and getting them all down on paper. From that, I was able to form another couple of poems.
Then came the idea to form these poems into a collection. There couldn’t really be a better time, with all the publicity for women’s rights, feminism and the #MeToo movement, so I decided to bite the bullet and go for it. This really gave me the motivation to move quickly and finalise something as soon as possible.
Because the original inspiration had come from the Women in the Arts group, and because I am a firm believer in women working together and supporting each other – I had the idea to involve artists and photographers in the project. The artworks that are included in my booklet really complement the poems, and I believe that together we have been able to create something special.
The main challenge I had while putting the collection together was the emotional impact of revisiting some instances of sexual assault that I have experienced. I have never openly discussed any of these incidents with anyone, even best friends and family members. I didn’t realise that I had so many emotions all bottled up inside, some of which date back over twenty years. Over the past few months, all of these emotions have just exploded out – at times I have felt angry, depressed, exhausted, frustrated, withdrawn and overwhelmed. However, I believe that these emotions had to come out, and in a way, writing poetry has been a sort of therapy for me.
Why you should read The Goddess Collection
One of the criticisms of The Goddess Collection has been that it is too raw and emotional, rather than being a measured and thought-out response to some of the issues faced by women. And I do agree that there are certain poems in the collection which are very raw and emotional. However, I don’t believe that I could have written anything differently at this stage. Right now I am trying to channel my emotions into something productive – it’s all about raising awareness of these issues, which is the first stage in making progress – collectively we have to try and convince people that there is a problem in the first place.
I thought long and hard about including the poem “Eleven” in particular, because I was so worried about what people might think, especially my parents and family members. But I attended an event recently, hosted by the Women With Fierce Words, where they discussed being honest in your writing, and I left feeling inspired. I actually wrote the poem that evening when I came home from the event. I have heard so many brave stories from other women that I felt I couldn’t possibly omit my own story, no matter how difficult it may be.
My main motivation in talking openly about some of these difficult subjects though, is that I don’t want my own daughter to have to go through some of the struggles that we currently face as women. I hope that this collection will be my own small contribution in the fight to change attitudes and work towards a culture where everyone is truly equal.
So what are you waiting for?