Women Write Resistance

Women Write Resistance Anthology

My mother, gray bird
beside a white bowl
of pomegranates.

They flare
against her face,
creating an odd

She is retelling the family
myths. In this one, her mouth
is cut and bleeding, her teeth
pop out like seeds.

It is winter.
My father is King
of the Underworld.

“My whole mouth,”
she explains, drawing open
her lower lip, exposing the hidden
scars, “was pulp.”

I memorize exactly, word
for word:

He was quick
and strong, his punch
like a boxer’s.

We’d been married
only six months, still newlyweds...

as I pluck a pomegranate
from the bowl, hack it

open, place

a single blood
red seed on my tongue.

-- "Pomegranates", by Susan Kelly-DeWitt from Women Write Resistance

Women Write Resistance Anthology
Edited by Laura Madeline Wiseman
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About the Editor

Laura Madeline Wiseman has a doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she teaches English. She is the author of seven collections of poetry, the full-length book Sprung (San Francisco Bay Press, 2012), the letterpress books Unclose the Door (Gold Quoin Press, 2012), and Farm Hands (Gold Quoin Press, 2012), and the chapbooks She Who Loves Her Father (Dancing Girl Press, 2012), Branding Girls (Finishing Line Press, 2011), Ghost Girl (Pudding House Publications, 2010), and My Imaginary (Dancing Girl Press, 2010). She is also the editor of the anthology Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013).

Her poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and reviews have appeared in Margie, Poet Lore, Blackbird, Arts & Letters, Prairie Schooner, Feminist Studies, Thirteenth Moon, American Short Fiction, Cream City Review, and elsewhere.

She has received an Academy of American Poets Award, a Mari Sandoz/Prairie Schooner Award, a Will P. Jupiter Award, a Susan Atefact Peckham Fellowship, a Louise Van Sickle Fellowship, several Pushcart Prize nominations, and grants from the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, the Focus for the Arts, the Center for the Great Plains Studies, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation.


One of the most pernicious forms of violence enacted against women is the silencing of those who have been violated and abused. The poems in Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence constitute a collective shout of alarm and defiance in the face of such silencing. The voices are rich in power, nuance, raw honesty, and unquestionable grace and beauty. This generous and ambitious anthology is a gathering of necessary and affirming poems written by some of the best poets writing in America today.

- Kwame Dawes
author of Duppy Conqueror (Copper Canyon Press, 2013)
editor of Prairie Schooner

Recent events such as Congress’ failure to renew the Violence Against Women Act, or politicians’ ignorant statements about rape, or the US press’ shock over rape in India (as if such things do not happen in the U.S.) all demonstrate the pressing need for continuing education about violence against women. Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence is the perfect resource for such education, ideal for use in introductory and advanced Gender and Women’s Studies courses. The more than 100 poems give fresh insight into women’s experience of various types of violence– war, rape, domestic abuse, incest, intimidation— and their social contexts, while reflecting on root causes of violence, methods of resistance, and visions for a world without violence. The overall effect of women’s voices is powerful, moving the reader beyond the dichotomy of victim versus survivor, to resistance through words and action. The critical introductory essay draws on recent feminist theory to reflect on how this transformation occurs through such techniques as breaking silence, disrupting traditional narratives, language sassing, and the strategic use of anger. The book reminds everyone that violence against women is still unfortunately a prominent part of our society, while giving tools that enhance understanding and resistance.

- Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy
editor of Women’s Studies for the Future (Rutgers, 2005)
co-author of Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold (Routledge, 1993)

Women Write Resistance draws us into a world of pain and oppression, but also hope. Words often fail to describe the violence women endure. However, through poetry, these women capture the trauma experienced by so many. The stories of abuse painted in the poems leave a haunting legacy and dare us to stand up against the violence. Their survival and courage to speak out gives us hope that change can happen.

- Nancy Berns
author of Framing the Victim: Domestic Violence Media and Social Problems (Aldine Transaction, 2004)
Closure (Temple University, 2011)