by Liz Hall-Downs
I featured an old friend and colleague, poet and muso Liz Hall-Downs in 'I Wish I'd Written This' back in January 2012: here, along with background stuff about herself and her career.
Though when I say 'old', she's quite a lot younger than me. Then again, age has little to do with the kinds of female experiences which have come to be known by the recent label #MeToo. Neither have such experiences always been so recent as the label. Has there ever been a time when these things have not happened?
No, I don't mean all men are misogynists and rapists, and I don't mean all women have experienced ... hmmm, hang on, I think all women have experienced some form of misogyny, some instance of feeling threatened, even if not the worst violence. That is rather the point of the #MeToo movement – that until women started speaking up, men (the good ones) didn't understand how all-pervasive the problem is.
OK, OK, but where's the poem? (do I hear you ask?)
Liz had an old poem, suddenly topical, accepted for publication recently. When she first wrote it and others like it in the nineteen-eighties, it was hard for them to find a market. This recent acceptance had her realise that she has a collection of pieces from that era which fit right into the #MeToo awareness. So she has gathered them together on her blog, along with brief notes about each.
The photo I've used of Liz in performance, is her current facebook profile pic. It seemed especially apt for this post, with that slogan!
I think Liz is an amazing poet; also she pulls no punches. It's quite a feat to make such searing, brilliant poetry out of the experiences she chronicles. But she's not glossing over anything. These pieces are raw, indignant – and thoughtful. They include some spot-on satirical depictions of male predators. Sadly, they have not dated.
Have a look and see. Read one or two, or all 20. Here.
Liz has generously made available scanned copies of her books for free download from the same site. Find the links among those at the top of the page. (There is also a Paypal link if you'd like to reward her with a donation, but that's harder to find. Click on WRITING ABOUT DISABILITY.)
Of course you have already noticed that I chose to post this on International Women's Day. It seemed appropriate! By another piece of serendipity, it's also Liz's birthday.
Material shared in “Thought Provokers’ is presented for study and review. Poems, photos and other writings remain the property of the copyright owners, usually their authors.
WOW!!! Liz's poems tell it like it was, and still is. But thankfully women's voices are now being heard and they are powerful. We have had Enough. Perfect poetry for today. And happy birthday to your friend, with a thank you for having written these strong poems, for seeing, for saying, and for not being silenced.ReplyDelete
"Letter to Myself About You" takes me there. If all her poems are like that, I'm hooked, but can only read one at a time. Happy International Women's Day. Thank you for this feature.ReplyDelete
Ah yes, intense stuff.Delete
I like what the acceptance for publication of her old poems about the world (and what it says to writers). The world isn't perfect--not even all that good--but it's getting better. And when it comes to writing what we like and what we must write, there is never a good or bad time. So, it's best to just write... The worlds will find home.ReplyDelete
Wonderful feature for International Women's DAy!! Love her poetry.ReplyDelete
Incredible, raw poetry. Thanks so much for sharing this treasure of a poet.ReplyDelete
A compelling post - I have bookmarked the site you referenced, for a more indepth read an reflection.ReplyDelete
Just visited Liz’s wonderful site and lost track of time! I read some of Conscious Razing and plan to read more. How perfect that her birthday falls on International Women’s Day!ReplyDelete
I've been a Liz Hall-Downs fan since meeting her in the eighties and her poetry is as she is, confident, honest, pain-authentic, & woman-beautiful. Her work deserves as much exposure as possible.ReplyDelete