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.
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