Women Write Resistance

Selected for the Nebraska 150 Book List

The anthology Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013), views poetry as a transformative art.

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

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

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

The act of writing is not typically viewed as an assertion of power or an articulation of authority. Putting pen to paper requires only a voice and an idea. However, the women included in this anthology do more than defy this long-entrenched logic…. the poems and poets included in Women Write Resistance work to display the activism of poetry and the power of the woman-poet.

…the poems in Women Write Resistance suggest the myriad ways that the existing literary landscape can be renegotiated, re-imagined, and redefined.…Indeed, Wiseman’s anthology is a carefully constructed, masterfully executed, and necessary contribution to the study of women’s writing.

–Kristina Marie Darling, Pleiades

She urges us to read and write poetry that ‘makes things happen, or at the very least, had the potential to initiate action.’ …. Wiseman accurately opines the power of language, the most powerful weapon humankind has ever created, able to combat violence but equally able to inviolate…. Her process results in a wonderful kaleidoscope of perspective…Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence must become the rule, not the exception; the action, not the obsolescence.

– Joe Gianotti, Blotterature Literary Review

In compiling this collection, Laura Madeline Wiseman had a mission to bring the thematic subject of these poems — violence against women — into the spotlight where the public could not ignore what is too often private or ignored or pushed aside… Wiseman posits poets achieve change by writing poems that break the silence, raise awareness, disrupt established narratives, talk back to the predators and perpetrators, focus anger where it belongs, and serve as a call to change and to action.

– Karen Shoemaker, Lincoln Journal Star

Women Write Resistance… gives power back to victims, survivors, witnesses, and rescuers. They share their experiences from the safe places that support poem-making and from the trenches, both of which insist survival, even beauty, is yet possible. And they do it well, in poems memorable, moving, and crafted, literary.

– Stacia Fleegal, Blood Lotus

These poets write…with clear messages and great imperatives….

– Grace Cavalieri, Washington Independent Review of Books