"...beautifully curated poetry of the moment, that transports the reader from a place of despair and anger, towards hope..."
Amanda Palmer, Singer, Songwriter, Musician, Author of Bestseller, 'The Art of Asking'
Mental health campaigner and author of
‘Black Rainbow: How words can heal - my journey through depression’
Powerfully rallying against sexual assault and harrassment, a brand new collection of largely new work, from 80 poets; including Jacqueline Saphra, Helen Mort, Kim Moore, and Pascale Petit.
Edited by Deborah Alma.
Foreword by Jess Phillips, MP
Published by Fair Acre Press.
£10. Available from all good bookshops.
All profits in aid of Women's Aid UK
Cover image and design by Sandra Salter
7 B&W illustrations by Jessamy Hawke
Available from all good bookshops around the world
"..like a breath of mist and the silverfish
of my eyes and the skylarks of my hands
and the wolf of my heart, will they all come back
and live here again, now that he’s left,
now I’ve said the word whisper it rape
now I’ve said the word whisper it shame
will my true ones, my wild, my truth,
will my wild come back to me again?"
Kim Moore Extract from When I Open (#MeToo: A Women's Poetry Anthology)
a little bit about the inspiration for the book, by Deborah Alma
"...in October 2017. I asked women friends of mine to add their name to the thread if they hadn’t experienced any form of sexual harassment in their lives and I was surprised to find that of the 200 women that started to share some of their stories, 2 or 3 said that it had never happened to them...We have shared these stories over and over with our friends, sisters, mothers, partners and sometimes with the police, or in court. It has been the water we swim in as women. But saying something publically has always been difficult and brave. The words stick in our throats, for so many reasons...Something was released and given a space within social media. It was easy to add our voice to the rising shout of #MeToo. We felt the sisterhood. Many women felt emboldened by this to share more difficult stories, more details; the lid has come off this box and now cannot be forced back on. I’m a poet, and an editor, and someone suggested we collect these stories somehow and it was obvious to collect them as poems. It was what I could do. I am very proud of this book, proud of the poets for sharing their stories and for putting their names to their words...These poems are painful, angry, often difficult to bear, but the result of these voices singing together is one that is beautiful, full of sisterhood, strength, and recovery".
Deborah Alma has an MA in Creative Writing, is Honorary Research Fellow at Keele University, & is the Emergency Poet in her vintage ambulance. She is editor of Emergency Poet - an anti-stress poetry anthology & The Everyday Poet - Poems to live by (both published by Michael O’Mara). Her True Tales of the Countryside is published by The Emma Press (2016). Her first full collection Dirty Laundry (May 2018) is published by Nine Arches Press. She has worked using poetry with people in hospice care & in care homes, with vulnerable women’s groups, & with children & taught Writing Poetry at Worcester University. She lives with the poet James Sheard on a hillside in Montgomeryshire.
Fair Acre Press is an independent publishing house, committed to publishing high quality books and pamphlets that are good to hold, touch, look at and read; books that will call out to you – over and over again. It is run by the wonderfully talented and big-hearted Nadia Kingsley. As well as being the Editor and Publisher at Fair Acre Press, Nadia is a published poet, project manager, short story writer, artist, ceramicist, photographer, sculptor, public speaker, and passionate ecologist. She comes from a medical background, and uses her many talents to create beautiful books and more.
The following awesome women are included in this anthology: Jill Abram, Vasiliki Albedo, Deborah Alma, Jean Atkin, Roberta Beary, Victoria Bennett, Kaddy Benyon, Ama Bolton, Jhilmil Breckenridge, Rachel Buchanan, Jane Burn, Rachel Burns, Cath Campbell, Louisa Campbell, Zelda Chappel, Rachael Clyne, Jane Commane, Meg Cox, Sarah Doyle, Pat Edwards, Alicia Fernández, Rona Fitzgerald, Kate Garrett, Kathy Gee, Georgi Gill, Roz Goddard, Linda Goulden, Vicky Hampton, Sue Hardy-Dawson, Deborah Harvey, Ramona Herdman, AM Hill, Clare Hill, Angi Holden, Rhiannon Hooson, Helen Ivory, Sheila Jacob, Sally Jenkinson, Jemima Laing, Gill Lambert, Dorianne Laux, Claire Leavey, Emma Lee, Liz Lefroy, Pippa Little, Mandy Macdonald, Maggie Mackay, Holly Magill, Sabrina Mahfouz, Sarah Miles, Sarah Mnatzaganian, Kim Moore, Abegail Morley, Helen Mort, Katrina Naomi, Lisa Oliver, Michelle Penn, Pascale Petit, Bethany W Pope, clare e potter, Wendy Pratt, Lesley Quayle, Kathleen M. Quinlan, Amy Rainbow, Natalie Rees, Jess Richards, Victoria Richards, Bethany Rivers, Rosie Sandler, Jacqueline Saphra, Elisabeth Sennitt Clough, Emily Sernaker, Emma Simon, Beth Somerford, Ruth Stacey, Judi Sutherland, Angela Topping, Cathy Whittaker, Natalie Whittaker, Stella Wulf.
At the time of publication, the poets hail from many corners of the world, including Aberdeen, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, County Down, County Durham, County Mayo, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon, Dorset, Essex, France, Glasgow, Gloucestershire, Greece, Herefordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicestershire, London, New Zealand, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Powys, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Shropshire, Somerset, South Yorkshire, Staffordshire, U.S.A., Warwickshire, West Midlands, West Yorkshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, Wrexham.
Sandra Salter is the creator behind the cover art and design. She is one half of Salty's Studios, a small creative studio based in Ludlow, Shropshire. Sandra is a Royal College of Art graduate and Bafta nominee, whose projects span moving image to print, hand drawn to digital design, and animation workshops.
The book contains seven beautiful B&W illustrations, by Jessamy Hawke. Jessamy is a London and Dorset based illustrator working in ink, watercolour, gouache, and linocut-printmaking. She is interested in connecting drawing with poetry and literature, as well as using illustration and hand-drawn maps to document an experience of a landscape.
A book of poems about sexual assault and harassment might seem like a tough proposition but #MeToo is a lively and accessible collection. If you have preconceptions, let this book surprise you. It has something meaningful for most readers.
Poetry turns out to be an excellent medium to explore these issues. Abusive behaviour can be insidious, often woven into the very fabric of social norms. But a poem gives the necessary space to tug on a thread, to unpick and unravel – and to reveal. The pieces here resonate with vivid details of lived experience, the unmistakably true. Such details reach out of the book, and invite us to reach back in. This clasp of empathy is a deeper way to understand the consequences of abuse, as if from the inside.
There are potent moments in #MeToo, but the collective expression is more powerful still. I hope anyone who has found themselves isolated and bullied into silence will find comfort in this community and the affirmation that to speak is not a sin. The collection will also bring clarity to those who have yet to fully articulate their own experience, as Gill Lambert’s striking ‘It Didn’t Mean Me’ deftly sketches the very moment of becoming woke.
By making the unconscious visible, an artwork might also interrupt abusive patterns. Some will read this book and recognise aspects of their own behaviour for the first time. The perpetrator can have a moment of revelation too.
For all the galvanising power of social media, hashtag politics are double-edged. We’ve seen how easy they are to co-opt, target, or to filter out. Hashtags can reduce discussion to soundbite, or front-line markers on the battlefield. Worst of all, they become levers we push in the Skinner box of Twitter and Facebook. This anthology gives some headroom to open up and explore. The poets here frequently play with the #MeToo hashtag, most thrillingly in Pippa Little’s riff on Spartacus, which closes out the collection (and compresses into twelve short lines what I’ve struggled with in paragraphs).
Smartly edited by Deborah Alma, #MeToo is strong, engaging, and several thousand years overdue. I urge everyone to get involved.
The Cooper Gallery, Sadler Room, Barnsley 8th March 2019
Poetry Lounge, Ludlow, March 5th 2019
Shrewsbury Poetry, November 1st, 2018
Waterstones, Chelmsford, Oct 11th. 2018
Norwich Cafe Writers, Oct 8th, 2018
Greenbelt Festival, Broughton House, 25-26th August, 2018
Poetry Cafe Refreshed, Cheltenham, Aug 15th, 2018
Ledbury Poetry Festival, July 5th, 2018
Ludlow Fringe Festival, June 19th, 2018
Feminist Fortnight, Wenlock Books, Shropshire , June 16th, 2018
Verbatim, Welshpool, May 28th, 2018
Saboteur Awards, London, May 18th, 2018
Birmingham Lit Fest, April 28th, 2018
Stratford Lit Fest, April 28th, 2018
Word Club, Leeds, April 27th, 2018
London Book Fair, April 11th, 2018
University Central Lancaster, April 9th, 2018
Waterstone's Bookshop, Birmingham, March 9th, 2018
Stanza Poetry Festival, March 8th, 2018
Waterstone's TCR, London, March 8th, 2018
Glastonbury, Ginny Fisher Salon, March 8th, 2018
Keele University, March 6th, 2018
...more events to come throughout 2018 - 2019
What We Now Know - a creative collaboration inspired by #MeToo: A Women's Poetry Anthology. Video created by Adam Clarke & Victoria Bennett of The Common People. Written & recorded by Beth Porter & Ben Please of The Bookshop Band. Video created using Google Tilt Brush software. Longlisted Saboteur Awards 2018 Best Collaboration.