Living Through Poetry

This week we lost an incredible individual. Maya Angelou was many things to many people. I listened to her narratives in History classes and analyzed her poetry in English classes in college. Her way with words was absolutely mesmerizing. She had an ability to tackle issues that no one wanted to hear and turn them into something exquisite. Through her life experiences and her passion, she gifted the world with her timeless writings and moving poetry. She paved the way for writers and poets, not only in her lifetime, but for generations to come. 

The NSVRC library holds a number of inspirational poetry pieces and resources written for and by survivors. In Cabin Six: An Anthology of Poetry by Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse, edited by Jill A. Kuhn, presents a collection of poems written by adult male survivors of childhood abuse. The poems look at survivors’ relationships with men and women, their sexuality and sexual feelings. The issues of, loss of childhood, self-image, trust, recovery, ending the silence and confronting the abuser are discussed as well. The book also contains a brief annotated bibliography. 

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by writer and poet Audre Lorde, features the author's personal pieces. Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia and class through fifteen essays and speeches. Her prose is incisive, unflinching and lyrical. She challenges the reader to speak and act for themselves. The book reflects struggles, but also offers messages of hope. 

Another excellent resource housed in the NSVRC library is, “Giving Name to the Nameless”: Using Poetry as an Anti-Violence Intervention with Girls and Young Women by Mariame Kaba. This resource is intended to be used to engage young women and girls in discussing the impact of gender-based violence in their lives. The guide includes over 30 poems that addresses gender-based violence as well as suggestions for individuals who are interested in facilitating poetry circles with girls and young women.
For some, poetry and writing allows an individual to express themselves in ways they never could through spoken word. Maya Angelou provided the world with the treasure of her heart and soul. She made it ok to face struggle and hardship and provided a silver lining on a dark cloud. Through her words and the words within these resources, there is a sense of self and a sense of freedom. Poetry is proof that there really is power in the written word. 

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”  ― Maya Angelou

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