womenpoets

The Type by Sarah Kay

Everyone needs a place. It shouldn’t be inside of someone else. -Richard Siken

If you grow up the type of woman men want to look at,
you can let them look at you. But do not mistake eyes for hands.

Or windows.
Or mirrors.

Let them see what a woman looks like.
They may not have ever seen one before.

If you grow up the type of woman men want to touch,
you can let them touch you.

Sometimes it is not you they are reaching for.
Sometimes it is a bottle. A door. A sandwich. A Pulitzer. Another woman.

But their hands found you first. Do not mistake yourself for a guardian.
Or a muse. Or a promise. Or a victim. Or a snack.

You are a woman. Skin and bones. Veins and nerves. Hair and sweat.
You are not made of metaphors. Not apologies. Not excuses.

If you grow up the type of woman men want to hold,
you can let them hold you.

All day they practice keeping their bodies upright–
even after all this evolving, it still feels unnatural, still strains the muscles,

holds firm the arms and spine. Only some men will want to learn
what it feels like to curl themselves into a question mark around you,

admit they do not have the answers
they thought they would have by now;

some men will want to hold you like The Answer.
You are not The Answer.

You are not the problem. You are not the poem
or the punchline or the riddle or the joke.

Woman. If you grow up the type men want to love,
You can let them love you.

Being loved is not the same thing as loving.
When you fall in love, it is discovering the ocean

after years of puddle jumping. It is realizing you have hands.
It is reaching for the tightrope when the crowds have all gone home.

Do not spend time wondering if you are the type of woman
men will hurt. If he leaves you with a car alarm heart, you learn to sing along.

It is hard to stop loving the ocean. Even after it has left you gasping, salty.
Forgive yourself for the decisions you have made, the ones you still call

mistakes when you tuck them in at night. And know this:
Know you are the type of woman who is searching for a place to call yours.

Let the statues crumble.
You have always been the place.

You are a woman who can build it yourself.
You were born to build.

10

The first LFF Art + Poetry Salon at Sallery Studios was a success! Four artists and three poets conversed about their work, grad school, feminism and more. We hope to make this a tradition.

Participants:

Sarah A. Chavez earned a PhD in English with a focus in Creative Writing (poetry) and an interdisciplinary specialization in Ethnic Studies, with a focus on Chican@/Latin@ & Native American literature and culture, from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Her poetry can be found or is forthcoming in the anthologies Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence, Not Somewhere Else But Here: A Contemporary Anthology of Women and Place, and In Gilded Frame: An Anthology of Ekphrastic Poetry, as well as the journals Third Wednesday, LunaLuna Magazine, The Fourth River, North American Review & The Acentos Review among others. Her chapbook, All Day, Talking, was published by Dancing Girl Press in September 2014.

Sally Deskins is an artist and writer. Currently a Teaching Assistant in the Art History Graduate Program at West Virginia University, her work challenges society’s definitions of femininity, exploring womanhood and motherhood in her life and others’. Her art has been exhibited in galleries in Omaha, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago; and featured in publications such as Certain Circuits, Weave Magazine, andPainters & Poets. She has curated various solo and group exhibitions, readings and performances centered on women’s perspective and the body. Her writing has been published internationally in journals such as Stirring, Prick of the Spindle, Bookslut and Bitch. She is founding editor of LES FEMMES FOLLES. She has published four LES FEMMES FOLLES anthologies of art, poetry and interview excerpts can be found on blurb.com. Her first illustrated book Intimates & Fools, with poetry by Laura Madeline Wiseman, came out in 2014. http://sallydeskins.tumblr.com/

Jill Khoury earned her Masters of Fine Arts from The Ohio State University. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous journals, including Arsenic Lobster, Copper Nickel, Inter|rupture, and Portland Review. She has also been anthologized in Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence, and edits Rogue Agent, a journal of embodied poetry and art. Her chapbook Borrowed Bodies was released from Pudding House Press. You can find her at jillkhoury.com.

Michelle Furlong, the artist behind One Peace at a Time Art, focuses on positive message pieces. She finds her experiences, good and bad, have been an inspiration in her life. She believes that the way she chooses to live is a form of art. She uses mixed mediums to create and repurposes items for her pieces. Michelle compares her life to a bracelet and those moments when she has profound human connections are the charms. She creates from those charm moments. She lives in Morgantown, West Virginia with her Australian husband. She has raised money for local charities by donating pieces to be auctioned. She has exhibited at Mon Arts, and was a featured artist in the publication, Appalachian Jamwich where she was referred to as the “Mother of Positivity”. She was recently interviewed for two publication articles, LES FEMMES FOLLES and My Morgantown Magazine, scheduled to be published this spring. She states, “If one kind act is the result of someone responding to one of my pieces and in turn causes a positive chain reaction, my goal has been met. It would be a dream to create something that would change the world”.
Interview and gallery exhibition links:
http://www.appalachianjamwich.com/2013/11/25/one-peace-at-a-time-art-by-michelle-furlong/
http://www.monartscenter.com/archives/3677
Website:
http://onepeaceart.wix.com/one-peace-art

Hillary Leach is an artist, painter, and free-thinker living and working in Morgantown, WV. She is originally from Jacksonville, FL but has spent most of her life living in the Northeastern U.S. Currently she makes her home in the mountains of West Virginia. Hillary received her BFA in painting from West Virginia University in May of 2014. Hillary graduated from WVU cum laude and was named to the Dean’s List with a 4.0 GPA. She was a recipient of the National Merit Scholarship, the Johnston Scholarship, and the Promise Scholarship. In the summer of 2010, Hillary traveled to Paris, Lichtenstein,Munich, and Switzerland to explore the art and culture of these places, and these travels have since informed her work and ignited her heart. In the fall of 2015, Hillary’s work will be published as part of the International Painting Annual, an annual ehibition-in-print curated by Manifest Gallery of Cincinnati, OH. Her paintings have also been featured in a group exhibition juried by Carol Hummel, along with various other exhibitions around Morgantown and the surrounding areas. http://hillaryleach.carbonmade.com/

Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of twenty books and chapbooks and the editor of Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press). Her recent books are Drink (BlazeVOX Books), Wake (Aldrich Press), The Bottle Opener (Red Dashboard), and the collaborative book The Hunger of the Cheeky Sisters (Les Femmes Folles) with artist Lauren Rinaldi. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Margie, Mid-American Review, and Feminist Studies.

Bio Not Listed: Lisa Guiliani, ceramicist

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Les Femmes Folles: TALES featuring Lauren Rinaldi with work by 16 artists from around the US, runs May 8-30, 2015 at Monongalia Art Center in Morgantown, WV. Details: http://femmesfollesnebraska.tumblr.com/events.

Les Femmes Folles is a volunteer organization founded in 2011 with the mission to support and promote women in all forms, styles and levels of art from around the world with the online journal, print annuals, exhibitions and events; originally inspired by artist Wanda Ewing and her curated exhibit by the name Les Femmes Folles (Wild Women). LFF was created and is curated by Sally Deskins.  LFF Books is a micro-feminist press that publishes 1-2 books per year by the creators of Les Femmes Folles including Intimates & Fools (Laura Madeline Wiseman, 2014) and The Hunger of the Cheeky Sisters: Ten Tales (Laura Madeline Wiseman/Lauren Rinaldi, 2015). Other titles include Les Femmes Folles: The Women 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 available on blurb.com, including art, poetry and interview excerpts from women artists. A portion of the proceeds from LFF books and products benefit the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Wanda Ewing Scholarship Fund.