Five Feminist Poems for National Poetry Month: “4. From ‘Fleet of Nouns’”

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What makes poetry musical? What makes poetry pleasing to the ear? Poets use a variety of tools to achieve the musicality of poetry. In this selection from a long poem by Sina Queyras, she uses anaphora, the repetition of the first words of a line, to build both musicality and a strong, supple power. Queyras […]

MOM BABY GOD: Going Undercover in the Anti-Choice Movement

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Imagine heading out for a night of theater, only to end up chanting along with the rest of the audience: “We are the pro-life generation!” If you’re lucky enough to catch a performance of the currently touring MOM BABY GOD, you just might find yourself unexpectedly wrapped up in a “pro-life” slumber party, meeting all […]

Two Plays By Women, Two Worldviews

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When I hear producers say, “Plays by women don’t sell tickets” (and they seem to say that a lot), I always find myself asking, “Which plays by which women?” The classification “plays by women” denotes nothing other than the author’s sex, and any two plays by any two women are as likely to be as […]

Five Feminist Poems for National Poetry Month: 3. “Invisibility Terror: a prose poem”

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Feminist poets often take material for their poems from media headlines. Feminist poets often respond to and rewrite the news of the day in their poems. In “Invisibility Terror: a prose poem,” Cheryl Clarke examines the world post-9/11, making linkages between “Arab and Muslim people” and her own experiences with police officers 35 years ago […]

What Women-Led Movies Can Do for Hollywood

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In 2012, women made up a larger share of moviegoers than men, and yet there’s a general consensus in Hollywood that women-focused films—which attract women to movie theaters—are bad for business. In fact, the myth is so pervasive that former Warner Bros. president Jeff Robinov once declared that his company would stop making films with […]

Five Feminist Poems for National Poetry Month: 2. “Rose and Snow Tell the Field Their Troubles”

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In our second poem for this year’s National Poetry Month, poet Jenny Factor voices two familiar female protagonists, Rose-Red and Snow White. “Rose and Snow Tell the Field their Troubles” is a persona poem: The poet uses the voice of another character—here, the mythical characters from the Grimm fairy tales—to narrate a story. Giving new […]

Venus in Fur: Is It Good for the Feminists?

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Before I met 36-year old Chicago-based director Joanie Schultz, I never really saw or thought about the connection between Jane Austen and the politics of the dominatrix. This was among the topics we discussed recently at the opening of  a production of Venus in Fur that Schultz directed at the Goodman Theater in Chicago. The comedic […]

Five Feminist Poems for National Poetry Month: 1. “The Hawk”

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“Poets are some of feminism’s most influential activists, theorists, and spokeswomen; at the same time, poetry has become a favorite means of self-expression, consciousness-raising and communication.” Jan Clausen, A Movement of Poets, 1982   Thirty-two years later, Clausen’s assessment of poetry remains apt. Poetry is a site of vibrant feminist activism where women give voice […]

Why Couldn’t “Divergent” Give Peace a Chance?

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Divergent isn’t perfect. And I am not referring to the film’s dystopian world, wherein society has been split into six “factions”—the smart (erudite), the peaceful (amity), the truthful (candor), the selfless (abnegation), the brave (dauntless) and the outcasts (the factionless). I am referring to the fact that it does not, as with most mainstream dystopian […]

When Women’s History Comes Alive

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Studying, understanding and honoring women of the past, whether in America or across the globe, most commonly follows two themes. First, the rediscovery of women’s lives and contributions can be summed up in the image described at a recent Women’s History Month luncheon I attended:  We stand on the shoulders of the women who came […]