Liberating Words: “The Next People”

The poems in our ongoing “Liberating Words” series were written in an interdisciplinary course for high school juniors at The Winsor School, an all-girls school in Boston, Mass. The course, “The Personal Is Political: An Interdisciplinary Look at Feminism,” is co-taught by Libby Parsley, a History teacher, and Susanna Ryan, an English teacher. The second unit of the course focuses on the history and literature of second-wave feminism—the women’s liberation movement of the 1960’s and 70’s. Students read a compilation of poems by women writers from that period and then wrote their own poems; the assignment asked them to represent an issue or problem they see as central to 21st-century women’s experience through the very personal genre of poetry.

Emily Carlin / Creative Commons

The Next People
by Selina Li

There exists a world called the Garden of Eden

Of such dangerously beautiful edible flowers

Crimson, gold, and silver-like

Sharp-beaked birds

Fragile tigers and tamed lions

Mirroring infinite lakes and rivers

A perfect world

A white world

A world belonging to man and woman

A world belonging to a perfect white man and a perfect white woman

The perfect white woman belonging perfectly to the perfect white man

Adam and Eve

Lived in a universe void of pain and suffering

Until the taste of forbidden fruit

Tempted her and seduced him and

Then from within them

We came

Selina Li is a junior at the Winsor School in Boston. Her favorite hobbies include watching Korean drama, eating, and smashing the patriarchy.



Lia Kornmehl is a junior at the Winsor School who is passionate about jazz music, milk chocolate, and equal opportunities for women in the workplace.