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.
Do You Know Who I Am?
by Emily Keigher
Inside the walls I am agreeable
I coach my face into understanding
And smile and nod emphatically
We are so oppressed
As the circle of friendship chafes
Around my neck
Then I am between different walls
But I am just as agreeable
Face stuck in a pleasant expression
Some women are such feminazis
While all passion eludes me
The familiar walls of my bedroom
Are closing in on me
I am forced to look in the mirror
At my expressionless face
Still not quite right.
Emily Keigher is a junior at The Winsor School in Boston. She enjoys playing field hockey and lacrosse.