Ms. Muse: Melissa Studdard on the Power of Poetry to Create the World We Want

Ms. Muse is a discovery place for riotous, righteous and resonant feminist poetry that nourishes and gives voice to a rising tide of female resistance.

How do you redeem a woman’s worst nightmare lived—or at least one of them? How do you give a mute, silenced or dead woman a voice? These are a few of the questions answered by Melissa Studdard’s poems.

“after I died / I put my clothes back on. / Like women do. / When everything has been taken.”

Jennifer Baumgardner’s New Journal ‘LIBER’ Marries Women’s History and Contemporary Feminism

Jennifer Baumgardner, founder and editor of LIBER: A Feminist Review, believes that a literary journal can be a place where women’s history intersects with today’s most pressing feminist debates. Baumgardner and Charis Caputo, LIBER’s senior editor, aim to include “a lot of diferent perspecives and be a big feminist tent for as many people as possible.”

The Pioneering Black Sci-Fi Writer Behind the Original Wakanda

MIT rarely allows Hollywood films to be shot on their campus. So it was a surprise when an email went out in 2021, alerting students that a film titled Summer Break would be filming at the school. Turns out, this was the working title of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

But something else was special about Wakanda Forever’s filming location. The MIT scenes were shot a stone’s throw from where, a century before, Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins worked at the Institute. Hopkins is credited with inventing the setting that eventually became Wakanda in her science fiction, but her name isn’t widely known.

“She was a powerhouse, an innovator and an intellectual dynamo.”

‘I’m This. I’m That. I’m Many Things’: Pratibha Parmar on Andrea Dworkin and ‘My Name Is Andrea’

Pratibha Parmar’s 2022 film about Andrea Dworkin brought both pushback and praise within feminist and queer communities. In this Q&A, Parmar shares her thoughts on reactions to the film but also about her interest in Dworkin.

“There is an arc between generations of female artists’ protesting violence against women. And I want Andrea’s voice to be part of the conversation on its own terms and in its complexity.”

What Our Primate Ancestors Can Teach Us About Dismantling the Patriarchy: The Ms. Q&A with Diane Rosenfeld

A new book shines an intriguing new light on the possibilities for alliances among women in the ongoing struggle to end men’s violence against women by examining the social organization of one of our closest primate relatives. In The Bonobo Sisterhood, Harvard Law School professor Diane Rosenfeld shows how we have much to learn from the bonobos about how to eliminate male sexual coercion.  

“Patriarchy is not inevitable; the bonobos are living proof of that.”

National Youth Poet Laureate Finalist Jessica Kim on Writing as a Road to Self-Discovery

National Youth Poet Laureate Finalist Jessica Kim wasn’t always a writer—in fact, she did not start writing until three years ago, when the pandemic seemed to shear all facets of normalcy.

Founder and editor-in-chief of The Lumiere Review and author of L(eye)ght, Kim never thought of poetry as something that could exist anywhere except in her own headspace. “Finding something that clicks with you and only you and not someone who would judge or review your work is extremely important in viewing yourself not only as a writer but as a very being.”

October 2022 Reads for the Rest of Us

Each month, I provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups—to do my part in the disruption of what has been the acceptable “norm” in the book world for far too long (white, cis, heterosexual, male); and to amplify indie publishers and amazing works by writers who are women, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, APIA/AAPI, international, queer, trans, nonbinary, disabled, fat, immigrant, Muslim, neurodivergent, sex-positive or of other historically marginalized identities—you know, the rest of us.

Make some time to read one or two of these 30 new books, or whatever goes well with your pumpkin spice latte or hot apple cider.

Ms. Muse: The Coffee Must Be Excellent and We Must Dance—to Defy Russia

The following poems of resistance are written by five poets who identify as women or once did. These poems are about our lives, our mothers and grandmothers, our younger selves and changing selves. The myths, lies and abuse we were raised on. Our beauty and our truths, our lovers and marriages, children and childlessness. The particular deals we make with our lives and “the true honey of freedom.”

Our poetry and stories—our songs—bring us together, remind and ignite us, and make us strong.