ARC review of Women of Resistance

Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism

By various poets, edited by Danielle Barnhart and Iris Mahan

Poetry collection


Published on March 13th 2018

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher!




A bit of Denice Frohman’s poem, “A Woman’s Place”

Women of Resistance is a new collection of feministic poetry from a variety of different poets. The collection is a reaction to the 2016 Presidential election but it includes a variety of different cultural experiences. It is a celebration of the complexity and diversity of feminism and its objective is to combat racism, sexism and violence.

Poetry is difficult to review. It’s difficult because everyone experiences poems differently (and that’s what is so fantastic about poetry). We even vary in our experience of a poem according what kind of day we are having. In my opinion, poetry induces more diverse experiences and opinions than any other format of literature. Therefore, I can review this collection but my review is only reflective of my subjective experience. I might not even agree with myself if I were to reread this collection. But isn’t that magical!

My favourite thing about this collection is its diversity. It is diverse in cultural background, gender, sexuality, and religion, and that is something to be celebrated in its own right. As a bookaholic feminist, I have devoured quite a few books about feminism but way too often those books are about and for white, straight or gay women from Western countries. Lately, feminism has received some much needed celebration of colour and sexuality but for some reason, gender is still rarely acknowledged. Women of resistance includes feministic poems by men and about men. Which kind of makes me confused as to why the collection is named the heavily gendered ‘Women of Resistance’ instead of just ‘Poems for a New Feminism’. Although I do admit that Women of Resistance sounds catchy.

A bit of Elizabeth Acevedo’s poem, An Open Letter To The Protesters Outside The Planned Parenthood Near My Job

Women of Resistance should have been a poetry collection to cherish for years. A poetry collection to come back to whenever in need of a little soul therapy. Unfortunately, this collection did not do that for me. There are close to 150 poems in the collection but I went through a powerful experience with only 9 of them. That said, those 9 poems well perfectly worth reading through all the others and they made me mentally scream “FIVE STARS, FIVE STARS”. (All three poems (or one poem and two bits of poems) I included in this review are some of those 9.)

For the most part, this collection just did not stir me into any direction. It’s not that I hated these poems, but I lacked feeling overall. Which, I must admit, is one of the worst things to happen when you’re trying to enjoy poetry. My lack of feeling was partly induced by the format of poems; I happen to dislike abstract, long-form poetry, and I would classify quite a few of the poems in this collection in that category. I prefer short poetry in which you say little but mean a lot. I know my categorisations probably make no sense, so let me just give you one example of what I loved.

Safia Elhillo’s poem, Dowry

I would not recommend this poetry collection for someone new to poetry because of the largely abstract content. However, if you have read a collection or couple and you’re looking for something new, this might be the one for you. Remember that your experience of it might be the opposite of mine.border2

Do you read poetry? Are you planning to read this one? Any poetry recommendations? Tell me in the comments below as I would love to know 😊

Thank you so much for reading!

– Pauliina


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