a Vox folio Curated by Jennifer Martelli and Cindy Veach
Everyday, we are witnessing women speaking out, giving their trauma words. Ten years ago, Tarana Burke urged us to “tell your story, if you’re compelled to tell it.” The #MeToo movement was born out of her need to create a place of empathy for women who have been victims of sexual violence. This was the space safe enough for Burke’s own daughter to tell her story. But it’s an old story and many of us carry the grief and danger deep in ourselves.
Curating this folio was a mighty and humbling task. We were honored by the solemn words transcribing and transforming violation. We were also given the privilege of witnessing the empathy each poem engendered and reflected off the other. As Idrissa Simmonds writes in her poem “Opening Night of the Christmas Lights Display at Spanaway Park,”
Here is the version of your life
with the mother strong as jubilation
who understands that nothing she fears is new.
While reading these poems, you’ll see images of burial, of dirty, of being dirty. “I bury it again and again—“ Jessica Goodfellow confesses, “but it surfaces from the mulch.” Eileen Cleary, in her poem, “Me Too,” addresses familial shame:
Your sister saw leaves and mud all over
you. She knew. You knew she knew
and neither one said. Me Too.
You’ll also see images of celebration, strength, and transcendence. Jennifer Franklin uses the myth of Philomela in her poems and proclaims: “In these brutal scenes, I discover/something better than beauty.” The poets in this folio create art: tapestry, dance, poetry.
All the poems in this folio are meant to be read over and over, out loud, with “audacity.” Savor this refractive place. Think of the questions Zeina Hashem Beck asks in “Triptych: Voice,”
what is a girl what is this sound what is this voice
It is with great honor that we present this Vox Folio: #MeToo.
Cindy Veach and Jennifer Martelli