Day 28: Women

All the women in novels I’ve been reading lately have been doing a lot of cheating on their husbands then dying, I’m thinking of Emma Bovary and Anna Karenina, even Tess of D’Urbervilles. Obviously they reflect their times, and I enjoy the books muchly, but it made me think about writing a ranty poem. It is nothing you haven’t heard before, but here it is:

Women have affairs, and die

Their bodies under train lines

By churches, poisoned by arsenic

Their lust drowns

Their failing bodies, fallen women

Their fates all loaded with stones and sewn

Into coats, their anonymous bodies in that age

Where teeth identify no one, where bones

Are simple, sad reminders


Women have babies, and die

By childbirth, by abortion

By self attempted abortion: a coat hanger, medicine

That is bought from round the corner

Illegal surgeons,

Then, suicide in rivers


Women are whored out or angel high

Suicidal sluts or nervous tic in the wings

Their halos trembling at the approach of the world

On another note, I recently read The Crimson Petal and the White, published 2002 by Michael Faber. His is a more modern take on Victorian women, they are still abject but more heroic than the men overall. He chooses to approach the subject from the whore’s angle, and his whore Sugar is more survivor than victim. She seems to have escaped by the end of the novel, though there isn’t a view into her future. I can’t say I thought the writing was as good as A.S Byatt’s Possession, which some reviewer compared it to. Most of the reviews online are of the T.V adaptation, here is a Guardian book/T.V review:


The Stirred quad is formed of Rebecca Audra Smith, Anna Percy, Jasmine Chatfield and Lenni Sanders.

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Posted in NAPOWRIMO Becca, Reviews

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The Stirred team at Reclaim the Night Manchester 2015
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