What is NaPoWriMo, you ask?

Well, it’s the National Poetry Writing Month, in which participants challenge themselves and each other to write one poem a day each day of April, so 30 new poems in 30 days!

I love this challenge, and have gotten some very unexpected poems from it, as the daily prompts and my commitment to exploring what exists inside of me based on those prompts often unleashes my voice in ways I had no idea it was attempting to announce itself. People who know me, know that I have maintained a commitment to writing EVERY SINGLE DAY for over twenty-three YEARS and even though that practice of landing on the page every day has honed my ability to listen to that creative voice inside of me, I still find myself surprised by at least once a week during this challenge. The poem in the photo below is an excerpt from a poem I wrote during last year’s NaPoWriMo challenge. I have no idea where it cam from, but a year later and I’m still pleased with it.

I hope you’ll consider joining us this year so that you can steep yourself in your own voice rising and in poems by others along for the challenge via the NaPoWriMo website.

And, as April is National Poetry Month, there are a lot of ways to celebrate poetry available. The Academy of American Poets will email you a Poem A Day or you can participate in their Poem in Your Pocket Day  event on April 27th. There are also poetry readings and festivals happening all over the United States, so check out your local options and attend a reading in your area. Wait…you say there are NO poetry readings in your town? Perhaps you might consider organizing and hosting one. Most local coffee shops, independent bookstores, libraries and bars are usually open to offering their space for poetry events, so explore the options and bring people together to share their poems in public.

There are so many options, and only 30 days. However you join us, I hope you enjoy this month and all of the poems that speak to a voice inside of your heart.

All peace to each one of you.

Dora E. McQuaid

Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post

Beautiful people, April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Each year, The National Sexual Violence Resource Center identifies a theme for this year’s campaign. The 2017 theme is Engaging New Voices.

 The NSVRC website states:

During Sexual Assault Awareness Month survivors and advocates engage the greater community in prevention efforts. We know that one month isn’t enough to solve the serious and widespread issue of sexual violence. But the attention April generates is an opportunity to energize and expand prevention efforts. There’s no better way to expand the scope of SAAM than by reaching out to a broader audience.

That’s why Engaging New Voices is the theme of the 2017 SAAM campaign. Because we can’t reach everyone. But we can identify key leaders who will — leaders whose influence is necessary in achieving cultural change not just in April, but all year long.”

 If you are in need of support, please refer to the listing of International Resources for Survivors of both Sexual and Domestic Violence
here on my website. This is an extensive listing of resources that provide emotional, legal and medical assistance and support. Thank you.

And all peace to each one of you, especially those of you in need of safety and healing.

Dora

There are moments in my mind’s eye when I see us. I see him turned away from me, his left shoulder jutting from the sheets like a ridgeline, the nape of his neck and his muscled back. His arms are lost to me. Unbidden, the image of us surfaces. My entire body stills itself in the face of it and I think: I had not been prepared for that, the possibility of coldness, or its dark remove. And I think: A woman too long unheld becomes silence, becomes plane and angle and  hollows. She becomes the distance herself, the color blue when it is both cobalt and indigo, the moments of quiet between the church bell rings, the slow walk through the gravel parking lot when the moon is full, singing alone. She stops singing along to the songs she plays to fill her house to push the “less-than” back into its corners and she begins to only listen. Her whole body is listening. She is standing at the window at dusk watching the light change, the shadows come on and stretch and become the night itself announcing. She is still and silent and unreachable. Now she is listening elsewhere, with the thin fiber of her being. She looks as if she could disappear at any moment without warning, as if she could dissipate right before you. You would reach for her as her outline began to shimmer only to find yourself standing, alone, with your one hand suspended into emptied air.

© 2016 Dora E. McQuaid

In celebration of today as International Women’s Day, and the Day Without A Woman Strike, and in honor of the countless women around the world who continue to rise against oppression and injustice, demanding to be seen and heard, counted and considered, and whose courage, conviction and committed action continues to lead the way forward in uplifting the lives of all women.

Women are changing the world, all over the world.

This Huffington Post collection of photos showing women protesting around the world is galvanizing.

60 Stunning Photos Of Women Protesting Around The World

Look at us. Look at how powerfully we have been made. Look at how beautiful that power, passion and presence are when we stand in it and from it, especially when we stand in it and from it together.

Together, we are a force undeniable.

Tell one woman in your life today that she is amazing. Look her in the eye and lift her up, in honor of all of the badass women all over the world.

This photo with Gloria Steinem was taken backstage at Penn State in 2002, after Gloria spoke to a standing room only audience at Eisenhower Auditorium. I was overjoyed to meet Gloria, whose writing stretched my sense of the possibilities for women when I started reading her in my teens and whose fierce and committed activism, not to mention great sense of humor, have continued to inspire me ever since. The list of women who have influenced my work is endless, but today, on International Women’s Day and A Day Without A Woman Strike, I am celebrating every one of them. To all of the women who have inspired and supported me, I thank you and I celebrate your power, passion and presence today.

Please tell one woman in your life today that her badass, bold and beautiful presence is a blessing in your life. All peace to each one of you today, as we continue to rise together.

Dora

2002 Dora and Gloria Steinem

You want to ‘motherfuck’ everyone.
You want to punch the old lady in line in the grocery store,
in the throat, before she says another word.
You want to tell the male barista
“It’s a large, not a damn Venti.”
You want to crush a finger of the young woman
with the blue eye shadow behind the counter at the DMV.
You want to ask the person at the party,
spouting bad fear-based news rhetoric,
“Are you freaking serious?”
You want to shriek in the library,
in the church,
in the departmental meeting at work,
in the 5:00 pm traffic with the windows rolled down,
into your own pillow on your own bed
with the door closed
until the shriek
becomes the tears,
until the tears
become the song
that saves you.

So let it save you.

©2012 Dora E. McQuaid

Dora at Shiprock, New Mexico, July 23 2016, photo by Andrea Griffin

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