I came across an old post I wrote for the rape crisis center I work at, where I did a poetry review on Sunday’s. I decided to review poetry written about and in response to the pain and suffering of violence. How do people write about rape, sexual abuse, violence? How does one use poetry to write about the unbearable, the unthinkable, the unimaginable? I’m starting with Maya Angelou’s poem: “Some Kind of Love, Some Say”

“is it true the ribs can tell

The kick of a beast from a

Lover’s fist? The bruised

Bones recorded well

The sudden shock, the

Hard impact. Then swollen lids,

Sorry eyes, spoke not

Of lost romance, but hurt.

Hate often is confused. Its

Limits are in zones beyond itself. And

Sadists will not learn that

Love, by nature, exacts a pain

Unequalled on the rack.”

What do you think about this poem, how does Maya use poetry to write about intimate partner abuse? What does her title mean? So often such abuse, violence and rape is couched as love, described as caring to try to lessen the harsh reality of power and control dynamics. How does language get used to try and change the perception of abuse as necessary action, as love, as teaching? How did this dynamic of needing to control others through pain start?

Do you have poems you would like to share? Do any of my readers write about their experiences through prose or poetry? I would love to read them, please feel free to share here either in the comments or I am happy to have you guest post.