My theme this year is the ABCEDARIA of Women who have inspired me.
G is for Sue Goyette, poet.
photo by Katherine Wooler
Look at her! My heart could burst with delight that this poet is my pal. She has inspired me for going on 14 years, both by her writing and by her passionate and endlessly inventive life. If you haven't read her poetry - get thee to a bookstore or library immediately. Her last book of poetry is called The Brief Reincarnation of a Girl. I cannot adequately describe this work to you but I will try. The Brief Reincarnation of a Girl follows the true story of a four-year-old Massachusetts girl who had died from a prolonged exposure to a pharmaceutical cocktail prescribed by a psychiatrist to treat ADHD and bipolar disorder. Her parents were convicted of her murder. Goyette sets the narrative poem in the courtroom but it is a court you've never seen before. Poverty shows up as a mean-hearted bully, the ghost of the girl is there and her protector - a large bear. Although you may feel at times like throwing the book down in frustration at a system that could have created such a disaster - stay with it. There is a kind of redemption in the madness.
Ocean is the name of the book of poems Sue wrote before The Brief Reincarnation of a Girl. It was short-listed for the Griffin and for those of you who aren't either into poetry or not Canadians - this is a huge honour. It is the largest poetry prize for an work in English in the world. There were only three poets short-listed. Ocean takes on a mythical community of shore dwellers and their relationship to the ocean, itself a character in the narrative.
Goyette inspires me with her spirit, her fierce desire for equality, her tireless work in the world of community building, and her brilliant sense of humour.
G is for Artemisia Gentileschi - Artemisia Gentileschi was an Italian Baroque painter, today considered one of the most accomplished painters in the generation following that of Caravaggio. Like Sue Goyette - she was considered a fierce opponent of those who took advantage of the downtrodden - particularly women and the poor. She had been raped when young and not only successfully prosecuted the rapist, she often featured the victimization of women in her works. She was the first woman to be admitted to the Accademia di Arte del Disegno. I guess I don't have to tell you why she inspired me, do I?
The work she is most known for is Judith Slaying Holofernes. This one is a self-portrait of her as a lute player.
Have you got any ancient or modern inspirations in your life