Now Reading
Denice Frohman on “A Woman’s Place”

Denice Frohman on “A Woman’s Place”

With contributions from 41 poets, Women of Resistance: Poems of a New Feminism moves across race, age, gender identity, class, sexuality, and life experience to present a full, complex picture of the true diversity of contemporary womanhood that’s too often overlooked. Contributors include Denice Frohman, Elizabeth Acevedo, Sandra Beasley, Jericho Brown, Mahogany L. Browne, Danielle Chapman, Tyehimba Jess, Kimberly Johnson, Jacqueline Jones LaMon, Maureen N. McLane, Joyce Peseroff, Mary Ruefle, Trish Salah, Patricia Smith, Anne Waldman, and Rachel Zucker.

With a portion of the proceeds also supporting Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights, Women of Resistance is a worthwhile read for anyone wanting to better understand today’s feminist fight in the US.

Here’s an exclusive excerpt from Denice Frohman.

“A Woman’s Place”
Denice Frohman

i heard a woman becomes herself
the first time she speaks
without permission
then, every word out of her mouth
a riot
say, beautiful
& point to the map of your body
say, brave
& wear your skin like a gown or a suit
say, hero
& cast yourself in the lead role
when a girl pronounces her own name
there is glory
when a woman tells her own story
she lives forever
all the women i know are perennials—
marigolds, daffodils
soft things that refuse to die
i don’t come from anything tamed or willing
i come from soil flossed with barbed wire
meaning, abuela would cuss you out
with the same breath she kissed
you with her blood
a wild river
my mother doesn’t rely on instruction manuals
or men nor does she equate the two
can fix anything
if you get out of her way
says the best technology
is her own two hands


but once, i dreamed I had no teeth

just a mouth to hold
other people’s things
if this poem is the only thing that survives
tell them i grew a new tongue
tell them i built me a throne
tell them when we discovered life on another planet
it was a woman
& she built a bridge, not a border
got god & named gravity
after herself.

See Also

Women of Resistance: Poems of a New Feminism
Edited by Danielle Barnhart and Iris Mahan
OR Books
Published March 13, 2018

To get 20% off the cover price, please use the discount code RESISTANCE at purchase on the OR Books website.

Help the Chicago Review of Books and Arcturus make the literary conversation more inclusive by becoming a member, patron, or sponsor. Each option comes with its own perks and exclusive content. Click here to learn more.

View Comment (1)

Leave a Reply

© 2021 All Rights Reserved.