“coming/ in the front door/not locked/not safe/not sane”

becoming #formidable

 

https://www.sixfold.org/PoFall13/Phelps.html

These five poems published in Sixfold Fall 2013continue my work of emotional healing through “story.”  The working title of this manuscript, for tea with dolls, is referenced in poem iii.  The work itself is mined from “memory exhumed” within the context of night terrors I recorded over a two year period from 2009-2011 after both my parents crossed over within twenty-nine days of one another (this after having been divorced for thirty plus years).

Sixfold is a completely writer-edited-by-vote journal and I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in its becoming.  Writers read and critique each others work and then rank the manuscripts they read, thus the top voted manuscripts are “voted” into publication.  Mostly, the participating writers are kind and helpful.

In the case of this work, I got varied reactions.  One of them was not so kind.  She writes:

“Purely confessional, no development. More like journaling without thought to line breaks. Capitalizing on abuse doesn’t make poetry; you have to do something with the trauma: digest it, utilize it, transform it somehow. Pity is a cheap, easy, and short-lived emotion.”

Thankfully, I am no stranger to critique and I know myself and honor my work.  I could not have even submitted this work without having done a great deal of emotional healing already.  But, if I were less #formidable, this might have ended my work and thus my healing process.

What I want to say to the MFA candidate who wrote this harsh critique is this: “Who is talking to you this way about your work and healing process?”  And, “Why are you letting them?”

What I want to say to others who are participating in the healing process through story is this: “Never let anyone talk to you this way or keep you from telling your story.”

 

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