Gwyndyn Alexander's Digging Up My Bones is less a collection of poetry than it is a battle cry. It challenges us to stand up, speak out, and change the world in a meaningful way. More than that, it encourages us to love ourselves and help raise our sisters up.
There's no attempt to hide the biting social commentary that drives many of these poems. I'd hate to be a Trumpite reading this, for danger of choking on some pretty harsh truths. (See "A Conservative Prayer" and its counterpart, "A Liberal Prayer".) It's not all about politics, though.
The female experience is at the heart of Digging Up My Bones. Alexander knows our pain, our fears, our struggles, and successes because she is us. She manages to give personal trauma universality that says, I know our experience isn't the same but our pain is.
Digging Up My Bones is written in plain and simple language, which makes it accessible to all levels. It doesn't use the grandiose, flowery vocabulary we sometimes expect when reading poetry but, in this case, it works. The personification used to invoke powerful women of myth and history is every bit as powerful in these poems as it is in the grand Romantics'.
Those are the poems that I loved most. I would love to see an entire tome dedicated to great (and not-so-great) women of lore. That being said, "Shaman" was probably my favorite poem of the lot.
I breezed through Digging Up My Bones, then had to go back and read it again. It made me smile and it made me want to smash things (starting with the Patriarchy.) This is a must-read for feminists, those in recovery, and members of the Resistance.
Oh, and can I get a tee-shirt that says "Gorgon and Proud"? Or, maybe one that says, "Not Your Ariel"...