Superstition Review is a literary journal from Arizona State University, and I am so tickled that they published two of my poems. Also, they posted an audio clip of my reading of both poems. Follow this link:
So you don’t even have to read them yourself, just put up your feet and listen for two minutes.
The first poem is called “One of Her Parents was a Float.” It’s a poem inspired by adoption. Until the poem I published with Plath Poetry Project a few months ago and this one I hadn’t written an adoption poem in a long time. I feel really pleased with the originality of this way of looking at the subject.
The second poem was inspired by seeing a photo online of a little girl named Minnie Rae PREGNANT in 1871 San Francisco.
In those days, there weren’t any services to help girls like this. Charity and all the baggage that came with it was all anyone could hope for. What baggage? Demands about doctrine, religion, and lifestyle, all the while not providing enough to live on.
But if you think nothing like this has happened in a long time, I’ll give you an anecdote from the late 70s. That is a long time ago now, but it has teemed in my head since then. The gardener’s cousin was married to a wonderful man who taught in an inner city school in a very poor area of NYC. One of his students was 8 years old and pregnant. He struggled with how to deal with the horrors he faced every day in the classroom.
Is stuff like this still going on today? Let me know what you think!
44 responses to “Two Poems Up at Superstition Review”
I would like to think this doesn’t happen today, but I think it still does. It makes me both boiling angry and overcome with a feeling of helplessness, as does a lot of things in the world today. I think this is a very important post, Luanne. It’s important to shed light on things, if I’m honest, most of us wish would remain in the dark. Once we know, we can’t un-know. Thank you.
Oh, and congrats on publication!!
I think you might be right. Is it more hidden today maybe? Even abortions performed on children? “Once we know, we can’t un-know.” Oh, so true This stuff just haunts me. xo
Me, too. xo
You are spot on, Cheryl
Congratulations on the publication Luanne, two powerful poems and it was good to hear them read by you as intended to be heard! Sadly, I think things like this are still going on today – recognised now as abuse, but as a result maybe both more and less visible…
Thanks you, Andrea. Oh, I so suspect that you are right. And maybe more visible because there are services available? But less because there is more repercussion? Instead of just letting her be pregnant in public, somebody would have taken her for an abortion OR put her on birth control???
Yes, or sad to say she would have ended up in some kind of slavery.
I agree about the “some kind of slavery.” I think it happens more often, even today, than we can ever imagine. I hope I am wrong.
Beautiful poems, both of them Luanne. You have a wonderful way of looking at the world and pulling us in to the most important slices of life. As for “does this still happen today?” Given what we know about trafficking of children, the rate of sexual assault, poverty and abortion laws, I’d say Yes it still happens. Women and their bodies are still widely regarded as commodities used for pleasure and disposal at the whims of others.
Thank you so much. and I have to believe you are correct about it still happening today. and when you say “women and their bodies” I would say also children’s bodies. We have been working on that issue in the last 20 years or so, but it’s still not where it should be. Very very well put, Susanne. So maddening!!!
It was a treat to listen to your poems, Luanne. This is the best wat to appreciate the work of a poet. Thanks you both were lovely.
Thank you so much, John. I also love to listen to poets read their work.
Congratulations, Luanne! I enjoyed the poems, especially since you were reading them to us, but I couldn’t see if your neck was red. LOL! 🙂 Your voice sounded exactly how I thought it would…so sweet. <3
I laughed so hard at this! I know. I heard somebody say something about Dr. Birx’s scarves, and my first thought was “maybe she gets a red neck”!!! You are too nice. Thank you!
The poems are wonderful, Luanne. Such an important topic and yes, I think highly relevant today. Sadly.
The second poem reminded me of the episode of Call the Midwife last night on PBS. The same topics were written about in that television drama, too. It’s pervasive in every society. Sadly.
I feel like that’s a show you recommended to me before that I have never seen. We had a TV switch (the equipment through DirecTV) and it’s been months and I still can’t work the TV!!!. Shows you how often I feel motivated to watch! I fear you are right. I really think it happens more than we can ever know, but I want to be wrong.
Much more than we can ever know. I’m with you. I want to be wrong.
Congratulations! That second poem really got to me.
Yes, stuff like that still goes on–as far as young girls getting pregnant. Of course, what becomes known is only because someone does reveal it. I’m sure there is much worse behind closed doors. Sometimes the girls have to marry their rapist. I remember a recent case–but I forget where it was–where a young girl, maybe 12? was not permitted to get an abortion.
I know you are right. It’s so awful, though.
I hope you were able to have a good Mother’s Day today, Merril. I know it’s got to be a really hard one for you, but hopefully yours daughters made you feel good.
They did. Thank you!❤️
Congratulations on your publications, Luanne! It was a treat to hear you read. The second poem in particular was very vivid and moving. The sensory imagery puts us in the scene so that we can’t look away.
Yes, I wanted to pin the reader to the path, force him/her to walk that walk to end up where the girl is. Thank you so much for noticing that, Liz!!!
You’re welcome, Luanne!
Powerful poems, Luanne. I enjoyed being able to hear you read them.
This sort of thing is still all too common today. Even here. Very sad.
Eilene, thank you so much! While I don’t like to hear myself read or talk, it’s much better than seeing myself on video hahahaha.
I think you are right. It’s just tragic.
Wow! Those are powerful poems, Luanne. Well done!
Anneli, thank you so much! I appreciate your support so much. xo
Two amazing poems, Luanne, and I thought Tin Types was impressive, but these—
“Those things” like the pregnant 10 year old do still happen today, and yes, many times we teachers are the first to know. I remember in the 80s I received a call at home from one of my students, a Latina girl in seventh grade who started the conversation with, “My dad and his friend were drunk in the kitchen, and I had to go in the bedroom to put on my nightgown behind the door and my dad’s friend came in and did what he shouldn’t have done…nine months I saw her and her dad and brother in the grocery store and she had a baby in a blanket, too young to even be taken out. Poverty still exists. Also about five years ago we had an 11 year old impregnated by her stepfather and the family decided for the girl to keep the baby; they were strongly anti-abortion. Then a cousin “stepped up to the plate” and took in the girl and raised both the girl and her baby. It will be interesting how this plays out in a few years.
Oh Rae. Well, you would know. This kind of witnessing is something I was hoping but dreading to hear about, if that makes sense. It’s just heartbreaking that these tragedies still happens. Thank you for letting us know what you’ve seen.
What a delight to hear your voice! The second poem is so powerful. Those images are incredibly clear and evocative. I could feel the girl’s fear and loneliness.
The adoption poem is harder for me to understand. Maybe because I’ve had no experience with adoption except as a friend of adopted children and adopted parents. Can you help me understand it? Sorry for being so dense.
Thank you so much, Amy. I am so glad you were able to feel for the girl!
You are far from dense. I think you probably just need to let your imagination go when you read a poem, and don’t try to read it like a law text ;). It’s more a matter of feeling first, sense second. But the other thing is, with poetry, it’s very important to realize you don’t have to appreciate or understand or like every poem. It’s not a failing in your reading. Poems are more personal. Everyone has an individual reaction to a particular poem. And probably most important of all, I’m trying to learn that the poet shouldn’t explain her poems. She ends up going down one path instead of all the paths, and thinning out the poem. Made that mistake, and I hope not to do it again ;). Happy MOther’s Day, Amy! I hope you had some Zoom family time today! xo
Congratulations on the publications, Luanne. Nothing has changed for so many. While we sit in our comfy cozy homes, many are still facing horrors we can’t even imagine. I’ve seen enough to know it’s still out there. The world is a big place and not everyone has the same set of values. I’m not particularly hopeful that it will ever be worldwide that we cherish our female population as human rather than commodities.
Wise words, Marlene. Yes, I’m not particularly hopeful about that either. I hope you had a good Mother’s Day today!!! xo
Your poems take my breath away, Luanne!! And you know I’ve never fancied myself a poetry lover… usually i find them too personal, too abstract… but these sure aren’t abstract! Nor are they personal – although of course they are, in that you wrote them, but I mean they’re really universal, aren’t they? Just beautiful. And so, so sad. Such girls are walking proof of the criminality, the evil, of some men. 😢
Love your poems, Luanne! What a treat to hear you read them! I wish I could say that horrific things don’t have to little girls any more but …. In my job, I have access to birth certificate records and I do see how young some girls are when they give birth. It’s heartbreaking.
Oh no! I just knew this stuff was going on, but hearing you and Rae with your witnessing UGH. So so tragic.
Wonderful poems, Luanne. I have no experience of adoption but I can see that children who are put up for adoption’s birth parents are an unknown quantity in most cases – they could be anything and could come from anywhere. Those poor children have no family history to attach themselves to and to which they belong. The children are then adopted by parents who are also (to the children) an unknown quantity.
That shocking photo of the ten-year-old Chinese girl! These things do still go on. ‘Grooming’ I think they call it now and these days with contraceptives, child pregnancies are rarer but do still happen. We have to know about and consider these unpalatable truths.
It’s just awful that these things are still going on. It’s so important to fight for children and animals, the vulnerable among us! Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment (as always), Clare!