Sunday’s Poem Review: Maya Angelou

In Art therapy, Sexual Assault Awareness on May 16, 2010 at 8:18 am

I am taking the Sunday blog this month.  I decided to review poetry written about and in response to the pain and suffering of violence.  How do people write about rape, sexual abuse, violence?  How does one use poetry to write about the unbearable, the unthinkable, the unimaginable?  I’m starting with Maya Angelou’s poem:  “Some Kind of love, Some Say”

“is it true the ribs can tell

The kick of a beast from a

Lover’s fist?  The bruised

Bones recorded well

The sudden shock, the

Hard impact.  Then swollen lids,

Sorry eyes, spoke not

Of lost romance, but hurt.

Hate often is confused.  Its

Limits are in zones beyond itself.  And

Sadists will not learn that

Love, by nature, exacts a pain

Unequalled on the rack.”

What do you think about this poem, how does Maya use poetry to write about intimate partner abuse?  What does her title mean?  So often such abuse, violence and rape is couched as love, described as caring to try to lessen the harsh reality of power and control dynamics.  How does language get used to try and change the perception of abuse as necessary action, as love, as teaching?  How did this dynamic of needing to control others through pain start?

Do you have poems you would like to share?  Do any of our readers write about their experiences through prose or poetry?  We’d like to read them.


  1. I liked your poem. I am moving this section to Anti-Violence Advocate http://www.preventviolence.wordpress.com if you should want to share again.

  2. I’m a male who was gang raped as an adult forty years ago. Writing poetry about the hurt and anger (Mine and theirs) has been my main source of figuring my way through this thing that has no end. Writing has helped me keep my sanity. It’s my way to defuse the evilness their actions left behind for me to lug around.

    You asked if we would like to share our poetry and I would. I’m not sure if this is the place forgive me if isn’t. I’m not a poet – no training – so expect little.

    Weighted Net

    Secrets twisting, weaving, intertwining truth with the lie
    Sharing, revealing hidden trauma refusing to hide
    Holes of omission, furtive whispers are knotted and tied
    Oh, the entanglement ‘neath this weighted net
    That allows for breath while from freedom I’m kept

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