What has been left out: Feminist Caucus Living Archive Series

Edited by Shazia Hafiz Ramji

Contributors: Ayesha Chatterjee, Shazi a Hafiz Ramji, Joanne Arnott, Sadiqa de Meijer, Jónína Kirton, Valerie Mason-John, Andrea Thompson, Ayesha Chatterjee, Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Joanne Arnott, Sadiqa de Meijer

From the introduction: Poetry is an uncontainable art and it has done the work of freeing me this
apocalyptic year.

As the editor of the 2020 Feminist Caucus chapbook, I proposed the initial theme of “decolonizing feminism” with the hope of encouraging BIPOC women to foreground their lives, experiences, writing, and writing processes. With help from Ayesha Chatterjee and Lesley Fletcher of the League of Canadian Poets, we were able to bring together three pairings of six women in total to discuss their work in podcast form and share their poetry in this chapbook.

One of the consistent challenges of being an editor is balancing representation. Every edited collection has its limitations and the six poets gathered here do not stand in for representations, but instead offer a “multiplicity of stories” as Joanne Arnott reminds us in “Truth & Wreck.”

Jonina Kirton challenges us to testify against the “polite discourses” of toxic femininity, writing after Roxanne Gay who says, “when we keep these men’s secrets, we allow their predatory behavior to thrive,” while two poems from Valerie Mason-John speak to fathers and sons, police brutality, the aftermath of violence, and women’s pain.

Ayesha Chatterjee’s “White Peacock, Lily Pool,” reclaims orientalist tropes about princesses in a poem dedicated to the late Maharani of Jaipur. Sadiqa de Meijer questions origins in a poem that harkens to our animal kinships, while Andrea Thompson’s poetry swims across the page to unmake race and
desire. My own offering voices a long-disappeared woman in my family history.

And even though some of these poems are dark, they are freeing, because they are our voices.

I finished reading The Blue Clerk by Dionne Brand this year, and I’ve come to realize that poets are like the clerk in Brand’s book: we are always collecting and inventorying, endlessly. Always touching the world through our senses. And because the clerk urges the author to include what has been left out, she is revolutionary. In her spirit, I have chosen not to edit the poems in this chapbook, so that we can be free, in however small a way.

Shazia Hafiz Ramji’s writing has been shortlisted for the 2020 Bridport Prize for International Creative Writing and nominated for the 2020 Pushcart Prizes. It has appeared in Event, Best Canadian Poetry 2019, Maisonneuve, Gutter: the magazine of new Scottish and international writing, and is forthcoming in Vallum and ARC Poetry Magazine. She is the author of Port of Being, a finalist for the 2019 Vancouver Book Award, BC Book Prizes, Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, and winner of the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. Shazia’s fi ction has recently appeared in the short film, Colour Study, available on CBC Gem. She is at work on a novel.

(NOW CLOSED) Submission guidelines:

  • Submissions are open to Canadian citizens and poets living and/or practicing in Canada.
  • All submissions must be in DOC, DOCX or PDF format.
  • Images should be 300 DPI or higher.
  • Open to members and non-members 
    • Members may submit up to 2 poems 
    • Non-members may submit 1 poem
  • Please complete the form in its entirety. If you have trouble with the form, contact [email protected]
  • We accept simultaneous submissions. If your piece is accepted elsewhere, please notify us immediately.
  • Selected poets will receive a $25 honorarium per selected poem.