Canadian

An Honest Woman

In this collection of poetry, Jónína Kirton confronts readers with beauty and ugliness in the wholesome riot that is sex, love and marriage

Jónína Kirton

An Honest Woman by Jónína Kirton confronts us with beauty and ugliness in the wholesome riot that is sex, love and marriage. From the perspective of a mixed-race woman, Kirton engages with Simone de Beauvoir and Donald Trump to unravel the norms of femininity and sexuality that continue to adhere today.

Kirton recalls her own upbringing, during which she was told to find a good husband who would "make an honest woman" out of her. Exploring the lives of many women, including her mother, her contemporaries and well-known sex-crime stories such as the case of Elisabeth Fritzl, Kirton mines the personal to loosen the grip of patriarchal and colonial impositions. (From Talonbooks)

From the book

declared a day of mourning

for the missing

I hang REDress on my balcony

go outside to look for others

nothing all balconies clear of red

so I walk the streets

hoping to find others

few know that I am one

of the "lucky ones"

raped never murdered

only parts of me are missing

now sixty

I worry for the lost

for the "lucky ones"

aware that porn producer once said

every day another girl turns eighteen

so many bus stops truck stops with one-way tickets

grief cuts bone

the daily dismemberment of our hearts

as our girls are manipulated

reported missing

and their loved ones left

to drag rivers in Winnipeg

while others walk highways of tears

where it has been said

you can feel

the spirits of the missing

and today in this city on this day of mourning

their redress arms empty

they wave to the cars that pass them by

on roadsides on balconies

all reminders of what we are missing


"REDress" by Jónína Kirton, from An Honest Woman ©2017. Published by Talonbooks.