Deborah's debut poetry pamphlet 'vigils for dead and dying girls' is out now, published by Nine Pens.
Lay down your flowers and raise up your fists…
Deborah Finding’s debut poetry pamphlet, ‘vigils for dead and dying girls’ takes the feminist slogan ‘the personal is political’ to heart, as it approaches sexual violence and inequality as both painfully individual and deeply systemic.
Dark humour, magic and witchcraft play their part in the tales told here, whether the fate of fairy tale characters in a mental health institution, or a girls’ brunch-turned-hexing session with some of mythology’s most powerful goddesses. Music is also a key theme throughout: providing the backdrop to a sexual assault, used as a tool for healing, and providing the rhythm of a feminist protest anthem.
Poems drawn from front-page headlines of violence against women - such as the high-profile murders of Sarah Everard, Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman - and associated misogyny in policing, legal and media institutions sit alongside broader reflections on the insidious cultural abuse of women and girls. Societal pressures, sexist tropes and the constant threat and fear of violence faced by women are depicted with deftness and wit as Finding draws on her professional and academic expertise in gender and trauma to create an easily accessible space, in which the radical truth-telling and rigour required for these highly-charged topics is balanced by compassion and care for her audience.
‘vigils for dead and dying girls’ is a display of anger, empathy and solidarity: each poem standing as a candle shining light into a dark place, but also offering hope for a better future.