Emily Dickinson Poetry for Women, 2013: The Congo, Darfur, Bosnia, Amherst?

Uploaded by micarmean on 01.12.2010

This is a really important, wonderful occasion for me
and uh it it's the first time that I have
had an opportunity to talk about my book publicly
and I would like to thank Susan
for allowing me to do this here
and thank the
renowned cinematographer Jim Simak
for being here as well

I think most of you who know me and most of you do pretty well
I think I'm going to start
with a footnote that has a footnote that has a footnote
and what I'm meaning is
I was doing research on Google this last week and wanted to
makes some kind of confirmation, specific confirmation about
a belief I had about
sexual offenses or violence during war
and how it may parallel with or does parallel
in my belief
with sexual violence at home, within the home
and in doing that I Googled Catharine MacKinnon whom
is in both of my ackknowledgements she's in my personal acknowledgements

and she is in the more formal acknowledgements because I quoted her.
She is a professor of law at the University of Michigan, [at] Ann Arbor
I have said in a kind of majestic way a feminist jurisprudence scholar,
uh, she has argued before the Supreme Court several times,
she transformed the law
for women nationally and globally
opening, and I like this phrase, opening the legal system and then it does say of that
the ground-breaking case, or as I like to say giving ground,
by defining rape
as an act of genocide
and I knew that she had worked with, represented rather,
women in Bosnia-Herzegovina
who were rape victims during the war and that is in other words, it comes under speaking of the umbrella, of human rights,

and that it's a war crime.
Well, I'll show you because I have it here:
That warfare,
global violence and domestic violence,
can barely be differentiated
when the weapon as a phallus symbol
becomes a phallus as weapon.
One's social, collective,
meaning, uh
the phallus as a weapon
the other intimate or individual, all painful,
closer than hand-to-hand combat,
and personal,
as our vaginas are historically
the spoils of war.
Whether the despot is abroad or within the home.
And then I have the first lines of Emily Dickinson's poem 0:03:45.339,0:03:48.589 "I am afraid to own a Body -
I am afraid to own a Soul -
Profound -
Property -
Possession not optional -".
It is where east meets west and in all places in between,
benign or brutal,
possession and control give power its power.

And speaking of my book being on the broader plane,
and speaking of, uh, what is the difference between, or can you find really the difference between

global violence or
nations at war,
or domestic violence, and
one thing that I think really, really,
gives you that sense of that there isn't really a difference, is the fact that deadly or death-defying
a near universal experience of a woman being raped
is the belief she is going to die,
and dear Emily Dickinson wrote "The Soul has Bandaged moments
When too appalled to stir
She feels some ghastly Fright come up
And stop to look at her"
and so then
you have Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Amherst ...
and, uh, I wrote in my
chapter which is simply called "The Rape"
"The bandage was white as was the dress worn daily after her father's death by the reclusive
a small finely stitched garment that hung in Emily Dickinson's closet for years
on public display for visitors to her upstairs bedroom in The Old Homestead."
and she just, you know, I'll repeat the first stanza
"The Soul has Bandaged moments
When too appalled to stir
She feels some ghastly Fright come up and stop to look at her."
Which I think is,
which only a poet could put into words
you know that moment of belief "I'm going to die ... ".