Rumors, Secrets, & Lies is a collection of narrative poems, prose poems, flash fiction — stories about abortions, unplanned pregnancies, adoptions, and joyous births. 116 writers, including Naomi Shihab Nye, Ellen Bass, and Alicia Ostriker, tell their stories — how women, and men, navigated this always-charged and emotional landscape before and during Roe v. Wade.
This heart-felt collection was inspired by the recent Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022. The book was sent to the printer on Aug. 31, just two months later. Submissions arrived from all over the U.S., but also from as far away as South Korea and Israel.
The book is divided into five sections: Rumors Secrets & Lies; Choice/No Choice; Loss; Changes, Birth & Joy; and, Frontlines.
"In the late 1960s, girls just disappeared from high schools and were never seen again. One cocky boy would nod knowingly and say, Another victim, gone to the forests!" — Naomi Shihab Nye, from "Rumors"
"Monet, Cezanne, Pissarro, Vincent, waiting room walls / are all the same, framed Impressions looking at you. / Sarah is waiting, watching a waiting room clock forget, / holding, tightly, my hand with both of hers." — Earl S. Braggs, from "The Weight of Not Answering"
"My blood contains the risk / of something missing, a malformation / of the head / — or worse." — Rebekah Denison Hewitt, from "Karotype"
"I would have been dead / in twenty-four hours, / had the doctor not given me / the cruel diagnosis / Not a baby, but a lethal weapon / ready to explode inside." — Janet Yolen, from "It Grew"
"... still / she gave this child every intricate bone of both feet, / the hollow vertebrae, tiny liver, / lungs that fill with air for the first time / and begin, without a lesson, / bringing this world in and releasing it." — Ellen Bass, from "The Human Line"
"what is the womb, / but the notion that / you could replicate yourself?" — Fariha Tayyab, from "Blood and Glass"
"this baby won't come || I make peace with the birds || my body a branch left || now all sky || with the river I make peace || succumb to the eddy || I want this baby || from the moment I knew" — Karla Van Vliet, from "Delivery"
"and here she is / unbreathing on your chest, her skin so sheer / you can see her little blue heart slow its thump" — Kari Teicher, from "Undone"
"Try the word abortion in a poem / it sits, a boulder in the center of the page / the other words tiptoe around it / too nervous for conversation" — Nicolette Reim, from "Pen in Hand"
CAROL LYNNE KNIGHT is co-director of Anhinga Press. Since 1992, she has edited and designed more than 100 literary publications for the press. She is the author of three books of poetry, A Fretted Terrain, Like Mars (Apalachee Press), Quantum Entanglement (Apalachee Press), and If I Go Missing (Fernwood Press). Her poetry has appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, The Ledge, Slipstream, Comstock Review, Redactions, So to Speak, Rivet, and others. In her prose life, she has finished drafts of four novels about 1960s teenage life in Dade County, Fla. She is a graduate of the University of Miami and Florida State University. She taught college studio classes in digital art and has exhibited digital prints, video, and pottery. She also has worked as a copy writer and graphic designer. She lives in Tallahassee, Fla.
KRISTINE SNODGRASS is an artist, poet, professor, curator, and publisher living in Tallahassee, Fla., USA. She is co-director of Anhinga Press. The proud founder and curator of Women Asemic Artists & Visual Poets (WAAVe), she searches to create an online space for women in the asemic and vispo communities to share work, offer support, and network. The project aims to showcase more women in asemic and vispo galleries, exhibits, and publications. She is Managing Editor and Editor of the WAAVe Global Gallery (Hysterical Books), an anthology of women asemic writers and visual poets.Most recently, she is the author of American Apparell from AlienBuddha Press. She loves collaborating and is always searching for new projects with artists and poets.
"What do poets do amidst the chaos created by the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade? They write — in a new anthology from Anhinga Press, over 100 poets re-examine the past, remind us of the days before the landmark ruling, and help us consider each pregnancy's complexities, for all involved." - Michael Trammell
"I sat down this afternoon and began reading the anthology of poems, and I am blown away. So powerful and moving and disturbing and real. Lynn, I can't believe you put this together so well, in such a short time. Bravo." - Susan Strauss
"Thank you for creating this important project! So much anguish has been unsaid, unheard. So much anguish is coming. Thank God we have poetry and ways to share it." - Marda Messick