Toni in the Room with the Yellow Wallpaper – Irma Do

Her voice bounced off the yellow wallpaper,
Reverberating with strength and wisdom,
Uplifting the mahogany tones
In the old-fashioned design.
She refused to allow the surround to distract her,
Refused to explain her powerful gift.
She rose above inert ideas
Owning her freed self.


Toni Morrison died this past Monday, leaving behind an unapologetic legacy of literature centering Black American lives. She spoke candidly about racism in America, calling its function a “distraction” (read more here).

In this quadrille for De Jackson at dVerse (Quadrille # 83 – Voice), I have imagined her in the setting of Charlotte Gilman’s novel, The Yellow Wallpaper, to fulfill Christine’s Brave and Reckless August Feminist Book Title Challenge.

For me, Toni Morrison embodied the ultimate goal and greatest achievement for any writer/poet – that is, to write stories/poems as your Authentic Self.

You can read more of my writing at I Do Run

Featured Post: Dear Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Yellow Wallpaper) – V.J. Knutson

I have examined your wallpaper,
discussed the scholarly attributes
of shades of yellow, traced the edges
of your unravelling with my mind,
argued the merits of Gothic horror;

marvelled at the brilliance of wording,
the courage to define the nature of
feminine madness, the boldness to
highlight inequalities long before the
establishment of a Person’s Act.

Forgive me, but I need to set aside
this keyboard for a moment, for I tire
easily, am suffering from an exhaustion
that is systemic and calls for elimination
of all stimulus in favour of rest, you see

I share your sentence of confinement,
isolated to a room with windows, my
mind wandering to ancestral gardens,
contemplating shadows and movement
cognizant of underlying forces, creeping.

My husband has just left, dear man, having
checked on me, taking on my burden,
concerned that I am not sleeping at night
thinks that by reading and rereading your
words I am only fueling an already over-

active imagination; begging me to be still
as the doctor has recommended; but I am
burning to tell you that time has no
relevance between us and that you and I
exist simultaneously – a secret we dare

not confess – how correct your impulse
that there was more than one woman,
that we are many, barred by the designs
of society, papered over by irrational,
outdated shades of yellow, lacking

symmetry, or sensibility, suffocating
our creativity, tortuously contorting
ourselves to been seen, accepted.
It is the smell of our discordant souls
that pervades your consciousness

the rotted withering of  a stifled
existence – a yellowed existence –
once hopeful, sunny, now molding
mucous, desperately torn away
at the edges, pleading for escape

How grateful I am that you see –
may I call you Charlotte – that you
have smelled the angst, witnessed
the struggle, are willing to tear at
the sticking places, to set us free.


You can read more of V.J.’s writing at One Woman’s Quest

Featured Post: The Yellow Wallpaper – Tamara Fricke

A butterfly trapped in your net,
again, unable to fathom such
a carefully laid cage, again,
still knowing, painfully and
again, that every wing beat
is a lifetime lost; stillness is
a guillotine again, because
your affection crawls slowly
through wallpaper, again
consuming tendons, blood,
and bone, again and I die
screaming in silence
again.


Tamara Fricke is the 2010 co-winner of the Gertrude Claytor Award of the Academy of American Poets and is previously published by The Lyon Review, Meat for Tea, Attack Bear Press Poetry Vending Machine, Whisper and the Roar, We Will Not Be Silenced, and has been included in a number of compilations.  Her poetry chapbook Our Requiem was released in 2014.  She lives in Springfield, MA, with an ungrateful cat, where she writes grants professionally.

Featured Post: The Yellow Wallpaper – Georgiann Carlson

she was kept in a room
or a box
as she thought of it
dismissed by those around her
who never listened to a word she said
or understood what she meant
labeled
as
unimportant
worthless
insane
she was bored
and purposely driven mad
by those who were supposed to love her
she started crawling
around the baseboard
pulling off small strips
of the yellow wallpaper
that’s when she began to talk to herself
finally having someone who would listen
so she crawled
and she talked
and she tore
and as she tore
the strips grew larger
and larger
which made her very happy
so when she finally
killed her husband
she wrapped him
in strips of yellow wallpaper
and in the silence
when she could no longer
hear his hateful voice
she began to blossom


I’m an artist, a writer, a vegetarian, an animal rights activist, and quite a few other things as well. I love books, cats, philosophy, good conversation, Chicago and the arts. So my blog is full of bits and pieces but it’s the bits and pieces that make life interesting to me. You can read more of my writing at Rethinking Life

Yellow Wallpaper – Susanne Alexa N. Hillman

With my sisters we tore down the yellow wallpaper
the maddening one that ensnared you when you wanted to run
we found you hiding under the bed shaking and mumbling
and we listened and returned to you your song
which had been silenced by a heedless spell.
We patched up the walls and painted them purple
and then we opened some windows so the light could shine through
we folded the shreds into paper boats and set them afloat
on the river by the well
your husband, we sent him to hell.


Susanne Alexa N. Hillman grew up trilingual in Zurich, Switzerland with a Swedish mother and an American father. The first time she heard poetry was at the C. G. Jung Institute, where her father was director of studies. Though very young, she remembers the beauty of language and the rapt audience in the dark, packed auditorium. At 18 she moved to New York to pursue music, playing drums in the bands Hit By A Truck, Five Easy Pieces and Lieutenant 70. She was part of the New York underground scene of the 1980s and spent most of her young years in clubs dancing, attending concerts, rehearsing, and performing. In her 30s she studied art history and received a PhD with a dissertation on Robert Rauschenberg. She then moved back to Europe to start a family and write, and spends her summers on a remote island in northern Sweden. She has lived in Berlin since 2013 where she became inspired by the lively English language poetry scene to write poetry full-time.  You can read  more of her writing

 

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: The Yellow Wallpaper

Throughout the month of August, Christine will be providing a daily writing prompt based on the title of a seminal feminist book. These are designed to inspire you to write a poem, prose piece, or a piece of flash fiction in 30 minutes or less.

The only rule is that you use the book title as your piece title OR integrate all the words in the title into your piece somehow

If you would like to have your piece considered for publication on Brave and Reckless and Whisper and the Roar, email your prompt inspired pieces to Christine at her.red.pen.wordsmithing@gmail.com.

You can also participate on Facebook by tagging your writing with:

  • # the title of the daily theme
  • #FeministBookChallenge
  • #braveandreckless66

or on Instagram by tagging your writing with:

  • # the title of the daily theme
  • #FeministBookChallenge
  • @christabelle1966

You can also share your response pieces in the comments below the Daily Prompt.

The Yellow Wallpaper