Today I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing local poet, feminist and person of interest, Rachel Bower. It was a real privilege to listen to Rachel, whose multitudinous accomplishments as a poet, mother, academic and activist (the list could go on…) are varied, impressive and more than a little kick-ass. The points she raised on the importance of intersectional activism in an increasingly divisive world were imbued with a decided sense of hope, and interviewing Rachel was an uplifting experience in itself. When at times there was a strong sense of mutuality and common experience this felt like an achievement to me. That the nodding heads and knowing smiles we share when women impart their testimony is a positive engagement with something bigger than ourselves. The project provides something which can validate our own testimony without minimising it to the trivial or omitting it entirely – as happens so often when women have chosen to speak. As my first interview it really confirmed for me the importance of the archive and recording the marginalised voices of women in history – for them, but also for ourselves.
If you’d like to know more about Rachel (and you should) then take a look at her website (https://rachelbowerwrites.wordpress.com) where some of her poetry is available to read. Rachel speaks of the process of re-humanising some of the issues she observes in the world, and one can read this in her poetry – she can make the seemingly historically or geographically distant feel very present and personal.
Rachel is also the founder of the intersectional feminist arts collective Verse Matters which “provides a supportive space for poetry, spoken word, storytelling, music and comedy, showcasing the work of talented people in a friendly, safe environment” at Sheffield’s Moor Theatre Deli (https://versematters.wordpress.com/). If you haven’t already attended one of their events then I highly recommend it. You WILL laugh and you WILL cry.
Thanks for reading!