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1. Be a feminist 2. Write a poem Not as simple as that No There is a third secret step 3. Use your poem to advocate for women’s rights and a fourth 4. Advocate often if advocating means activism if activism means being active if advocating often means being active often I am not a feminist poet I cannot advocate, I cannot often My hands are too full of pushrims and cane handles to carry this cap I am, likewise, ineligible for membership of the dead poets society ladies auxiliary division I’m not dead yet I will, I know, die before my time a reduction of 5 to 10 years I’ve been promised (A small loss according to the NHS) My early death alone is insufficient to expedite my application I am not letting this go I can’t afford the luxury of activism of advocating when I can only go out twice a week and then I have to spend the next day in bed when a venue listed as wheelchair accessible has no disabled toilet I’m not letting this go not when my last relapse left me unable to write more than one hundred & forty characters in one go for months on end I am not letting this go I am a feminist I am a poet I’m holding a card Do you need me to show it.
1. I wrote ‘How to be a feminist poet’ in response to the criteria for inclusion in a journal issue featuring feminist poets.
2. The poem appears in the online journal Forage.
Copyright © 2017 Lindsay Oliver