Today’s prompt is another rewrite. Thorson says: “And now for our (optional) daily prompt. Hopefully, this one will provide you with a bit of Friday fun. Today, I challenge you to write a parody or satire based on a famous poem. It can be long or short, rhymed or not. But take a favorite (or unfavorite) poem of the past, and see if you can’t re-write it on humorous, mocking, or sharp-witted lines. You can use your poem to make fun of the original (in the vein of a parody), or turn the form and manner of the original into a vehicle for making points about something else (more of a satire – though the dividing lines get rather confused and thin at times).”
My attempt at the prompt on day 14 has an interesting twist. The poem is not so famous, but the poet is—Elizabeth Barrett Browning. In 1856, Barrett Browning published Aurora Leigh, a “novel in verse” that follows the title character, an aspiring poet, through several pot-boiling twists. In one revealing passage, Aurora’s cousin and would-be suitor, Romney Leigh, summarizes his attitude toward her and women writers of that era in a passage that I quote below. I rewrote that passage.
So, I rewrote the poem from a feminist perspective and titled it “Woman Poet Extraordinaire”
Woman Poet Extraordinaire
Therefore, this same world
that you understand and influence
with your strength and courage will
always be changed by you and
women of the world. Women brave,
strong, and at work in the world
will always change it by their very presence.
You are more than a doting mother and a wife!
You are more than a sublime Madonna ,
a seductress, or an enduring saint.
You are divine!
You are woman!
You are leader, artist, writer,
inventor, healer, builder.
You are poet extraordinaire!
Jacquelyn Markham (4/14/2023)
Here’s the original in which her cousin addresses her, knowing of her aspirations to be a poet:
Therefore, this same world
Uncomprehended by you must remain
Uninfluenced by you. Women as you are,
Mere women, personal and passionate,
You give us doting mothers, and chaste wives.
Sublime Madonnas, and enduring saints!
We get no Christ from you,—and verily
We shall not get a poet, in my mind.
The Poetry Foundation explains: “As starkly sexist as the above passage might seem to contemporary readers, the idea that women and female experience were incompatible with poetry continued to hold sway for the next 100 years, until second-wave feminism of the 1960s and 1970s brought a political and cultural watershed. Women fought for equal treatment and civil rights; meanwhile, women poets created structures to support one another while profoundly changing poetry itself.” (www.poetryfoundation.org)
We only have to look at the last two United States Poet Laureates to see “women poets extraordinaire”! Currently, Ada Limon and former, Joy Harjo. Two of my favorite poets.