Monday, 4 November 2013


I have three poems on Michelle McGrane's excellent site Peony moon. This month's issue is "Against rape" and features some powerful poems by such as Marge Piercy, Helen Moffet, Shazea Quraishi, Geoffrey Philips, Helen Ivory, and myself.

My own poems are taken from a forthcoming pamphlet "Philomela" which will be published by Happenstance Press, possibly in 2015, or maybe sooner, I haven't got a publication date yet. It is loosely based on the Greek myth of Philomela and Tereus (Tereus raped Philomela and cut out her tongue so she couldn't tell the story) but it is set in modern times. I was interested in the way rape victims are either silenced by fear and shame, or silenced by the way rape is handled publicly. Silenced by the police, by the courts, silenced sometimes by their own mothers, their families. It is a terrible experience, traumatic, scarring, very damaging to the sense of self almost to the extent of losing the self altogether unless helpful, empathetic action is offered and taken.

A great deal of media attention is being paid to the matter recently but are we any closer to making it a heinous crime? Is it ever going to be a relatively straightforward business for such a victim to voice his/her complaint and be taken seriously and listened to? Why should a young woman who is brave enough  to take a stand end up killing herself after the treatment she receives in the courts? Rape itself is a kind of killing; it's absolutely outrageous that taking it to court should end in another killing.


  1. Gill, thank you for this post and for the contribution of your very powerful poems, 'It', 'Unwanted' and 'Back Street' from Philomela.

    I look forward to reading your pamphlet when it's published.

  2. They are very strong poems, Gill. Looking forward to our reading together tomorrow night.

  3. Thanks Angela -this is written after our joint reading so thanks too for joining me for that - it was a very pleasant evening and a good audience despite the weather!