Red Sky: Poetry on the Global Epidemic of Violence Against Women

Red Sky by Melissa HassardRed Sky: Poetry on the Global Epidemic of Violence Against Women, Edited by Melissa Hassard, Gabrielle Langley, and Stacy Nigliazzo

In 2015, Caroline Minjares was murdered by the violent boyfriend she was trying to leave. Devastated by the news of her co-worker’s death and furious of the media attention focusing on the ‘firefighter’ boyfriend, poet Stacy Nigliazzo dedicated a poem to Caroline’s memory. “Triptych (for Caroline)” became the inspiration for an anthology of poetry addressing violence against women. A rich myriad of voices grace the Red Sky collection of over one hundred poems and is September’s selection for the Social Justice Reading Group.

The poets of Red Sky invite us in to their stories of violence, with language sometimes lyrical sometimes brutal, to the existence of intimate partner and stranger violence, sexual abuse and assault, military and police cruelty, and the effects on survivors, families, and cultures.

“The Last Santa Muerte” by Katherine Durham Oldmixon is a concise yet vivid account of browsing a Mexican herb shop. The last line connects the charms to harsh realities. “She is patron of the desperate poor, of the rich drug lords, of all those who pray for the good death and to stave off the violent, and of the disappeared, the women of Juarez whose bodies are the desert, whose hopes are its wind.” North Carolina’s current poet laureate, Jaki Shelton Green, contributes a powerful poem entitled “brothers with dreadlocks will kill you too” signifying to the reader that colorful, pleasant scenes and horrific attacks can exist in the same truth.

Red Sky is a compelling, unique collection acknowledging the physical and sexual violence women endure globally which affects all of us, directly or indirectly.

The Social Justice Reading Group will meet on Monday, September 24th at 6:00pm at May Memorial Library. Copies of Red Sky are available for checkout at the Reference Desk.

May Memorial Library will be hosting Writing to Heal, a community reading and writing workshop on Saturday, September 29th from 2:00-4:00pm using poems from the Red Sky anthology. The program offers opportunity for open dialogue on issues surrounding gendered violence such as the cycle of violence, the impact on families and communities, the ways in which we communicate through writing about violence, and the importance of speaking out as an avenue to recovery. Poets Melissa Hassard, managing editor of Red Sky, and Debra Kaufman will also lead a writing exercise for new and seasoned writers alike. This program has been made possible with support of the North Carolina Arts Council and the partnering arts councils of the Regional Artist Project Grant Program.

Katie DeVriese is a reference assistant at May Memorial Library. Contact her at kdevriese@alamancelibraries.org or (336) 229-3588.