Monday, April 16, 2018

Ichabods Speak Out: Poetry in the Age of Me, Too


We are living in the age of #MeToo. This viral social media movement has millions of participants worldwide voicing their stories to demonstrate both the prevalence of sexual violence (including assault and harassment) and the prevalence of those who empathize with, advocate for, and support survivors. It is a historical moment—one we believe will not slip quietly into the annals of history, reserved for mere mention as a line in a paragraph dedicated to “special” topics of culture, gender, and social power. Rather, we believe this movement is a testament both to the hope that things will get better, and to the commitment to make things better.

It is within this global context of social change that Washburn University’s commitment to consent and to the prevention of sexual violence has been developing and is being implemented. For example, the University’s Department of English and the Sexual Assault Education and Prevention Project collaborate in a poetry workshop and reading—a Speak Out Against Sexual Assault event—in April of every year to acknowledge Sexual Assault Awareness Month and to promote a healthy campus of consent. Through coordinated efforts of many individuals and offices on campus, as well as in conjunction with community partners such as the YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment, numerous other events and programs have been instituted on campus as well. Examples range from ongoing sexual consent education and active bystander training for faculty, staff, and students, to the recent creation of a permanent staff position for a campus victims’ advocate. It is from this milieu that Ichabods Speak Out is offered. Based on Dennis Etzel Jr.’s research, this is the first for a university to publish a literary magazine of poems specifically against sexual assault and for consent. With this project, Washburn University establishes another use of media to show we, too, are a campus of consent.

Still, we acknowledge that some of the poems in this book do tell stories of sexual trauma; in others, you will instead read of the hope of which we speak; and some of the poems tell of transformations from horror to hope. However these stories are told, it is their very telling that holds and offers power: these poems speak to the reality that wherever there is oppression, there is resistance to it and opportunities for empowerment. As such, this book is a document of the times, a physical representation of the Washburn University campus and Topeka community collective to speak out against sexual assault and to speak for consent.

We are immensely grateful to Shelley V. Bearman who ignited the spark for this project, to all who contributed poems to this work; to the Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation—especially Sarah Towle and Jeremy Wangler—whose adoption of this project through the IMPACT initiative provided the mechanism to obtain crowdfunded support to print copies of this book for free distribution on campus and in the Topeka community; and especially to the generous individuals who provided that crowdfunding, listed on page 15.

Jericho Hockett, Ph.D. and Dennis Etzel, Jr.
February 22, 2018



Introduction                                                                            11
Donors                                                                                    15

Shelley V. Bearman 
            I Stand Up                                                                   19
Elise Barnett
            Self-Esteem                                                                 20
            How to Break Rules                                                    22
            How to Keep a Secret                                                 23
            “Someone is told to keep quiet”                                  24
Tara Rhiannon Bartley
            To Trust                                                                      25
            Contemporary Myths                                                   27
            Was it Rape? A Question for Myself at Twenty           29
Katy Chase
            Conceptualization                                                       31
            “Because of you, I am frightened of the dark”             32
Kay Duganator
            NO                                                                              35
            I am “Fine”                                                                 37
            #MeToo                                                                      39
            I’m Supposed to Write a Poem About Rape                41
            “COPE”                                                                      43
Julie Eisele
            Kissing Sounds                                                                        46
Natalie Engler
            Everything is (NOT) Fine                                            48
            F*** Him                                                                     50
            Months                                                                        51
Dennis Etzel Jr
            Hollywood, Too                                                          53

Sydney Haugh
            Me Too                                                                        54
Jericho Hockett
            Rising                                                                          55
            A Lovely Piece of Art                                                  57
Maggie Hutchinson
            Two Young Women                                                    58
Maureen Kennedy
            [Consent]                                                                     60
            [Womanhood]                                                              61
            [Definition]                                                                  62
            Just Because                                                                63
Diamond Mclaughlin 
            Sins                                                                              64
            Pain                                                                             65
            Dreams                                                                        66
            “All I wanted to do”                                                    67
Dave Proverse
            Live and Let Live                                                         68
            What She’s All About                                                  70
Lakpa Sherpa
            My Body is a Story                                                       72
Anonymous, from one human to another
            “strength taken away”                                                 74
            “as a flower grows”                                                      75
Molly Steffes-Herman
            For You My Love                                                        76
Linda Thorton
            Some Say Love                                                            77
            Vestri Cupidita                                                              78
Julie Velez
            The Wave (Alternately: Don’t Panic)                           79
            Prompt: Shadow self: the dark part of yourself
that only you know and only light can expose 80
            Wonder                                                                        81

Barbara Waterman-Peters
            “Your hand slid inside my jacket”                               82
Sharon Sullivan 
            “I am a secret keeper”                                                 83

A Tribute to Shelley V. Bearman                                             87

Contributors                                                                            91


This printed book is made possible by a Washburn Impact Fund whose contributors are:

Erin Chamberlain- $20
Barbara Waterman-Peters -$100
Vicki Pepperdine -$25
Kelly Erby -Undisclosed Amount
Sarah Fizell - $60
Anonymous - $25
Alan & Shelley Bearman - $50
Amy McCaskey - $25
Sharon Sullivan - $10
Christopher Jones - $15
Linsey Moddelmog - $25
Mary Ralston - Undisclosed Amount
Anonymous - $5
Julie Velez - $25
Elaine Becker - $25
Anonymous - $25
Julie Hendrickson - $15
Tara Bartley - $25
Jericho Hockett - $25
Jennifer Pacioianu - $25
Denise Low - $25
Anne Hawkins - Undisclosed Amount
Karalyn Kendall-Morwick - $10
Dennis Etzel Jr - $15
Shelley Bearman - $25

Thank you so much!