Following the 2016 presidential election, Grace Bauer, a poet and English professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, along with Julie Kane, a Louisiana-based poet, sent out a call for submissions for their anthology, “Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse.”
On Monday, Oct. 30, poets Twyla Hansen, Christine Stewart Nunez, Kimberly Tedrow, Hope Wabuke, Stacey Waite, Laura Madeline Wiseman will read their works featured in the anthology.
Works could be submitted from the 2016 Election Day on Nov. 8 until Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.
“Our initial call for poems said, ‘Now is the time for all nasty women poets to come to the aid of their country,’” Bauer said.
This anthology contains poems from 215 poets from across the globe. However, more than 550 poets submitted work.
“We had to make some very tough decisions about what to include,” Bauer said.
The title of the anthology comes from a comment then-Presidential candidate Donald Trump made during the final presidential debate of 2016, when he said Hillary Clinton is “such a nasty woman,” while she was giving her side of the debate.
“One day, I just got the idea that there were probably other poets out there thinking about what it means to be seen as a ‘nasty woman,’” Bauer said.
According to Bauer, this phrase inspired not only the anthology, but also many memes and hashtags on Twitter and T-shirts.
“The phrase stuck in my head, as it obviously did for many people,” Bauer said.
Bauer said the anthology is broken up into 10 sections, from “Nasty Women Poets on Love, Sex & Lust” to “Nasty Women Poets on Social Justice & Political Protest.”
“It covers a lot of territory,” Bauer said.
Hansen, whose poem “Bad Hair Day” is featured in the anthology, said it was not always easy for women from the Great Plains to become published writers.
“I greatly admire Willa Cather and Mari Sandoz for persisting and getting their writing published about this place and these people,” Hansen said.
According to Hansen, some of the poets featured in the anthology had been involved with similar projects before.
“Several of my friends are in the anthology,” Hansen said. “But there are so many more poets in it, which is fantastic.”
Bauer said her co-editor Julie Kane and their publisher, Christine Holbert at Lost Horse Press, believed the anthology was important to create.
“I think many recent events in the news confirm that belief,” Bauer said.
Feminists have reclaimed the term “nasty woman” and now use it to describe women who refuse to conform for anyone’s comfort.
According to promotional materials distributed by Lost Horse Press, the poets in the anthology are said to talk back to the men who created those limitations, honor foremothers who offered models of resistance and survival, rewrite myths and celebrate their own sexuality, bodies and the girlhoods they survived.
“We hope readers will enjoy the unapologetic nastiness of these writers, and we mean ‘nasty’ in the best possible way,” Bauer said.