We are Bloody Amazing!
In October 2019 I was feeling particularly menopausal. I'd been menopausal for a few years but that was the year it really hit peak hormone-lacking, flush-making, fuckthefuckingworld. After I shared an article on facebook about the fact we don't talk about the menopause and reasons why that might be, I was amazed by the number of comments on the post from friends sharing their experiences. My friend, Rebecca Bilkau who publishes poetry collaborations under the banner of Beautiful Dragons suggested that the menopause might be a good subject for a poetry anthology in a collaboration with Yaffle. So we started a facebook group called Bloody Amazing! We invited our mutual friends as well as other women we thought might benefit from belonging to the group, whether they were poets or not. We then asked them to send us their poems on the subjects of the menopause and menstruation. We added menstruation as a theme because we wanted to include women of all ages and at all stages of their reproductive life. At the end of the submission window (a short six days at the beginning of 2020) we had the task of finding the ones we wanted to go in the book. We ended up with 123 powerful, emotional, funny and wise poems from women from all walks of life, from all over the world and with many different experiences. The book is endorsed by Jenny Eclair and Deborah Alma.
Having found the contents of the anthology, we then had to find a cover image. We asked among the group and we received some ideas but we were astounded by the image we used by Jane Burn. You can read the story behind the image here It's a captivating cover that makes the book identifiable and eye-catching.
We sold out of the first print-run of 500 and we are now selling our second run after the fabulous news this weekend that we had been voted as the best anthology in the Saboteur awards. We are thrilled with the award and hope it will put Bloody Amazing back in the spotlight.
The book has shown that many women find the menopause difficult. In some cases it's not what they imagine, sometimes completely surprising for the number of symptoms that go with it: hair loss, weight gain, mood swings, nausea (which, if I didn't know better, would convince me I was pregnant!) joint pain, dryness (in lots of places) hot flushes, night sweats and loss of libido. But we get on with it without talking about it. Or, like menstruation, we hide it under jokes and innuendo. Bloody Amazing has shown how much we want to talk about it. Women are unsure or even ignorant about the help that is available and we often find out from other women about the treatment we can get or the tricks and tips which make our symptoms easier. The media has recently picked up on the subject with many high-profile celebrities being vocal about their own menopause journey.
The Bloody Amazing facebook page is still going strong and continues to be a place to share and give advice, talk about experience and just have a good old moan.
You can buy a copy of the book on the Bloody Amazing page of this website, or from here
I'll leave you with this wonderful poem fro Anne McMaster which I think encapsulates the journey we take as women, as well as the sadness of sometimes not having the advice we have at the start of that journey, from the very person who knows best how we feel, when we begin another, later on.
Over the next few months, I'll be sharing a poem each day from Bloody Amazing on my facebook page International Women