My Favorite Olivia Gatwood Poems on Her Birthday

My favorite Olivia Gatwood poems

I’m consistently inspired by the poets I’ve loved for a while and the ones I presently discover through outlets such as poets.org (my favorite daily email), The Adroit Journal, Button Poetry, and recommendations from other authors, but few have shaped my life and work as much as my favorite Olivia Gatwood. I shared a quick review of Olivia’s newest poetry book Life of the Party back in November where I focused on the ease with which she combines descriptions of the murders of women with anecdotes about her experiences growing up as a girl. In that review, I wrote “Life of the Party is overwhelmingly a memoir about Olivia’s fear as a woman in America who can’t escape the nation’s obsession with true crime and stories about missing and murdered girls and women. I’ve been desperately anticipating the release of Life of the Party because I have struggled with my identical fears of being a victim of violent crime due to the glamorization of true crime stories in the media and the widespread reach these narratives have on people across the country. Despite the extremely low chance I (and Olivia) have of being assaulted or murdered, it’s still an emotional fear that the majority of women and girls grow up with since we were little: almost like we were raised with our terror as another type of security blanket or stuffed animal.” On the birthday of my favorite Olivia Gatwood, I wanted to create a celebratory post of her poems I love the most—those that touch my soul, scare me (essentially the entirety of Life of the Party), and make me want to be as dedicated a poet as she is. The majority of the pieces I’m sharing are videos of Olivia’s spoken word poems, but the solitary printed one is my favorite piece ever. What a gift it is to live at the same time as Olivia.

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