What Do Women Want? by Kim Addonizio

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Red DressToday ends National Poetry Month. So, I want to post a poem by Kim Addonizio. I met Kim at the Virginia Festival of the Book in March. We stayed up half the night day with author Tanya Egan Gibson (How To Buy Of Love Of Reading) talking books, poetry, reading groups, and solving the world's problems. There was some adult beverages going on, as well!

It was an excellent time and I was honored to be included in their literary and personal conversation. Rock on, girls!

What Do Women Want? by Kim Addonizio

I want a red dress.
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what's underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty's and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I'm the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.

I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you or anything except what
I want. When I find it, I'll pull that garment
from its hanger like I'm choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I'll wear it like bones, like skin,
it'll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in.

Kim Addonizio was born in Washington DC, the daughter of a former tennis champion and a sports writer. Addonizio has received numerous awards for her work, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, a Pushcart Prize, and the John Ciardi Lifetime Achievement Award. Addonizio’s poetry, known for its gritty, street-wise narrators and a wicked sense of wit, has received significant recognition since it first appeared as The Philosopher’s Club (1994), a collection of unflinching poems on subjects ranging from mortality to love. Daniela Gioseffi, writing in the American Book Review, affirmed that Addonizio “is wise and crafty in her observations and her portrayal of sensual love, filial feeling, death or loss.” Gioseffi contended that Addonizio “is most profound when she’s philosophizing about the transient quality of life and its central realization of mortality.”

Kim once told Contemporary Authors: “Writing is an ongoing fascination and challenge, as well as being the only form of spirituality I can consistently practice. I started as a poet and will always return to poetry—both reading and writing it—for that sense of deep discovery and communion I find there. There are only two useful rules I can think of for aspiring writers: learn your craft, and persist. The rest, as Henry James said, is the madness of art.”

 

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Kim Rocks!

I love this poem. And also, let me repeat that Kim rocks.