In 1983 a book entitled Shadow on a Tightrope was published by Aunt Lute Books in San Francisco. It included interviews, essays and poems by women who self-identified as fat activists and feminists.
The poems are what spoke to me most, I think. Women claiming their right to be treated as full citizens of their time, space and place, not objects whose shapes and sizes happened not to fit the current often anti-woman aesthetic. Women whose voices ring strong and true with the defiant courage and conviction of their belief that they need not apologize for what they are and who they are. And in those days they had to be a great deal more defiant to voice such ideas because they had never been heard previously, even in the Women's Movement of the time.
Since I read it, I kept thinking of the debt we owe to the women who tossed their anxieties about their "reputations" to the wind and wrote themselves and their images into the consciousness of the Women's Movement and the Fat Activist/Fat Feminist Movement. They are our guiding stars, our first born, our proud matriarchs.
We poets of Fat Poets Speak: Voices of the Fat Poets' Society and Fat Poets Speak: Living and Loving Fatly celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the publication of Shadow on a Tightrope. Without you, we would not have been born.
Shadows on a Tightrope:Writings by Women on Fat Oppression Edited by Lisa Schoenfielder and BarbWieser Forward by Vivian Mayer
From: Kathy Barron Anne Kaplan Corinna Makris Lesleigh Owen Eileen Rosensteel Mary Ray Worley Frannie Zellman Durette Hauser Deb Lemire Dr. Deah Schwartz M. M. Stein