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Why Words Matter: A Community Poetry Project
Women Wonder Writers is proud to uplift the poetic voices in our community. We are committed to offering a platform for our artists and writers in order to promote cultural equity that empowers a just, inclusive, empathetic & equitable world.  Your L!fe matters!  Through this project, Women Wonder Writers is interested in promoting cultural proficiency, providing a platform for expression for those impacted by trauma including community violence and racism, for allies striving for cultural equity, for examination of common beliefs and implicit biases, for understanding diversity between and within cultures and communities, and for becoming conscious of the dynamics inherent when cultures interact. With these values in mind, we invite the community to submit their poetry and/or artwork, which will be considered for publication on WWW's platforms, including print and media (i.e., social media and blog).

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: Up to 5 pages of writing (i.e., poetry, article, short story) and/or artwork per applicant.

While we accept work on any topic, we are particularly interested in any poetry that reflect WWW's values: resilience, tolerance, cultural sensitivity, restorative justice, and ending cycles of victimization and abuse. See below for details on our exact requirements, which include the following: respectful language, a refrain from political endorsement, mission alignment, and understanding of mandatory reporting protocol.

DEADLINE: The submission period is ongoing until further notice.  Stay resilient and creative!

Please carefully read the submission requirements below. Thank you for your interest in submitting your poem(s) to Women Wonder Writers.
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September 29. 2001
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October 25, 2005
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By marking this box, I acknowledge and agree to the above release: Yes, I agree
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RELEASE
By submitting my writing and/or artwork, I release WOMEN WONDER WRITERS/THE WRITE OF YOUR L!FE and its employees, subsidiaries and/or partners/affiliates from liability for any claims by me or any third party in connection with participation. You hereby grant WOMEN WONDER WRITERS/ THE WRITE OF YOUR L!FE and its employees, subsidiaries and/or partners/affiliates or any person authorized, the absolute and irrevocable right and permission, in perpetuity and free of royalties, for WOMEN WONDER WRITERS/ THE WRITE OF YOUR L!FE and its employees, subsidiaries and/or partners/affiliates related purposes, to photograph, film, audiotape me and collect writings and to use, publish, copyright, and distribute your image, likeness and writings, including in print and/or online, including but not limited to social media, advertising and promotional materials, including blogs, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google and Facebook Ads, grant applications, program materials, anthologies, flyers, postcards, sponsorship materials, annual reports, communications, training portals and materials, and website.  

CREATIVE DISCLOSURE

By submitting my work, I acknowledge that each time I create and share a piece of my art or a piece of my mind, I may become stronger.  But I also might give people who (for whatever reason) tools to use against me.  For any artist or writer, there are risks which come with creating. When I share art, writing or perspectives or release them into the world, my own words cease to be just mine. That means they can be used against me. If I write regularly, I acknowledge I’m probably going to end up sharing multiple perspectives on the same issues as I grow.  I’m going to end up writing and publishing things that may or may not be factual or perceived as factual.  This is a creative platform, using writing as a means to express but I may also participate in writing plans for the future.  I acknowledge I should avoid creating any art or writings which include anything that could be used against me or be perceived as related to court-cases or crimes I may be accused of committing or have committed.  I should avoid creating or publishing anything that portrays anything graphic, obscene, abusive or hateful.  These things include negative portrayals including on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, or disability; or intended to defame or discriminate against anyone or any entity, including encouraging illegal activity.  I acknowledge I have the right to remain unpublished. When I share my art and writing here or out in the world, I acknowledge I will  stay mindful of these things.    

NO GUARANTEE OF PUBLICATION

By submitting my work, I understand and accept that Women Wonder Writers™ in no way guarantees publication of submitted works and reserves the right to refuse to publish any writing and/or artwork,.  I understand and accept that any submitted writing and/or artwork may be subject to edits, such as for formatting and grammar. For longer works, I understand my work may be shortened.  I will also note in my submission if I wish my work to be published anonymously.

FORM OF SUBMISSION

I understand if I am submitting a writing, it may be submitted in .doc, .pdf or other acceptable means.  For an artwork, it must be submitted as a photograph (.png or .jpg) or PDF; original art need not be submitted.  I understand this community platform opportunity aims to promote social change surrounding the themes related to WWW’s mission of breaking the cycle of victimization and abuse and/or the idea of resilience through your chosen writing and/or art medium (i.e. graphic design, painting, sketching).
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Writing Requirements
By submitting my work, I ensure that my submission meets the following requirements:

1) Respectful Language: All submitted work must refrain from profane language. No sexually or violently graphic language or descriptions will be published. Accepted work adheres to general posting to social media guidelines and protocol, including avoidance of content that is graphic, obscene, abusive or hateful on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, or disability; or intended to defame or discriminate against anyone or any organization; solicitous or advertising content; content encouraging illegal activity.

2) Refrain from Political Endorsement: All submitted work must refrain from any political endorsement or opposition to any political party, candidate, or law. I understand the publication, dissemination or printing of a submission by a nonprofit 501(c)(3) must refrain from statements or oral statements on behalf of, or in opposition to, a candidate for public office or any law.  A written or oral endorsement of a candidate or law is strictly forbidden.  The rating of candidates, even on a nonpartisan basis, is also prohibited.

3) Mission Alignment: All submitted work must be aligned with the mission of Women Wonder Writers,™ which is to break the cycle of victimization and abuse for those faced with trauma and adversity through education, empathy and expression.

4) Mandatory Reporting:  Anything submitted is subject to mandatory reporting requirements.  If your safety is at risk, we may be required to report any type of abuse to Child Protective Services, Department of Public Social Services or the equivalent in your community. Reportable types of conduct are if a submission reflects that someone is harming themselves, harming or planning to harm others or is being harmed by another.
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I acknowledge and accept above requirements.
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I certify that this poetry and/or art is my own work, based on my personal creativity and have not copied or replicated in part or whole or otherwise plagiarized the work of another.
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Butterfly Girl
She was born, completely bald, on a sunny summer morning.
No eyebrows, no fluffy tufts of newborn hair,
Nothing, except for her eyelashes.

Aunts cooed and brothers sulked as her mother first suggested,
“They look like butterfly wings. Butterfly kisses must come from butterfly wings.”

So she grew up as the Butterfly Girl.

And as she shimmered through years in sweet pea perfume,
Her hair eventually grew in
It curled in blond tufts, thin and fading.

Butterfly girl loved to run ahead of her mom,
Fluttering her wings at strangers,
Feelings of indifference arising while being mistaken for another mother’s child.
Someone able to fly alongside a nearly blonde butterfly.

Yes, nearly.
Because Butterfly Girl’s wings stayed black.

If you could even call them wings.

If you could even call her a Butterfly Girl.

Her lashes reminded her of butterfly legs,
Or any bug legs in general.
Black spindles. Dark, defensive lances.
Not butterfly wings.

She didn’t deserve to be a Butterfly Girl.

Her uncle must have thought the same thing.
He cut off his lashes, one day, with rusty craft scissors.
Defenseless, his eyes suffered as rust rubbed off into them.

Butterfly Girl and her mother and her uncle weren’t like her father:
His lashes were just as long as theirs,
Or longer.
Thicker. Curlier.
And nearly translucent.
So blonde, so fitting for a butterfly.

Butterfly Girl wrote these words in the air wherever she went.

She didn’t listen to her mother,
Not about those things, not anymore.

She didn’t listen to her mother for most things anymore.

Like a butterfly, she’d fly aimlessly,
Dragging her hands through mustard flowers,
Spiting herself for feeding upon such invasive plants.

She found a mouse one day and brought it home.
Her mother screamed.
She named it Beast.
Beast had downturned brown fur
And deep black eyes.
Beast would sit in her palm and sit for her friends
And eat all the butterflies she could find.

Beast died after a few days.
She cried and buried her companion.
He had suffered so much since meeting her.

She confused his eyes for her mother’s and wept for far too long.

She grew obsessed with feeling too old for her body.
What else could you expect from someone born as a butterfly?
Her flights grew faster,
Across grades and gardens and goals.

Her hair grew darker to match her wings,
Which split and lengthened.
She spent every night praying for this change to cease
And woke up one morning as a dragonfly.

She didn’t mind not being Butterfly Girl anymore.
She didn’t mind not matching her fading father or grounded mother.
So she found another dragonfly
And learned to fly in every direction.

Swooping over lakes,
She’d drop pebbles and paint poems,
Poems to spite every other organism,
Wishes not suited for a girl spun of indirect kisses and compliments,
Words not spoken from a Butterfly Girl.

She substituted pebbles for tears
And sunk into stories about all that had happened.
Her wings, damp, weighed more than ever.

She began flying towards the clouds,
Losing her companion along the way.

Instead of rainbows,
Her wings reflected the stars.

Now nocturnal, with no one left to see her,
She forgot that she was supposed to be a butterfly;
She forgot that she had been Butterfly Girl at all;
She forgot dragonflies and field mice,
Mustard flowers and sweet peas.

But she could remember craft scissors,
And the rust that had settled into her uncle’s eyes.
How the blue scissors had matched his irises.
How the night sky, on a densely dark winter night,
Managed to reflect hers.

Her wings were all that remain
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Butterfly Girl
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