Poetry / Maggie Queeney
From the writer
:: Account ::
These two poems are reimaginings of two of the myths in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a book-length poem that presents a series of mortals, mostly women, who are transformed into non-human forms after an encounter with a God or Goddess. The divine encounter, and resulting transformation, almost always include sexual violence or gender-based violence. I too am a survivor of violences (domestic, gender-based, and sexual). I too have spent years as someone or something not quite human. Dr. Judith Herman notes in her vital text about survivors of domestic, gendered, and sexual violence, Trauma and Recovery: “victim retains the dehumanized identity of […] the robot, animal, or vegetable… While the majority of […] patients complained, ‘I am now a different person,’ the most severely harmed stated simply, “‘I am not a person.’”
Decades before I read Trauma and Recovery, before Complex-PTSD was a widely-known and accepted term (although still not included in the newest Text Revision of the DSM V, and so not included on any of my medical records), I read The Metamorphoses. I, who from my earliest memory felt more rock than girl, more bird or river or vine than human, recognized myself in these girls and women, and in the creatures and things they would become. Their stories were my stories, are my stories, and in re-telling what happened to them, in working to speak in their voices, I tell what happened to me. I sound the bounds of my voice, and find my place among the many of my kind.
Maggie Queeney is the author of In Kind, winner of the 2022 Iowa Poetry Prize, and the chapbook settler. Recipient of the 2019 Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize, The Ruth Stone Scholarship, and an Individual Artists Program Grant from the City of Chicago in 2019 and 2022, her most recent work is found or is forthcoming in Guernica, The Missouri Review, and The American Poetry Review. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University, and reads and writes in Chicago.