This collection of 71 narrative poems, published by Bombshelter Press in 2008, is divided into four parts: girl, woman, wife, and mother. The title refers to both gender and genitals. I share things I was taught notto say, because I was a “good” girl. I had to redefine the word “good” to mean that which is truthful and authentic; that which inspires growth and heals. I hope readers will see themselves reflected in these intimate poems, and that after reading them, readers will feel more connected to and accepting of their sexual self, an important first step toward releasing shame.
“This collection sparks with poems that are bright and fierce—comets cutting through the mundane.” —BHARGAVI C. MANDAVA, author of Where the Oceans Meet
“Bella’s book rocked my world! This woman is half my size and yet she is so big! Her poems touched me deeply, took my breath away, and left me wondering, How can I, a black woman from South Central Los Angeles, have so much in common with a white woman from Long Island? It was as if she was talking about my life! Bella tells secrets most people don’t dare whisper. I hope to be that free in my creativity and in my writing! Her book took me on a magic carpet ride and I am still soaring!” —TAMARA HAMILTON, speaker, coach, author
“Very Real, honest, deep human expression. Her courage and strength are inspiring.” —RON GAINOR, attorney
“This book is vibrant and alive and gorgeous. I love Bella's ability to own everything and share it all fearlessly. Her writing made me laugh and forgive my so-called flaws. The book is also hot and sexy. Every time I clean the rubber mat in our tub (the one that gets mold trapped in its suction parts), I think of sex—because of her poem, 'Spring Bath.' I am grateful for Bella's bravery and honesty. She is a brilliant writer.” —WILOE POEHLMANN, preschool teacher
"Bella Mahaya Carter's insightful journey into womanhood made me blush, laugh, cry and cackle like a joyful witch. In the end, this authentic and daring collection left me feeling grateful I was born female. It should be mandatory reading not just for our sisters and daughters, but more importantly, for our husbands and our sons." —MAUREEN MULDOON, writer/director
“I was gripped by Bella Mahaya Carter’s courageous and passionate poetry. I inhaled this whole collection in one sitting. These intoxicating poems stirred my core, making me want to belt out, ‘I am Woman, Hear Me Roar.’” —COURTNEY CRANE, writer