Today we welcome Meggie Royer to the Wonderful World of Pankhearst. Meggie does poems, feminism, and psychology. Obviously we like her a lot.
OK, Meggie, so who the hell are you? A writer and artist from the Midwest who loves pugs more than human beings and is just trying to make the world a better place for women.
I have nothing to declare but my genius and … ? my tiny tiny new book, Potions for Witches the Boys Couldn’t Burn. As you can guess from the title, it’s all about witchcraft and witches and femininity. Plus it has an awesome bunny on the front cover and awesome illustrations of witches holding kittens inside. All your favorite witches or accused witches are here- Maria Laveau, Tituba, Goody Proctor- alongside all the witches in your own lives, all the ones that live next door that you never knew about.
Also, the witch who killed Hansel and Gretel in the oven is actually the hero in one of these poems, and Gretel is her accomplice. That’s pretty cool.
Why the hell should we care? Because most of the time witches or people who practice the craft are just treated as “evil women.” I mean, accused witches in the Salem Trials literally died because of false allegations. Powerful women are stereotyped as cruel, vindictive, bossy, you name it. Maybe it’s time we see their softer sides while still appreciating and acknowledging their toughness. Plus I feel like a lot of witch narratives get lost in the overwhelming amount of literature about wizards. I want witches to make a comeback.
What the hell do you care about? Not letting abusers get away with abuse. I read so many messages every day, mostly from young women, about how their abusers walk free and how some were sanctioned, but not sanctioned enough. We prioritize the futures of men over the present situations of women. “My son’s life is ruined because now everyone knows he raped some girl who was probably being provocative!” No. Your son ruined that girl’s life. Her future comes before his now. I could talk about this kind of thing for hours. When Emma Sulkowicz carried that mattress for months on end, she was still accused of lying. Why would anyone want to carry a mattress every single day if they weren’t telling the truth? Her work is literally categorized as endurance performance art. The word “endure” tells you everything you need to now about the lasting effects of abuse. Carrying pillows in solidarity with abuse survivors isn’t enough. A pillow is just a collection of feathers. What happens to women every day across the world is a ton of bricks that a lot of them end up buried in. We need to do better.
You are about to be castaway with the author or fictional character of your choice. You’re going to be alone with them for at a full year. Who would you choose? And why? I would choose Harry Potter obviously, because he could fly me home on his broom and also, even if flying home weren’t allowed, I would still get to meet everyone’s childhood hero.
I have seen the future of poetry and its name is …? Carly Joy Miller. Managing Editor for Los Angeles Review and co-founder of Locked Horn Press. She can write about mermaids and wars in the same sentence and make it work. If I like coffee, her poetry would be my caffeine. I only discovered her work about a month ago but I already know she’s a winner. The first poem of hers I read was On Crying Wolf in Muzzle Magazine. “I am mad/and must be forgiven— /mad as the lamb/in a wolf’s throat.” Those lines were stuck in my head for days. I can read poems and remember their lines for days afterward, yet never come back to their authors. It’s a mix of femininity and bullets, lace and knives. My favorite genre.
What is next for you? I’m heading back to college soon for my junior year, so unfortunately I won’t have as much time to write as I do in the summer or over breaks. I major in psychology which I absolutely love, so sometimes it’s nice to be able to focus on that a bit more, however. In a few weeks the first issue of my literary magazine Persephone’s Daughters, dedicated to empowering abused and denigrated women, will be released. This is my first time leading a magazine and it’s been wonderful so far, but putting together the online and print issue will be the hard part! When I have some more free time on my hands I’m hoping to work on a project about misogyny in online dating, using screenshots of misogynistic and sexist messages sent from men to women through sites such as OkCupid and Tinder. The details of this project are pretty muddled right now but I’m excited to begin.
Tell us a secret. I am twenty years old and yet whenever I try to go to bed after watching a horror movie I have to keep all my body parts on the bed without hanging over, like I can’t dangle my feet or arms off the bed. I think it comes from this short story I read as a kid about a serial killer who hid under someone’s bed and licked their feet or something. I know it’s irrational but I have to follow that rule every time.
Meggie Royer is a writer and photographer from the Midwest who is currently majoring in Psychology at Macalester College. Her poems have previously appeared in Words Dance Magazine, The Harpoon Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, and more. She has won national medals for her poetry and a writing portfolio in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and was the Macalester Honorable Mention recipient of the 2015 Academy of American Poets Student Poetry Prize.