Faculty Sponsor

Maria Gillan


Womanhood Initiation is a poem I wrote during Maria Gillan's Advanced Poetry Workshop. Professor Gillan is a Professor of English at Binghamton University, and her workshop is unique in that it takes place during three long weekend sessions throughout the semester. This specific poem was inspired by one of Professor Gillan’s writing prompts: “I do not feel like a man/woman yet.” I tend to explore gender in my poetry, specifically girlhood and womanhood. Young women and girls, often put down in United States culture for their vanity and selfishness, are complex, intelligent people and have more to say that should be valued. In this poem, I explore feelings of discomfort in the transition from girlhood to womanhood. Experiences like menstruation and using makeup are supposed to signify womanhood, yet the girls and women I know still express uncertainty in their legitimacy as women. In this poem, I reach the conclusion that this confusion is part of being a woman, and our clumsy initiations into womanhood are ongoing.