Rebecca Tantony is a Bristol based writer and performing poet. She got in touch with us after our Alternative Sex Ed week, sharing a poem about the sexual experiences of girls.
Clara Vlessing asks her some questions about her work.
Hey Rebecca, so how long have you been writing poetry for?
From the age of seven, both stopping and starting many times along the way. The world is so big, the experience of being human so vast that I have always longed to understand it better. Being able to condense this experience down to as few words of possible seems to make sense in terms of this exploration.
And how did you first get into writing poetry?
Hip-hop. Poetic MC’s storytelling the truths of their lives. Then scribbling down poems on everything- bus tickets, beer mats, forearms. Reading at open mics. Getting lost in the brilliance of Sylvia Plath, Margaret Atwood, Maya Angelou. Alice Walker.
What are the subjects or issues that you enjoy writing about?
Religion. Philosophy. The ordinary and mundane celebrated. Identity. Feminism.
What do you remember about your own sex education?
I don’t remember having any in school. I remember muddling my way through with what friends and I shared, or what we read in teen magazines, but even the magazines spoke in terms of the roles males and females were expected to act out. I didn’t really have a clue and in retrospect those magazines didn’t either.
If there was one piece of sexual education you could make compulsory for young girls today what would it be?
The education of young people to recognise the importance of their individual voices, to speak up and out and to never feel ashamed of saying what they need or don’t want is vital. This comes right back to educating in how valuable and worthy the individual is. I think the empowerment of all young people, girls and boys alike, to know and understand their bodies is fundamental and to celebrate diversity and difference in terms of this.
Check out Rebecca’s poem:
And if you are interested in her work, take a look at her website:
Or her book ‘Talk You Round Til Dusk’:
Image from http://www.rebecca-tantony.com