Inlay with Nacre: The Names of Forgotten Women (March 2019)
Cindy earned an MFA from the University of Southern Maine Stonecoast Program with concentrations in Mesoamerican poetics, drama, and creative collaboration.
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Poet-dramatist Cindy Williams Gutiérrez explores the global oppression of women—and testifies to their resilience—in over 20 countries around the world. Based on real-life incidents ranging from Brazilian “honor killings” and Indian sati to Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries and “Mississippi appendectomies” to rape as a weapon during the Rwandan genocide, this poetry collection bears witness to the sociocultural forces that have waged war on women’s bodies, freedom, and humanity. Now, in the #MeToo era, these poems both underscore and expand the conversation on the diminishment of women, reverberating across all continents and through 43 centuries. Inlay with Nacre is herstory—the plight of Woman as bride, wife, mother, and daughter—and a call to action to restore the Feminine in the world.
Bearing witness to resistance as well as brutality, Inlay with Nacre: The Names of Forgotten Women unearths the harrowing continuity of gender oppression globally and historically. In forceful narrative poems of exquisite clarity, Gutiérrez connects the stories of a Sumerian High Priestess, a poet-nun of colonial Mexico, female Aboriginal pearl divers and so many more women, beautifully fulfilling the title’s sacred promise.
—DR. JESSICA MAUCIONE, Professor of English and
Women’s and Gender Studies, Gonzaga University
Poetry becomes activism in Inlay with Nacre: The Names of Forgotten Women. Gutiérrez’s beautifully crafted poems compel the reader to feel the injustice of marginalized women. Individually, the poems are powerful and evocative. As a collection, they are a tour de force.
—DR. ELIZABETH URSIC, Women’s Caucus Co-chair at the
American Academy of Religion and author of Women, Ritual,
Poet-dramatist Cindy Williams Gutiérrez is inspired by the silent and silenced voices of history and herstory. Her latest collection, Inlay with Nacre, was awarded the Willow Books’ 2018 Editor’s Choice Poetry Prize and the 2016 Oregon Literary Fellowship for Writers of Color. A recipient of the 2017 Oregon Book Award for Drama, Cindy’s play Words That Burn juxtaposes the WWII experiences of conscientious-objector William Stafford, Japanese-American internee Lawson Inada, and Chicano Marine Guy Gabaldón. Cindy was selected by Poets & Writers Magazine as a 2014 Notable Debut Poet for her collection, the small claim of bones (Bilingual Press), which won second place in the 2015 International Latino Book Awards. Her work has appeared in Harvard’s Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion and has been anthologized in Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workspace (Lost Horse Press) and Basta: 100+ Latinas Against Gender Violence (University of Nevada-Reno).