All The Men I Never Married is a collection of avowedly feminist intent, rich in ambiguity and with an understanding of the layers of complexity and complicity that exist between men and women.
Roughly chronological, with early poems about the innocent friendships of childhood that have a dreamy, anticipatory quality which foreshadows a later eroticism, but also hint at fear, with the awkward boy with ‘unwashed clothes’: ‘We hated the way you followed us around?’. Following on are the terrifying episodes of violence or near violence – incidents detailing escaping rape at a party, a friend suffering the consequences of defending herself from unwanted attention in a nightclub, and ‘that being in public is a dangerous thing’.
A near-innocuous episode on a fairground log flume sparks a narrative about power and consent, responsibility and opportunity: ‘to realise that someone can touch you/without asking, without speaking, without knowing your name ? You remember this lesson your whole life?’. There are incursions and interruptions of having to endure ‘mansplaining’ with an exploration of the complexities and complicity and the risk of confrontation. A number of poems re-enact the ‘easy misogyny’ of everyday life and observe it from an appalled distance.