From award-winning writer Johanna Skibsrud, Medium uses language as a bridge across experience, sensibility, and time.
These deeply resonant and performative poems share the lives and perspectives of women who—in their roles as biological, physical, or spiritual mediums—have helped to shape the course of history. Reckoning with the dominant historical narratives of each woman’s era, Skibsrud underscores the power of poetry to bring about new formulations for understanding the relationship between past and present, self and other.
Helen of Troy, Anne Boleyn, Shakuntala Devi, Hypatia of Alexandria, Marie Curie, Chien-Shiung Wu: Medium interprets the voices of women vilified by history, silenced by famous husbands, forced into sex work, or wrongly accused.
Each exploration begins with a brief vignette inspired by the “vidas” that once began manuscripts of the troubadours. Both vidas and poems provide lyrical reinterpretations of real and imagined elements in the lives of scholars, scientists, computer engineers, mystics, entrepreneurs, artists, nurses, and other leaders.