Boise Highlights

Student Poet Feature: Fiona Stanton

Alex Swerdloff, Social Media Editor

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When Boise High junior Fiona Stanton heard about the Stories of Transformation poetry contest from her creative writing teacher, she thought of Appalachia. “I thought that a poem about the women of Appalachia (very much marginalized, given the time period, by the male population both within and without their community) would fit one of the contest’s themes of ‘Restoring Wholeness’,” says Stanton. For her, the topic is personal: “My mother is directly descended from [women of Appalachian communities], and so I am familiar with some of the history–notably through a human lens, rather than the broad and emotionless one we tend to view history through.”

Stanton’s poem, “Canary Woman,” which explores the struggles faced by rural Appalachian women, was recognized through the Stories of Transformation contest, and will be published in a booklet along with other award-winning poems from the contest. The poem, which features a repeated refrain of apologies for the various difficulties the unnamed woman faces, sends a message both of lingering pain and hope through healing. “I liked the idea that by acknowledging/apologizing for some of that marginalization and suffering–which I attempted to get across in my poem–I could ‘restore’ or heal a small part of a community once marked by adversity,” says Stanton.


Canary Woman

I’m sorry

The census taker

Called you property,

And told you you were blessed.

I’m sorry

Your inheritance

Was some Scotsman’s ballad

And a yellowed

Wedding dress.

I’m sorry about the baby

That lived one day

Barely crying

Into your neck

I’m sorry the preacher

Knows nothing of

A woman’s pain, and only

Of her sin

I’m sorry,

Canary woman

And thank you for surviving.

Alex Swerdloff, Social Media Editor and Reporter

Alex is a senior and has been on Boise Highlights staff since 2017. As Social Media Editor, she manages the paper’s social media accounts. In addition...

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Student Poet Feature: Fiona Stanton