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“What do Women Want”

“What do Women Want” was written by Kim Addonizio in 2000 as part of a compilation entitled Tell Me. Kim Addonizio was born in Washington D. C. in 1954. She received her Bachelor’s Degree and her Master’s Degree from San Francisco State University. Addonizio still lives in San Francisco and continues to write poetry. She has authored many books in addition to Tell Me. She is also the recipient of many awards for her poetry. Among her awards and honors are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Pushcart Prize, and a Commonwealth Club Poetry Medal (Poets.

org, 2009). She teaches for the M. F. A. program at Goddard College and also the founder of The Five Fingers Review journal. This poem is not the same style of haiku or sonnet that one typically associates with poetry. However, I think it is still considered poetry because it is easy to read and packs a powerful message in a short amount of text. In this way, I believe that Addonizio incorporates a variety of different writing techniques into her poetry so that she, in some ways, defines a whole new style of poetry.

She uses bold sentences filled with emotion in order to convey the desires of women. She speaks about the red dress as a material desire but I think the poem alludes to the internal desires of women as well. Ultimately, this is not a style of poetry that elicits romantic and happy feelings about love and nature. Instead, this I feel that this poem addresses human nature and uses powerful and compelling visions to do so. “Repetition” is the first poetic term used in this poem.

Addonizio uses the phrase, “I want” in the first three lines of the poem and then continues to use the phrase for emphasis throughout the remaining lines of the poem. Addonizio also uses a great deal of “exaggeration” in this poem. She exaggerates the appearance of the dress by alluding to the fact that it will be so tight and attractive that men will want to tear it off of her. Similarly, she exaggerates the power the dress will have in that she will not take it off even after she dies – she emphasizes that she will be buried in the dress.

Finally, “foreshadow” is used a great deal in this poem because, in essence, she is predicting the events to come after she purchases and wears the dress. She discusses the power she will have over others while she is wearing the dress and how she will behave after she acquires the dress. I think the message in this poem is that women sometimes have to work extra hard to get what they want. On one hand, this poem could be written in reference to scorned love. Addonizio may have written if after a break up in an effort to make herself feel more attractive and powerful.

On the other hand, it may have been written to speak of the desires of women in general and how often women have to take extreme measures to be noticed enough to move up. For example, many women discover that they can use their sexuality to advance in their career. The skin tight red dress may be alluding to this sexuality because it gives women some power over their destiny. This poem was chosen because it enables women to gain some power over the gender gap.

First, women are often scorned in love and feel that it is necessary to change their image in order to make the next relationship work. However, I chose this poem because it speaks to the larger issue of the inequality between men and women. It is hard to overlook the differences between men and women and I often feel that women do not receive equal treatment to men. I think this often leads women to make extreme decisions and take drastic measures to get noticed but to also gain some power over their lives.

I think the red dress signifies this power and Addonizio makes a good choice in comparing the red dress to female feelings. Overall, this poem is a compelling and powerful response to the inequality between genders and Addonizio takes an important stand when she chose to write in this way. As I read, I felt myself internalizing a bit of the power that the red dress gave the woman in the poem. Addonizio, Kim. (2000). What do women want? Retrieved on July 9, 2009 from http://www. poets. org/viewmedia. php/prmMID/16213.

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