This book of poetry invites the reader to think about issues of diversity and ‘the other’, by discussing recent issues in politics and highlighting the need to discuss them. As an issue that is becoming more prominent, diversity is something I find myself thinking about as a reader and writer, wondering how we can include more diversity in literature. It is a topic that can be confusing, and perhaps a topic that needs to evolve naturally within literature, rather than being forced. The Fox Petition is a good start to this process.
It is a thought-provoking series of poems, vast in its scope and subject matter, and the author, Jennifer Maiden, showed no favouritism in whom she chose to write about. The political slant to these poems comes through effectively and presents the issues in a way people can understand, without the roundabout rhetoric presented by the press and politicians.
These poems show that the issue of diversity goes far beyond social and cultural acceptance. They suggest that it is our politicians who should lead by example and illustrate the benefits of a diverse society, who must show that diversity is not something to be feared in any of its forms. It is books like this that are a start in combatting the fear of ‘the other’, whomever that may be – the kind of person that someone who doesn’t struggle with discrimination will not be able to identify with.
One of the most effective aspects of this collection of poems is that I did not feel as though the opinion or the goal of the author was being forced on me. Rather, the reader is able to enjoy each poem and come to their own conclusions and understandings of what it means for ‘the other’, and the goals of a diverse world.
This is what a good book involving diversity should do: rather than force an agenda, it should make people think about how the world operates, the way we relate to people and their position in the world, and the different kinds of people present in this world beyond the default of race, gender, and so forth.