Song of the Week: “You Don’t Own Me” by Lesley Gore

One of the best moments of Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me” is easily missed.  With her I-mean-it head-shake framed by those perfect immobile curls, Gore gives us the elongated “Hoss” (0:38) just after the first chorus. “Hoss”– this whole song is addressed to you. Used as slang for a horse-like man with bravado, “Hoss,” reminds those beasts— you don’t own much.  A horse can be tamed, and those that assumed Gore could be owned cannot contend with that head back, eyes up, toward the heavens vocal grasp for a sense of sheer freedom.  There’s a joy in that reaching, as it reaches more for a sense of sheerness, an unmitigated sense of reality. In today’s realm where women’s issues are framed as social, rather than economic, where so many loud voices wish they could time machine us all back to an era before women’s rights were legislated, “You Don’t Own Me” is particularly haunting. Belt this one out.

p.s. Check out Gore’s message for the GOP.

-Sara Mumolo

Omnidawn will publish Sara Mumolo’s first collection of poems Mortar in fall of 2013. Mumolo is the Program Manager for the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Saint Mary’s College of CA. She is the co-editor of the chapbook series, Calaveras and is also a Poetry Editor at Omnidawn. Mumolo curated the Studio One Reading Series in Oakland, CA from 2008-2012. Cannibal Books published her chapbook, March, in 2011. Poems have appeared in 1913: a journal of forms, Eleven Eleven, Action Yes, Lana Turner, The Offending Adam, Real Poetik, The Volta, Volt and West Wind Review, among others.

Questions, compliments, (hopefully not) complaints? Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.

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