10 Editor's Pick
May 29, 2019

“I Will Never be a Well-Behaved Woman”—31 Women breathe Life into this Powerful Poem. {Video} ~ Janne Robinson

Three years ago, in the jungles of Costa Rica, 31 women came together to give a voice to my poem, “I Will Never be a Well-Behaved Woman.”

The poem, published in 2015, has over 930,000 views and 300,000 plus shares. I always knew this was a piece that wanted to be made into a film.

This is the third spoken word poetry film I have made. Making these films has been incredibly important in helping women reclaim their narrative and power, and by doing so, they can rebalance and heal our world.

I also wrote the poem in Costa Rica.

I was volunteering at a butterfly garden in exchange for food and board at the time. I was broke and starting to pursue my dream. I rented my cabin out on the Sunshine Coast a few months before because I couldn’t afford to live in Canada and my spirit couldn’t afford to pour black coffee into the mugs of rednecks one more day of my life.

I lived in a tiny, dusty town on the coastline of a peninsula of Costa Rica because I was thirsty for experiences and a different way of life. I knew writing was my way, but was still working on my emotional relationship with money and my worth. I had poems and articles with millions of views, but couldn’t figure out how to capitalize on it or support myself.

I’d pick grass on hillsides for caterpillars and feed large, blue butterflies papaya and pineapple in the afternoon. I was making a few bucks here and there to cover my other costs of living—I pitter-pattered away at my dream, writing 14-17 articles and poems a month for wellness publications. It was my second beginning. My first beginning was when I walked away from Edmonton, where I sold condos in a life that wasn’t mine.

“I Will Never be a Well-Behaved Woman” was written after one of the most beautiful nights of my life. I smile when I read these lines and remember walking home smelling like the ash of fire and romance:

“I would rather swim naked with bioluminescence, have it fall like fireflies from my hair, my breasts, my back.

I would rather do handstands naked in the moonlight when no one’s watching than pick bridesmaid dresses.

I would rather drink seven-year-old rum from a sandy bottle, smell of smoke and ash than sit in church.”

I met a smouldering European filmmaker and spent the night engrossed in rum and smoke before skinny-dipping under the moon with the most vivid and alive bioluminescence I’ve ever seen—I remember standing up out of the water and looking down at my body and seeing large, white sparkles falling off of my breasts in the night air. I have never seen bioluminescent that bright or bold—standing away from the water as who they are, unashamed. It was like a bloody Kerouac novel.

Rereading this poem tonight, I am visited by the wildness and freedom from this part of my life. I wasn’t sure I had yet succeeded at building my own box—but I had left the matrix and that was enough to call other women forward.

There are so many voices telling women who they need to be and what boxes they need to check.

I continue to create and direct these films because I want women to know there is no “right” way to live.

We must build our own boxes and know that what our spirit cries for is true.


author: Janne Robinson

Image: Author's own by Juancho Lopez Basavilbaso

Editor: Naomi Boshari

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jkrachel4 Jun 12, 2019 12:10am

Love the sense of being the poem gives. You don’t have to go anywhere to do this. Start where you are. Small incremental steps at a time. The poems reminds us to be what we want to be- to listen to that little voice within. I am at 58 taking those steps to reclaim myself.

Eva De Vor Jun 7, 2019 10:08am

I love this sense of freedom the words and images breathe and I can feel the Costa Rica vibes under my skin…beautifully done Janne!

Galina Singer Jun 6, 2019 11:27pm

Love the poem! Thank you for disseminating freedom!

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Janne Robinson

Janne Robinson is a 21st-century feminist beat poet. Her voice haunts with the legacy of early feminists and poets such as Gloria Steinem, Charles Bukowski, and Jack Kerouac. Her no sugar shit prose cuts with the honesty and simplicity of Bukowski and the romantic reliability of Kerouac. Her poetry leads like a woman, walking with fire in the footprints of Steinem—breathing sexual liberation, choice, and overall championing women to their birthright of not only equality but leadership.

Robinson notoriously states that her career is to “share slabs of her heart for a living.” Her ability to capture the human experience with unrefined sincerity makes her an incredible force in the modern landscape of personal expression.

Her loyal following of enthusiasts on social media are there not only for her brutal honesty and lyrical grace but also for her lifestyle, which is a mirror of her devotion to joy and refusal to work to work to work to die. Robinson’s films and art shit on the societal “shoulds” and norms and encourage people to ‘build their own box’. She is an outrageous idealist and master at effortlessly marrying the life she wishes to live with her work, and this enrages and inspires many who believe they are trapped.

Robinson’s foray into directing and the multimedia world was in directing a spoken word poetry film in NYC involving 18 women reading the lines from her poem, “This Is For The Women Who Don’t Give a Fuck.” The film was a viral sensation online and was nominated for the 2016 Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards.

Janne is very much so crowning at the beginning of what is and will be a triumphant career, and she has begun so with the hearts of millions indebted and watching as it is rare to stumble upon a woman who makes revolution nature.

You can connect with her on Instagram or at her website.