The Way Women Speak: Melissa Lozada-Oliva's Poetry Will Inspire You

Poet, bookseller, and Guardian contributor Melissa Lozada-Oliva brought down the house earlier this month at the National Poetry Slam in Oakland, Calif. Her "Like Totally Whatever" is a bold statement on criticisms we've all heard lobbied, primarily at women, on contemporary colloquial use of the English language.

Criticisms like: Ending a sentence with upwards inflection, so statements sound like questions (to which Lozada-Oliva says: "Maybe I'm so used to speaking in questions because I'm so used to being cut off.") or inserting "like," "um," or "you know," mid-phrase ("This is defense mechanism," Lozada-Oliva says. "Our likes are knee pads, our ums are the knives we tuck into our boots at night, our you-knows are the best friends we call when we walk down a dark alley.").

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