Tuesday, October 28, 2008

the Morning Reading: Scrubwomen of Truth

Lots to admire in the September-October issue of the Women's Review of Books, including these items:

The well-titled "Scrubwomen of Truth" by Alicia Ostriker where she reveiws the latest from Adrienne Rich and Joan Larkin. She begins:

"In a youth-addicted culture, it is a pleasure to read the work of grown women. Having recently arrived (full disclosure) at threescore years and ten, I find myself less often surging to read prizewinning first novels and books of poems by brilliant young authors, and more inclined to see what maturity has to say. Women’s wisdom, as well as artistic finesse, is what I seek nowadays in poetry. In particular, poets who prove themselves able to face the worst, in the body politic and the body, and to survive unsubdued, win my gratitude. Here are two such poets."

To read the rest, click here.

Plus, a warm appreciation of Carol Bly, embodied in Judith Niemi's review of Bly's first novel and final book, Shelter Half. She writes:

"Carol Bly, short story writer, essayist, pamphleteer, gadfly, and teacher, died of cancer last December 21, at 77. Until within a few days of her death she was working when she could, including on the final edits of her first novel, Shelter Half...This question of pain-avoidance, of educated Americans ignoring bad news and political sorrow, is something Bly often discussed in her essays and her teaching. (One of her many list-making warm-up exercises: “Name six injustices you should never lose sight of, not even on your wedding day.”) In a 1999 essay she accused herself (along with most American writers) of avoiding these privileged accommodators of evil in fiction, for fear of being called “shrill.”...Shelter Half is Carol Bly’s clearest fictional portrait of the urgency of recognizing evil and being willing to act, however imperfectly. The exuberance and gusto of the novel illustrate her belief that when we decide to face evil, the spirit is not depressed, but freed. “A strange, almost blessed result of having made up one’s mind to remember evil is gaiety,” she wrote."
To read the rest (please do), click here.

And, then there's the irresistable cover story by Meisha Rosenberg on Nancy Goldstein's biography of Jackie Ormes, the first African American cartoonist. Click here to read "Drawing Pride."

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