Tag: Women

WWW Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Taking on a World of Words hosts WWW Wednesday each week, I’m told. The objective is to answer the following questions, leave a link to your post, and read the posts of other participants. It looks like a great way to find some good books to read because we all need more good books, right? Thanks to Marina Sofia at Finding Time to Write for sharing this meme.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading Revenge by Japanese author Yoko Ogawa for Women in Translation Month. It’s a book of short stories which is my favored genre lately, especially when the stories are a bit on the dark side. I’m finding the writing crisp yet nuanced. A good choice. 
  

The last book I actually finished was The Odd Woman and the City by Vivian Gornick, a memoir set in New York. It chronicles a 20+ year friendship between Vivian and her gay friend Leonard, her daily life as a single woman in an urban setting, and meditations on what is means to be a feminist. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, a finialist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2016. 

Also for WiT Month, my next planned book is Eve Out of Her Ruins by Mauritian author Ananda Devi, awarded the prestigious Prix des cinq continents upon publication as the best book written in French outside of France. It tells the story of four young Mauritians and their lives of fear and violence in a tourist-driven country. I’m looking forward to it. 


What are you reading? 

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Women in Translation Month 2017: My Reading List

August is Women in Translation month and this will be my third year participating. I really enjoy reading books by writers from other countries and highlighting their translated books. I’m also quite impressed by the translators. I only speak English and have always been in awe of those who can speak multiple languages.

WiT Month was created by Meytal Radzinski on her blog Biblibio and you can read all about it here. There’s also a Twitter feed where you can find book recommendations and keep up with all the activity during the month. Thanks to WiT Month, I found what has become one  of my favorite authors, Magda Szabo and I highly recommend her books, The Door and Iza’s Ballad. 

So, after a bit of research, I’ve decided on four books for this year. I wish I could read more but I know my limitations and so I prefer to keep my list attainable.

  1. The True Deceiver by Finnish author Tove Jansson, translated by Thomas Teal.
  2. Eve Out of Her Ruins by Mauritian author Ananda Devi, translated by Jeffrey Zuckerman.
  3. Umami by Mexican author Laia Jufresa, translated by Sophie Hughes
  4. Revenge by Japanese author Yoko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder

And I hope to read Khomeini, Sade and Me by Iranian author Abnousse Shalmani , translated by Charlotte Coombe, during the month but, if not, definitely after.

I really encourage you to make a point of reading at least one translated book by a woman. I remember the first year I decided to do this how I felt completely at a loss as to how to find these books. It’s easier now with the #WiTMonth hashtag on Twitter so I recommend checking it out.

Happy reading!

Happy birthday, Lucille!

Lucille’s mother was a gifted poet with only an elementary school education. Her poetry was offered publication but Lucille’s father wouldn’t allow it and forced her to burn the poems in the fireplace. It’s said Lucille never forgot it and I’m sure it shaped much of her own poetry. About the incident, she wrote a poem called “fury”:
“her hand is crying. / her hand is clutching / a sheaf of papers. / poems. / she gives them up. / they burn / jewels into jewels.”

She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for two separate books in the same year: Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir (1987), and Next: New Poems (1987). She won the National Book Award for Blessing the Boats (2000); the 2007 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize; and the Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America in 2010, just before her death.

When I discovered Lucille’s work I felt energized. Her messages of empowerment and self-love are lessons every one of us should take to heart and put into practice. How great it must have been to hear her read in person. 


Photo via The New Yorker

Publications: Blue Fifth Review & Writing in a Woman’s Voice 

My poem “Fractured Journey” is published in the Winter Quarterly of Blue Five Notebook/Blue Fifth Review. I’m so happy to join the talented writers in this wonderful edition. Big thanks to editors Sam Rasnake and Bill Yarrow who are outstanding poets themselves and have been so generous to me with their encouragement and advice over the years. 

In December my poem “2 Worlds” was published in Beate Sigridddaughters wonderful journal, Writing in a Woman’s Voice. I have great respect for Beate and the tireless work she does promoting women’s writing. I’ll never forget the surprise and elation I felt when she selected me as a finalist for the 15th Glass Woman Prize. Beate is a wonderful and sensitive writer and I recommend keeping an eye open for any of her publications, as writer and editor.

And, yes, I’m back! 

Women Online: Great Reads You Shouldn’t Miss

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I LOVE this tweet by Kelli Agodon, writer and co-founder of Two Sylvias Press who has a great twitter feed. Just had to share. Anyone who writes poetry has had a version of this wonderment in their head at one time or another. But, thing is, if you’re born to write poetry your really don’t have a choice. I wrote when I was very young then didn’t for years and years, only coming back to it in my mid-30’s but it was always in my head. Fragments, bits and pieces, phrases….it was always in there because it’s just how I think. So, no. Absolutely no, we are not wasting our lives writing poetry. The following poems written by some of the best women writers around are some of the best examples why.

The Gods’ Funniest Home Videos by Rachel Kessler in Pank.

She’s the kind of ghost who would taste so sweet. What god hasn’t tried to put her in his mouth and suck her down to the core?

The Southern Girl’s Guide to Getting Your MRS Degree by Allie Marini in Drunk Monkeys.

if all else fails, remember that other thing I told you about sweet tea: if you forget to add the baking soda, or if you squeeze the teabags, it can get mighty bitter. bitter tea—even if it’s sweet tea—can hide a lot of things, just like any good wife who follows all the rules.

Bare Bones of It by Tabatha Stirling in Feminine Collective.

I used to crack jokes about you to
make my father like me better. They
were cheap shots, Babycham insults.

Nuclear Family Warfare by Jane Noel Dabate in Rattle.

The women in my family
paint their lips red
in a school teacher’s correcting pen.

Although this is primarily a post about poetry I couldn’t not steer y’all to the following two essays. They are both amazing in different ways. They will both make you think and, maybe, shed a tear or two. Do not miss reading these words.
It’s a Man’s World by Maureen Langloss on her blog.

The multiplicity of bullet points in a single month, drawn from church and state, school and home, corporation and playing field, are like bricks overhead—caving in over my body, stoning me, crushing me, obliterating me. I feel personally wounded, bereaved. I have always been a person of hope and faith that things would get better for women, that together we would make a more equal, less violent world. But today it finally dawns on me, at age 45, that things don’t always get better. In fact, they get worse. And those stones that are crashing in over my head are inside me now. Festering, growing moss. They are the stone my body has internalized, that my heart has become.

Light & Darkness
How Sharon Olds brought me back to writing by Maggie Smith on The Poetry Foundation.

Turning to Sharon Olds, to poems such as “Prayer During a Time My Son Is Having Seizures,” gave me the permission and the courage to write my most intimate, vulnerable, and direct work yet.

I’ve read some pretty wonderful fiction online lately, too, so I’ll try to get a post up about that soon.

Life is a freight train and it’s bearing down fast. Take care, y’all.

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Happy Birthday, Sylvia


“The hardest thing is to live richly in the present without letting it be tainted out of fear for the future or regret for the past.” ~ Sylvia Plath

Happy birthday, Sylvia.

I’ve been reading her poetry this morning – so relatable, so poignant – and thought I’d share one of my favorites. There are so many opinions of Sylvia: that she was a genius, that she was tragic, that she was only an appendage of Ted Hughes. I think she was a woman, flawed and beautiful, like most. I think she did the best she could. There’s no doubt she made her mark on contemporary poetry and for that I’m grateful.

I Am Vertical

But I would rather be horizontal. I am not a tree with my root in the soil
Sucking up minerals and motherly love
So that each March I may gleam into leaf,
Nor am I the beauty of a garden bed
Attracting my share of Ahs and spectacularly painted,
Unknowing I must soon unpetal.
Compared with me, a tree is immortal
And a flower-head not tall, but more startling,
And I want the one’s longevity and the other’s daring.
Tonight, in the infinitesimal light of the stars,
The trees and the flowers have been strewing their cool odors.
I walk among them, but none of them are noticing.
Sometimes I think that when I am sleeping
I must most perfectly resemble them–
Thoughts gone dim. It is more natural to me, lying down.
Then the sky and I are in open conversation,
And I shall be useful when I lie down finally:
Then the trees may touch me for once, and the flowers have time for me.

***

Photo via The Early Hours.

Inspiration Interlude: Diane Ackerman


“The sensory misers will inherit the earth, but first they will make it not worth living on. When you consider something like death, after which we may well go out like a candle flame, then it probably won’t matter if we try too hard, are awkward sometimes, care for one another too deeply, are excessively curious about nature, are too open to experience, enjoy a nonstop expense of the senses in an effort to know life intimately and lovingly.” ― Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses

Happy birthday, Diane.

Recent Publications

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C. Hamrick 2014

My poem, “Another Poem About the Moon”, was just published in the new issue of Literary Orphans. Huge thanks to Mike Joyce, Scott Walden, and Peter Marra for allowing my work to grace their pages for the third time. I also want to thank Kaia Pieters, featured artist, for the beautiful photography that accompanies my piece and the others in this issue. Beautiful work, indeed.

Earlier this month my poem, “Bring Down the Babies”, was published in the beautiful Mockingheart Review. This journal specializes in publishing poetry and is curated by the wonderful Louisiana poet Clare Martin. If poetry is your thing, I highly recommend this journal. Thank you, Clare, for allowing me to find a home with Mockingheart Review.

In August, Mad Swirl published “AntsBirdsCoffee” in the Poetry Forum and added it to my page there. Thank you, Mad Swirl!

So, after a bit of a dry spell I’ve been fortunate to have three poems published. I’ve been writing a little every few days, submitting a  little, and thinking about submitting a little. Also, after a bit of an absence, I’ve put up a poem on Fictionaut, “He Was So Beautiful”.  As always, there is some good writing posted there right now so I encourage you to visit.

Have a great week-end, y’all!

 

#WITMonth : My Mother is a River

“I’m not graceful, nor light-hearted. I’m tethered to the ground, teeth grinding on the links of my chain. My mother, that’s what I’ve labelled every limit. I have charged her with the imperfection of my flight. She’s been my excuse. She’s the cause, and the reason. My mother is a tree. In her shade I have absolved myself. It’s shrivelling, the shade too shrinks away. Soon I’ll be exposed.”

My Mother is a River, by Italian writer Donatella Di Pietrantonio and translated by Franca Scurti Simpson, is the story of a mother and a daughter and the often rocky road of their relationship. But unlike most mother/daughter memoirs, the daughter narrates the mother’s story as well as her own. The mother, Esperina,  is suffering from dementia and the unnamed daughter serves as Esperina’s caregiver and  memory. The story jumps from past to present as the daughter tells and retells the story of Esperina’s life to her, reminding her of her life in rural Italy where she was born to a family poor but rich in traditions. Esperina’s life was a hard one leaving her little time for nurturing her daughter and the sense of abandonment is palpable in the daughters reminiscing of her own childhood.

“Now I can tell her everything about us, without mercy. She’d forget later. It would be but a fleeting wound.”

The memories and feelings expressed in this beautifully told story are complex and often harrowing touching on topics of abuse, sexual harassment, and disfigurement but yet also rich in the telling of domestic life in Italy. The language is luminous, bordering on poetic and I often high-lighted passages simply because the language was so beautiful.

I loved this book. I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads and I highly recommend it. Published by Calisi Press, you can purchase it here or on Amazon.

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