In recognition of National Poetry Month 2017,I want to spotlight a poetry anthology called Images: Women in Transition. This book originally belonged to my mother. She gave it to me (actually I begged her for it, as daughters often do) along with a couple of other books when she was downsizing to a smaller place. The cover is tattered and the pages are worn but it's one of the best poetry books I've come across in a long, long time.
Let me pause to give some background. The poems in this book were compiled in 1976 by now retired Janice T. Grana. She was the executive editor of Upper Room Books in Nashville Tennessee and served as its editor and publisher from 1984 to 1996. She said "we sensed a need among women to write about their personal experiences from a context of change, struggle, and sometimes frustration." So, "a news release was printed which invited Christian women to share their own stories" and it was "circulated ... through newspapers and special mailings." Not long after "manuscripts from across the country poured in .... from more than six hundred women."
The poetry in this book is revolutionary. The fact that I'm blogging about it 40 years later is a testament to how good the poetry in this book really is. It's moving and quiet and powerful and gentle. It screams and it shouts and it whispers. It sings. It makes you laugh and cry and wonder. You agree with it. You question it. You shake your head at one page and reread the next page five times. At a point in my life when the image I had of myself was becoming obscure, this book helped me see myself clearly again. As a woman and as a writer.
I love the words in this book. I love the women in this book. If only I could meet them. Sit with them. Talk to them. Listen to them. Hear their words in their own voices. See them and the images they have become, their transitions now complete. If only I could see their now after being so affected by their then.
To the left are the two poems I wrote after being inspired by this book. The book my mother gave me.
Images: Women in Transition is available on Amazon.com. Just click HERE.
IMAGES OF THEM Devoured One page After another One poem After another One woman After another After another After Decades Have passed Their souls Speak Their hearts Leak Their minds Leave Their legacy In print Left out for me On a plate Of leftover Words To feed with. Me. And as I feast From this smorgasbord Of poetry My poetic drought Now over My writers block Now lifted. Now nourished, I am strengthened I am satisfied I am full - Full of images Of me.