Let me begin by telling you that this book is available on amazon.com (see below). No, I didn't get paid to say that. Smile.
The first time I saw this book I was helping my mother sort through mounds and mounds of her books in preparation for a move. The title immediately caught my eye, so I quickly flipped through a couple of pages and realized it was a poetry anthology. Like a little girl I exclaimed "Mommy, can I have this book? Please? It's a poetry book. Can I have it?" She laughed and said "Yes Patricia." I put it with the small but growing pile of other books I had already asked (begged) for. The day ended with us boxing up the rest of her books. Later I put my new old books on the top of my bookshelf and life went on.
A few weeks later I was on my way to a doctor's appointment and was going through my usual ritual of throwing a couple of books into a tote bag that I could look over while sitting in the waiting room. I grabbed two Sunday school books I was previewing for my class and the poetry book my mother gave me. A short time later, I arrived at the doctor's office and settled comfortably on a cushioned bench with other waiting patients. As they scrolled and clicked on their electronic devices, the television provided the typical background noise: a talk show. I opened Images: Women in Transition and began to read. That was two months ago. I've read the book through three times since then.
Let me pause to give some background. The poems in this book were compiled in 1976 by now retired Janice T. Grana. She was executive editor of The Upper Room Books in Nashville Tennessee and served as world editor and publisher from 1984 to 1996. Janice says "we sensed a need among women to write about their personal experiences from a context of change, struggle and sometimes frustration." What's remarkable to me however is how her team did it. She says "a news release was printed which invited Christian women to share their own stories" and was "circulated ...through newspapers and special mailings." She certainly wasn't prepared for the response, adding "manuscripts from across the country poured in .... from more than six hundred women. I came face to face with women who were willing to risk being honest. I was conscious of a genuine search for wholeness and growth, combined with a sensitivity to the needs of others. Their reflections caused me to see myself more clearly."
And I stand in agreement with Janice. This book has blessed me. It has inspired me. At a point in my life when my vision of my own image was becoming obscure, this book helped me see myself clearly again. The fact that I'm blogging about this book 40 years later in and of itself is a testament to how great it really is.
The poetry in this book is revolutionary. It's before its time. It's moving and quiet and powerful and gentle. It screams and shouts and whispers. It sings. It feeds you, fills you, lifts you up, empowers you. It makes you laugh and cry and wonder. You agree with it. You question it. You shake your head one page, and reread the next page five times.
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 them read their words. See them and the images they have become, their transitions now complete. If only I could see their now is after being so affected by their then.
Here is one of the two poems I wrote after being inspired by this book. The book my mother gave me.
Images In Transition
With literary leftovers
Hand me downs
Of decades old images
Washed clean the
Murky vision of self
That had started
To set in
And whose lyrics
Sang life to
Inside of me
And whose cries
Woke up my
Back to myself
Patricia Middleton © 2017
Images: Women in Transition is available on Amazon.com. Just click HERE.
For Upper Room Books click the following link: www.upperroom.org