Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged women writers

Going the Distance

When I first read about this film in the making, I was psyched. I’m a huge Drew Barrymore fan, and it appeared that finally, a romantic comedy was in the works that presented a more modern interpretation of male female relationships. It looked like it might actually include both sides of the story rather than just a fairy tale version of the woman’s desire to be desired. Mission accomplished… sort of.

Moonrise: The Power of Women Leading from the Heart

How could the title of this book not hook you? Power. Women. Heart. So, maybe I was biased from the beginning. Honestly, I was hoping that the book would be “all that.” It was. By page fifteen, not having gotten past the editor’s introduction, I was pulsing with energy. I was ready to get my lazy butt up off the couch and pitch in.

The Carrie Diaries

Sex and the City the television series ended six years ago. One might find this hard to believe, considering the characters and the lavish lifestyles they live have been far from gone in the mainstream media.

Saints & Cannibals

If I were to list my favorite poets, the count would be long and span a modest range of styles, but several rise clearly to the top. These poets—Sharon Olds, Carolyn Forché, Sylvia Plath, and Audre Lorde, to name a few—in no way shy away from subject matter women are traditionally taught to suppress or deny: the shocking, shadowy, and infinitely juicy reality of our lives.

Tillie Olsen: One Woman, Many Riddles

Part of Panthea Reid’s title seems to allude to Tillie Olsen’s 1961 collection of short stories, Tell Me a Riddle. It also seems to highlight the layers of complexity in a woman hailed as an iconic writer and feminist. Reid doesn’t idealize Olsen.

Women Writers of the Provincetown Players: A Collection of Short Works

For someone whose theater knowledge is limited to a high school rendition of Cheaper by the Dozen, the compilation of plays that comprises Women Writers of the Provincetown Players were both easy and enjoyable to read.

Acts of Narrative Resistance: Women's Autobiographical Writings in the Americas

Laura Beard’s study of women’s autobiography in its many forms, Acts of Narrative Resistance, is quite unique. There has to my knowledge never been a thorough single author study written which connected and compared such a variety of autobiographical texts from the Americas in Spanish, Portuguese, and English.

Where I Live: New & Selected Poems 1990-2010

It’s truly a shame that poetry is so often thought of as inaccessible, hopelessly and purposefully snarled with obscurity and flabby with rococo intellectualism. Great poetry should work on many levels, and thus appeal to a wide audience from those who appreciate it for its pure beauty and those that delight the complexity of further analysis. Maxine Kumin is a poet whose entire oeuvre is rooted in what she knows: her farm in New Hampshire, where she works in the ground, keeps horses.

The Social Philosophy of Jane Addams

Personally, what’s best about The Social Philosophy of Jane Addams by Maurice Hamington is something he left out. His focus stays on Addams’s political and philosophical thought with absolutely no mention of her having had, as I do, a twisted spine. When my condition had just been detected, my eighth-grade health teacher singled me out to write a report on Jane Addams. My classmates got to choose. I was mortified.


With her first collection of poetry, Incivilities, literature and theory professor-turned-poet Barbara Claire Freeman excavates the vagaries of an American narrative—“how it became, what it began,” as one of her poems says. Like men counting bodies on a battlefield, exploding the absurd order of the data they have collected, Freeman’s poems rebel against the aftermath of the atrocities (the title puts it mildly) they insist on recognizing.

Between the Sheets: Nine 20th Century Women Writers and Their Famous Literary Partnerships

The adage, “Behind every great man is a great woman,” is a backhanded compliment to women, and one that implicitly avers a submissive feminism of codependency.


The first impression upon commencing Herta Müller’s collection of semi-autobiographical short stories Nadirs is one that is characterized by a child’s hybridized view of a world which is intensely real and also hauntingly and disconcertingly surreal.

A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen

Why do we read Jane Austen? Beyond the books themselves, films and BBC miniseries adapted from classics like Pride and Prejudice draw large audiences. Are we drawn in by Austen's characters, delightful yet no-nonsense writing style, or detailed unveiling of social dynamics? Maybe it's the happy endings that keep us coming back.

The Edge of Change: Women in the 21st Century Press

My bias as a journalist and editor made me want to love The Edge of Change, but the stubborn remnants of the journalistic outlook into which I was indoctrinated gave bias a real beating. So, in the end, I just liked some parts and hated others. The concept was great, but the construction was lacking.

An Angle of Vision: Women Writers on Their Poor and Working-Class Roots

In An Angle of Vision, we are presented with a series of extraordinarily well-written essays centered upon one of the most taboo topics in U.S. culture: class. More specifically, we are presented with first-person, female-centered examinations of two groups who are steadily disappearing from both the public discourse and the popular culture of the United States: the poor and working class.

Activist Sentiments: Reading Black Women in the Nineteenth Century

In Activist Sentiments, P. Gabrielle Foreman examines reading practices and literacies—formal and social/vernacular—among African American women from 1859 to the 1890s.

Unrest: Poems

The poems in Joanna Rawson’s recent collection, Unrest, have the quality of things scrawled in the harsh fluorescent light of insomnia. The lines scurry in jagged lengths, infesting the broad pages with buzzing images of immigrants suffocating in a boxcar, feverish babies, a suicide bomber, and war.

Magdalene and the Mermaids

After reading Elizabeth Kate Switaj’s collection of poetry Magdalene and the Mermaids, I decided I wanted to know a bit more about her. It turns out that she grew up in Seattle, spent years in Asia teaching English and traveling, lived briefly in Brooklyn, and is now back in Seattle.

A Narrative Compass: Stories That Guide Women’s Lives

When I read the back cover of A Narrative Compass, I thought it might be something nice to read before going to bed at night, and luckily, I was right. The texts this collection contains are great bedtime stories: attention grabbing, short, and self-contained. Reading it is a little bit like having all of your closest friends over for a gathering to talk about the stories you treasure from your youth, and how they have influenced you.

Who’s Afraid of Kathy Acker?

Finally, a documentary on legendary writer Kathy Acker, whose influence on sex-positive, brazen, post-modern feminist literature and art is unsurpassed. Perhaps there would have been no Riot Grrrl movement if Acker had not spoken to a young Kathleen Hanna. Hanna recalls that “Acker asked me why writing was important to me, and I said, ‘Because I felt like I’d never been listened to and I had a lot to say,’ and she said, ‘Then why are you doing spoken word?? No one goes to spoken word shows!

Poems from the Women’s Movement

It’s debatable whether collections of work by “women poets” (or, shudder, “poetesses”) are legitimate groupings. I tend to regard these types of collections with a raised eyebrow, imagining a group of women having an outdoor party, having been shut out of some stuffy jackets-required club, now herded together and pushed through the doors all at once to their dismay.

A Night of Shorts (06/05/2009)

The Wellesley Project’s inaugural show, A Night of Shorts, brought six single-scene dramatic performances and two choreographed pieces to the WorkShop Theatre for a short-run at the beginning of June. While home for the Project is New York City, its namesake—Wellesley College—figures as the catalyzing spirit behind the Project’s conception. Its founders, Caitlin Graham and Janice Yang, envisioned the Project as an artistic medium for women to pursue opportunities in both theater and production.

Reforming the World: Social Activism and the Problem of Fiction in Nineteenth Century America

Reforming the World: Social Activism and the Problem of Fiction in Nineteenth-Century America explores the complex relationship between American social activism and literature in the nineteenth century. At times symbiotic, at times turbulent, this relationship was formed both by the power of literature and by the hopes and dreams of American social reformers for their country.

The Winter Sun: Notes on a Vocation

Fanny Howe’s ostensible concern in The Winter Sun: Notes on a Vocation is the origin and nature of her writing life.

Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home

Kim Sunée’s Trail of Crumbs is lovely coming of age story about a young woman searching for her identity, love, and place in the world—her home. Sunée writes a beautiful memoir about her passionate love affair, all the while embodying the tastes and sumptuous delicacies of her travels without embellishing her story.

Searching for Tamsen Donner

Westward expansion meets the women’s movement in Gabrielle Burton’s Searching for Tamsen Donner, a memoir about a mother’s journey West in the path of the doomed Donner Party pioneers of 1846-7. Most people associate the Donner Party legacy with cannibalism.

A Journal for Jordan: A Story of Love and Honor

I can’t remember the last time I cried after reading a book. After reading the last page of A Journal for Jordan I suddenly found myself bawling my eyes out. But enough about me—this is a book review after all. Based on the title of this book, I expected it to be a journal written by a loved one for a loved one.

Are Girls Necessary?: Lesbian Writing and Modern Histories

Are Girls Necessary? was an astoundingly great idea, exploring the lesbian in nineteenth and twentieth century lesbian-authored literature, even that which is not as explicit as the lesbian novels that make up the heart of the lesbian literary canon. The subjects of Abraham’s examinations are a veritable pantheon of lesbian, bisexual and feminist literary icons: [Willa Cather](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1844083721?ie=UTF8&tag=feminrevie-20&linkCode=as

Gwethalyn Graham: A Liberated Woman in a Conventional Age

Barbara Meadowcroft promises in her introduction to Gwethalyn Graham: A Liberated Woman in a Conventional Age that this book is no definitive biography. How refreshing! Can there really be such a thing anyway? She argues that no one is ever truly known “even, or especially, to those closest to them,” and I would agree.