Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Some thoughts on the Sept/Oct 2007 Issue of Women’s Review of Books

Edited to Add: I recieved an email from Carol Bere and the editor of Women's Review of Books, Amy Hoffman, in regards to this post. There will be a correction in the November/December issue.

In the Sept/Oct 07 issue there is an article-review, actually-on a book about Assia Weevil: The Other Woman, Lover of Unreason: Assia Weevil, Sylvia Plath’s Rival and Ted Hughes’s Doomed Love by Eliat Negev and Yehunda Koren (reviewed by Carol Bere).

What I found even more interesting than the article, and even the book itself, were the photographs chosen for the article and the captions that went along with them.

The pictures chosen are two very well known images of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath.

When I first read (eh, skimmed) the article I thought, how strange that there would be no pictures of the subject of the book herself, and gave it no more thought than that.

Later, after reading the paper in more depth (when I didn’t have a toddler clamoring at my side), I noticed upon closer observation, the captions underneath the pictures-the first: “Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes” and the second… “Ted Hughes and Assia Weevil”.

The second picture is obviously not of Hughes and Weevil, but that of Plath and Hughes.

My first reaction was, Wow. Even here, 40 + years after Plath’s death, in a review on the first book published of her so-called 'rival', she asserts her position as the Alpha Female within the Plath-Hughes story.

Then again, take away the romanticism (or whatever you want to call it) and it’s just an
editorial mistake, something that slipped by the proof reader’s eye.

Other articles to check out in this issue:
-Reinterpreting the Ancients: Portrait of a Priestess: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece.

-The Bush Countdown: George W. Bush and the War on Women: Turning Back the Clock on Progress

If you haven’t already, check out this publication. It is very much worth it.

So many “women’s magazines” –those geared specifically at women- are, more often than not-slightly condescending towards women. Surely we have interests beyond the latest fashion and beauty tips (i.e. 10 ways to stay hot, How to keep the fire going in the bedroom, etc.) which apple is the best for pie. Not to mention the women’s publications that seem ‘empowering’, intelligent and going beyond the norm, yet miss the point entirely (We’Moon…..).

As for review mags (well, let’s face it, most main stream mags and papers), they have a tendency to write to the ‘general public’, mostly viewed as male. (Hello, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, etc). Yes, this is the 21st Century, but we still have a bit to go concerning bias of audience gender.

The Women’s Review of Books does not fall into the category of the traditional “women’s magazines” nor does it make it into your traditional review magazine. It is geared towards women, but is certainly an accessible read.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The New Yorker-Subscription Department

Recently, I got a 'Professional Discount Subscription Rate' for The New Yorker, 'cause I'm a....professional.

It is tempting. It is a ridiculously small amount to pay.

However, I will not be buying a single issue, much less a whole subscription, until there are more women featured throughout the whole magazine, particularly the poetry and feature departments.

Paul Muldoon-will you be addressing this?

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

MotherVerse #7 Available

MotherVerse #7 is hot off the press and it is good!

Pick up an issue here, subscribe digitally or by mail; or give the gift of MotherVerse! All sorts of options!
Don't forget to visit the blog--

Also, MotherVerse is actively searching out visual art for our cover and inside pages as well as book reviews and interviews. See submission page for more details

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Word Orgasms

Hm. Word Orgasms. Wordgasms?

Words/phrases in literature that make you scream out in full love of language, making you wish you had written such a thing.

Some examples of books containing the wordgasms (for me):

Lady Chatterley's Lover, D.H. Lawrence

The English Patient, Michael Odaatje (as mentioned before)

"The moon is on him like a skin, a sheaf of water."

The Most Beautiful Woman In Town, Charles Bukowski (Mentioned before here)

Tender Is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald

More titles to come later. More word- specific- orgasms to come.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mom Writers Lit Mag Fall 07

Just got my issue in the mail today:

I'm quite impressed with the print version. Very well laid out and organized. Very aesthetically appealing, very slick. It was (is) excellent on-line, but even better in print!

My poem, Inside, is featured on page 36 in the print issue and here on-line.

Like the print version of MWLM? Help keep it that way! Support the magazine by subscribing. The Magazine wouldn't be anything without it's contributors. Got something to say-submit.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Mother Talk Review: The Reincarnationist, M.J. Rose

The Reincarnationist, M. J. Rose
MIRA Books
Hardcover, $24.95 U.S./ 29.95 Canada, 464 pages
ISBN: 13: 978-0-7783-2420-1
ISBN: 10: 0-7783-2420-6

Reincarnation has always fascinated me, as well as anything having to do with the occult and metaphysical matters, since I was young. It's been a natural interest: I would check out every single book from the library on the subject and devour it, usually, in one sitting. It remains, to this day, an interest that holds strong.
So, when I heard The Reincarnationist was to be on the Mother-Talk Bookshelf, I immediately signed up.

This is Rose's ninth published book, and one she has worked on the longest. In The Reincarnationist, she fearlessly probes through the depths of reincarnation; always questioning the possibility: does such a thing exist? The premise of the book seems promising, if a bit worn:

Photojournalist Josh Ryder ( the main character) is suddenly having flashbacks to pre-Christian Rome after an accident as the high priest Julius. Josh gets involved with the Phoenix Foundation shortly after-a center that researches and documents reincarnation and past life experiences, and tries to makes sense of these ‘lurches’; He then begins to also have flashbacks to Victorian England as Percy Talmage-son of the founder of the Phoenix Foundation. It all interconnects in the present by the excavation of an ancient tomb in Rome, and the discovery of a well-preserved 1600 year old woman who holds "The Memory Stones"- ancient artifacts that are supposed to incite past life regressions- pulling in a few other important characters. Back and forth through the centuries we travel with Josh, in search of answers from a past that needs to be settled here in the present.

Fifteen pages into it and I’m thinking the writing itself isn’t very original, or exciting, even cliché in some parts-
“…the muscles in his thighs and calves screamed, and every breath irritated his lungs so harshly, he wanted to cry out.” (p.15)
Couldn’t the muscles do something other than ‘scream’? Something, they’ve no doubt, done a hundred times before? Couldn’t his breath do something other than ‘irritate’ his lungs?

“Grief ripped through him like a knife slitting open his chest….”
How many times has grief ripped through one like a knife?

The dialogue is really quite bland, and the story formulaic and somewhat predictable. "She shook violently" and "The mountainous waves beat against the ship endlessly" seemed to have been in a hundred different books, some that I have read recently.

When I read a fictional book, the language of the story really has to stand out for me to enjoy it as well as a story line that flows gracefully and coherently; making me scream out: OH! YES! at some word or phrase, wishing I had written such a thing. All the while I was reading this, I kept thinking of two books: The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje and The Witching Hour, by Anne Rice.

I thought of The English Patient, simply because it was written so astoundingly well; it made me scream out more than once in pure appreciation and love of language, whereas The Reincarnationist just didn't.

I couldn’t help but feel as if I was reading a distant cousin, in plot, of The Witching Hour with The Reincarnationist. Rose does admit being influenced by early Anne Rice novels. Perhaps a little too much….There were actually several things that struck me as quite 'Witchy' : the racing back and forth through the centuries concept (done very well in The Witching Hour, I might add), The Phoenix Foundation reminded me too much of the Talamasca -"We watch and we are always here"- in various Anne Rice novels. It is a fictional order set up to watch over and record the paranormal. Also, the name Beryl Talmage, head of the Phoenix Foundation, too closely resembled that of Talamasca for me to take it as something original.

What sort of threw me was when the Rome story (Julius and Sabina) just kind of dropped off in the middle of the book, only to pick up again at the very end of the book. I know there wasn’t much left to tell at that point, but it seems as if it suddenly switched to another century and a different story (Percy, Etc) without any sort of transition, smooth or otherwise. Also, the fact that Josh would have flashbacks both to Rome and England just didn’t flow for me. Perhaps the stories will pick up in the next book more harmoniously?

It seems a great deal of research has gone into this book, thus making the stories themselves quite believable. At the back of the book, there is an extended 'Suggested Reading List' that I intend to hunt out as soon as possible. The concept of the memory stones was quite intriguing. If they had actually existed, that would be phenomenal. What a great idea! Also, the dust jacket struck me as very visually appealing. I would have bought it just for the cover and the title.

This just didn’t get me going as I thought it would. I think I may have to re-read The Witching Hour....

For more information on this book, please visit: Mother-Talk for the story behind the book, Author's Website and Blog. Also, check out a podcast interview featuring M. J. Rose here. As always, check in with Mother-Talk throughout the entire month of October (and perhaps into November!) for additional reviews. This is a big one! No less than 50 bloggers will be participating in this review!

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

It Finally Arrived!!

After it not being available for a few months, I finally

I got a copy of this book in the mail yesterday:
(The Unraveling Archive: Essays On Sylvia Plath, Edited by Anita Helle)
You can expect lots of discussion on this in the future.....

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Friday, October 05, 2007

WITM's First Giveaway! Mama Knows Breast, By Andi Silverman

Exciting News!

Andi Silverman and Quirk Books are giving away a copy of her fabulous book Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner's Guide To Breastfeeding!

That's right.

Want to win it?

Leave a comment below telling me why you need/want this book and I will pick the winner at random on November 1st!

One more thing:
Please leave a way for me to contact you if you want the book! (i.e. email, weblink, etc.)

From the back cover:

"Breastfeeding may be natural, but it isn't always easy. Mama Knows Breast is the essential new mom's guide to nursing-full of friendly, frank and reassuring advice. Here is all the information you need to get through breast feeding's ups and downs...."

From Mother-Talk:

"Written by a mom who has been there, and packed with anecdotes by women from a variety of backgrounds, Mama Knows Breast is a beautifully illustrated gift for new mothers everywhere."

For more information on the book, visit the site.
Check out an interview with the author!
Just finished making the rounds, check out all the reviews at Mother Talk!
Direct Link To My Review Of Mama Knows Breast

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Review: Mama Knows Breast, Andi Silverman

Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner's Guide To Breastfeeding
By Andi Silverman

Published by Quirk Books
Paperback: $14.95, 160 pages
ISBN-10: 1-59- 574-165-4
ISBN-13: 978-1-59474-165-4

If we lived in a society/culture that truly supported women , breastfeeding and everything else that goes along with it (including women's support of each other, familial support and otherwise) there would be no need for this book. However, since we haven't quite reached that point, there is "Mama Knows Breast", by Andi Silverman.

This book is a quick read, yet informative and serious as well as humorous. That can be a rare thing to come by in this genre, the all inclusive 'Mommy Lit', where a majority can be found to favor one or the other school of thought.
Even though my daughter and I are at the end of the breastfeeding path, I did find this helpful and would pass it on to friends. It would make a great baby shower gift!

In her introduction she says "This is a collection of all the things I wish someone had told me when I was pregnant the first time."
Every possible question and situation is addressed with wit and candor; from breastfeeding positions and hold (yes, positioning really does matter) to tandem nursing, getting enough sleep to fashion (it's unrealistic to look like the celebs post-partum, even if they look fabulous) and taking care of yourself. There is also a whole chapter devoted to commonly asked questions. I particularly enjoyed the 'Responding To Critics' section under the Breastfeeding Etiquette chapter. I found I gravitated mostly toward the 'flip' answers.
It is also packed with informative lists, helpful tips, great historical info (under 'Mama Data') and snippets from real moms ('From the Mouths of Moms').

The only thing that bothered me was the illustrations. They were a bit too trendy and annoying to my eye. I mean, who looks like that?

Aside from that, the book and its content was very well organized and informative. I recommend this book to all mothers, but especially those who feel lost in a sea of well-meaning advice and don't have many 'motherly' resources to turn to.

Congratulations Caryn, Winner of Mama Knows Breast Giveaway!

For more information on the book, visit the site. Check out an interview with the author! If you haven't read the previous reviews of this book yet, check them out at Mother-Talk!

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

MotherVerse Actively Seeking Artwork

MotherVerse is actively searching out visual art for their cover and inside pages.

Check out the submissions page for more information. Please, also, check out the "How To Submit" section on the submissions page as there are specific guidelines on format.
Don't forget to check out the blog

Want to "Be Heard"? Send us a short piece (under 500 words) on what it's like in your corner of the world! We've set up a short 'Interview Guide' to help you along. If we deem it blog friendly, we’ll post it along with your name(aliases are ok), region, photos, and any website link you may have.