Archives for posts with tag: Women

sylvia plath paris 1956
Poets Intersecting at Red
by Sylvia Riojas Vaughn

Sylvia Plath mentioned
the hue twenty-two times
in her last writings,
scholars note.
I’m awestruck, for I,
also Sylvia,
also a poet,
like the brightness
of a cardinal
against snow.
My nails,
like cinnamon drops.
My sweaters,
reminiscent
of Santa’s coat.
My lingerie,
lipstick
torrid as flames.
But her heart
exploded in her lines.
She wrote of her
own attempts to die;
I, who’ve never tasted
that dark fruit,
write of those
who have.
What color
goodbye?

PHOTO: Poet Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) in Paris, 1956, ©The Lily Library, Indiana University, Bloomington.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For the SAME NAME series, I immediately thought of Sylvia Plath. I found the article What Sylvia Plath Loved on the Academy of American Poets website as I pondered what we had in common. Number 10 on the list was the color red, which I love, too. I was glad to find some things we both liked, including The Joy of Cooking cookbook. But I couldn’t escape the fact that she lived with depression, and felt compelled to include her sadness in my poem.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sylvia Riojas Vaughn
lives in Plano, Texas. She has work pending in Red River Review, and in an anthology of poets living in the greater Dallas/Fort Worth area. Her poems have appeared in The Great Gatsby Anthology, Silver Birch Press; Triadæ, Lifting the Sky: Southwestern Haiku & Haiga, Texas Poetry Calendar, HOUSEBOAT, Beechwood Review, The Applicant, Diálogo, Label Me Latina/o, Somos en escrito: The Latino literary online magazine, Desde Hong Kong: Poets in conversation with Octavio Paz, and numerous other anthologies and journals. She has been selected as a Houston Poetry Fest Juried Poet three times. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, she belongs to the Dallas Poets Community.

PHOTO: Sylvia Riojas Vaughn approximately two years ago, Plano, Texas. The roses, not quite red, were a gift from dear friends.

jackie kennedy
French. Kennedy. O.
by Jacalyn Carley

Named by
fate, chosen!, to
follow in her pumps
to wear fake pearls, meant

to share her
Camelot, serve
her dreams as all
Americans still dreamt.

In her image
I sewed A-lines,
savaged curls into
pageboys, hoped John-

John might later
overlook the difference
in our ages. Prince Charles
my other suitor, had the right age,

a good name and
stellar digs but didn’t
have the looks or the gait
and certainly not the mother.

O. Jackie. Oh, the
coif: mine! Oh, the yacht:
on order! Oh, the promises your
poise, your name still harbors. Je t’adore.

PHOTO: Jacqueline Kennedy, around 1962.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The prompt caught me unawares, I hadn’t thought about Jackie Kennedy and her profound influence on me (and many of my generation) for quite a while. And how proud I was to have the name of that First Lady! Encouraged and enamored, I wore my enormous braces and a bite-corrector in style, believing any girl with the right posture, perfect pastel dresses and the discipline to sleep every single night of the week on a head full of metal-brush curlers could – and would – become a Jackie Kennedy.

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ANOTHER NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My mother wanted her first daughter to be named Jackie. The nurse told her that was not a real name, it would have to be formalized. The same nurse told her using Q’s and U’s was not American. The nurse proceeded to make up a name, and write JACALYN on the birth certificate (which did not change the course of name-giving in America, as was certainly intended). After a long flirtatious childhood spent with the name Jackie (during which time Jackie Kennedy appeared and brought Q’s and U’s and French flair to all Americans), I became a choreographer and changed my name to Jac. I now go by both Jac and Jacalyn, although there are people who insist on making my hair stand on end by calling out, “Good work, Jackie!” when I give a reading. Which explains why that Jackie O pageboy look no longer sits like it once did.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jacalyn Carley is a writer and On-site Director for Sarah Lawrence College’s “Summer Arts in Berlin” study abroad program. She also donates time to refugee needs in Berlin.

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MOTHER, WASHING DISHES
by Susan Meyers

She rarely made us do it—
we’d clear the table instead—so my sister and I teased
that some day we’d train our children right
and not end up like her, after every meal stuck
with red knuckles, a bleached rag to wipe and wring.
The one chore she spared us: gummy plates
in water greasy and swirling with sloughed peas,
globs of egg and gravy.

Or did she guard her place
at the window? Not wanting to give up the gloss
of the magnolia, the school traffic humming.
Sunset, finches at the feeder. First sightings
of the mail truck at the curb, just after noon,
delivering a note, a card, the least bit of news.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Meyers is the inaugural winner of the Cider Press Review Editors Prize for her poetry collection My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass. The collection was also a finalist for the National Poetry Series, the Prairie Schooner Book Prize, and the Robert Dana Anhinga Poetry Prize. Her book Keep and Give Away (University of South Carolina Press, 2006) received the South Carolina Poetry Book Prize, the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Book Award for Poetry, and the Brockman-Campbell Book Award. Her chapbook Lessons in Leaving received the 1998 Persephone Press Book Award. A long-time writing instructor with an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte, Meyers teaches poetry workshops and classes in community programs. She is a past president of the poetry societies of both North and South Carolina. She and her husband live in the rural community of Givhans, South Carolina.

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PEAR TREE (Excerpt)
by HIlda Doolittle

Oh white pear
your flower tufts,
thick on the branch,
bring summer and ripe fruits
in their purple hearts.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Hilda Doolittle (1886-1961) attended Bryn Mawr, as a classmate of Marianne Moore, and later the University of Pennsylvania where she befriended Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams. She travelled to Europe in 1911, and remained abroad for the rest of her life. Through Pound, she  became a leader of the Imagist movement. Some of her earliest poems gained recognition when published by Harriet Monroe’s  Poetry magazine.  American Poetry Review noted that ”…by the end of her career [Doolittle] became not only the most gifted woman poet of our century, but one of the most original poets…in our language.” (Learn more at poets.org.)

Painting: “Pear Blossom” by Patti Siehien, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Find the painting at fineartamerica.com.

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WOMAN WITH A GREEN OLIVE, FLOATING
by Lori McGinn

Mom,
Do you remember?
There was that time
You were all fashion savvy,
With your martini,
your fancy cigarette holder?
Pall Mall cigarette poised.
There was a pool, a party,
Me, at the bottom of the pool
looking up, wondering when to breathe.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lori McGinn is a mom, grandma, baker of cookies, visual artist, and writer of poems. A native of Whittier, California, her work has appeared in several anthologies and her chapbook, Waiting, was published as a part of the Laguna Poets Series.
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“Woman with a Green Olive, Floating” and other poetry by Lori McGinn appears in the Silver Birch Press Green Anthology — a collection of poetry and prose from more than 70 authors around the world — available at Amazon.com (free Kindle version until 12/21/13).

Photo: “Classic Martini” by Ken Johnson, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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STYLE (excerpt)
by Charles Bukowski

Style is the answer to everything
A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous
thing
To do a dull thing with style is preferable
to doing a dangerous thing without it
To do a dangerous thing with style is what
I call art…

Photo: Hans Silvester, from his book Natural Fashion (see description from on the book’s Amazon page).

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We used to drive around at night, we didn’t have anything else to do. We didn’t like to be in our apartment…So we drove around in the dark. We drove down Sunset and slowly through the quiet northern streets in Beverly Hills. Sometimes we parked and beamed the headlights over one lawn. Houses in Beverly Hills still amazed us. After we sat for a while, peering out trying to see movement inside the frames of fuzzy, lighted windows far back on a lawn, my mother would sigh and turn on the ignition. ‘Someday,’ she’d say.”

From Anywhere But Here by MONA SIMPSON

Photo: Soj!!, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Find more work here.

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WASHING WINDOWS
by Terry Collet

Your mother used to sit on the window 

Ledge of the tenement building and 

Wash the windows of each of the rooms. 

She’d push back the shutters and just 

Sit there with a bucket of warm water 

And a cloth and wash away. You were 

Always afraid she’d lean too far back 

And fall out and down to the ground 

Several storeys below with a heavy crash 

And break bones or neck or maybe die. 

But she’d just sit there her legs holding 

Onto the wall beneath her and push her 

Right hand holding the damp cloth 

Over the glass while her left hand held 

The metal bucket tight swishing the warm 

Water as she moved back and forth like 

Some lone trapeze artist on the high wire 

Without apparent fear or knowledge of 

Was going on in the street below with the

Passing of the walking dead as Father used 

To say and Mrs Febrile sitting on her window

Ledge with her daughter watching gossiping 

And nosing about who did what to whom 

While all the while you were frightened of 

Your mother slipping out the window waving
Her hands and arms as she fell to her doom.

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PEAR TREE (Excerpt)
by HIlda Doolittle

Oh white pear
your flower tufts,
thick on the branch,
bring summer and ripe fruits
in their purple hearts.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Hilda Doolittle (1886-1961) attended Bryn Mawr, as a classmate of Marianne Moore, and later the University of Pennsylvania where she befriended Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams. She travelled to Europe in 1911, and remained abroad for the rest of her life. Through Pound, she  became a leader of the Imagist movement. Some of her earliest poems gained recognition when published by Harriet Monroe’s  Poetry magazine.  American Poetry Review noted that “…by the end of her career [Doolittle] became not only the most gifted woman poet of our century, but one of the most original poets…in our language.” (Learn more at poets.org.)

Painting: “Pear Blossom” by Patti Siehien, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Find the painting at fineartamerica.com.

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IL GRANDE GATSBY
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Italian Translation 
by Fernanda Pivano

Opening lines in Italian:
Negli anni più vulnerabili della giovinezza, mio padre mi diede un consiglio che no mi

è mai più uscito di mente.

— Quando ti vien la voglia di criticare qualcuno — mi disse — ricordati che non tutti a questo mondo hanno avuto i vantaggi che hai avuto tu. 

In Inglese: 
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” 

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ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR, from Wikipedia

Fernanda Pivano (1917- 2009) was an Italian writer, journalist, translator and critic. Born in Genoa, as a teenager she moved with her family to Turin where she attended the Massimo D’Azeglio Lyceum. In 1941 she received a bachelor’s degree with a thesis on Herman Melville‘s Moby-Dick, which earned her a prize from the Center for American Studies in Rome. Her first translation, part of the Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, was published in 1943, the same year she received a degree in philosophy.

In 1948, Pivano met Ernest Hemingway, resulting in an intense relationship of professional collaboration and friendship. The following year, Mondadori published her translation of A Farewell to Arms.

Throughout her professional life, Pivano contributed to the publication in Italy of significant American writers, from the icons of the Roaring Twenties, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, and William Faulkner, through the writers of the 1960s (Allen GinsbergJack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti), to young writers of recent decades, including Jay McInerney, Bret Easton Ellis, David Foster Wallace, Chuck Palahniuk and Jonathan Safran Foer. Pivano was also interested in African-American culture and published many Italian versions of Richard Wright‘s books. In 1980 and again in 1984, Pivano interviewed Charles Bukowski at his home in San Pedro, California. These interviews became the basis for her book, Charles Bukowski, Laughing with the Gods first published in the USA by Sun Dog Press in 2000.

Photo: Ernest Hemingway and Fernanda Pivano, 1949.