Poetry and Short Stories – Reading Women 2019

This post is part of a series on reading women 2019 hosted by Lonely Cryptid Media’s Narrative Designer, Dan Michael Fielding.

The nice thing about a short story is if you don’t like it, it’s over quickly and you can move on to the next one. The terrible thing about a short story is if you do like it, it’s over quickly and you have to move on to the next one.

Poetry is a little different. Although often (but not necessarily) short, poems encourage frequent re-reading and close study.

For both, reading a collection of the author’s work can be like peering into their life. I chose this prompt to take full advantage of the willingness of authors to share their work with the world.

A few suggestions to get you started on your reading journey:

For folks who like science fiction you might check out Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler, a collection of short stories that features the bizarre and fascinating.

For a longer collecting of science fiction try Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree Jr. (AKA Alice Bradley Sheldon). There is such a variety of stories in this collection that I truly recommend it to everyone I know. You’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy!

(Incidentally, James Tiptree Jr. became the namesake for the James Tiptree Jr. Award in science fiction, which we will be looking into again later this year.)

Although I’m more well-read when it comes to short stories, I still could only recommend a few. I asked my friends for help and they suggested:

Dinosaurs on Other Planets by Danielle McLaughlin

All Out edited by Sandra Mitchell

Falling in Love With Hominids by Nalo Hopkinson

What are your favorite short story and poetry collections?

Because I am more familiar with reading collections of short stories, for this challenge I have decided to read a book of poetry. I’ve never done that before so this should be exciting!

Although I’ve read individual poems by various authors I’ve never tried to read an entire collection of their work. The closest I’ve come was when I read Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldua, which is a magnificent blend of poetry, prose, theory, family and cultural history, philosophy, and visions of activism. However, half of that book is written in Spanish, a language I can neither speak nor read. While I enjoyed it immensely I know that I wasn’t able to access the spirit of Anzaldua’s arguments as well as someone who could read both English and Spanish would.

I did a little research on books of poetry that sounded interesting and stumbled upon Bustle’s 30 Poetry Collections By Women That Will Keep You Motivated To Resist. I decided to read Reaper by Jill McDonough.

I was intrigued by the description of McDonough’s work as blending past, present, and future. I’m excited to read her exploration of technology, environment, and the military.

Reaper just arrived today and it’s a slim volume but I’m already intrigued. I read the first poem, The Rise and Fall of Robots and I’m hooked! I’ll let you know my thoughts on the full volume when I’m finished.

What collection of short stories or poetry will you be reading?

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16 thoughts on “Poetry and Short Stories – Reading Women 2019

    1. I read _Stag’s Leap_, a collection of personal poems about Olds’s divorce. It was an excruciating read in any ways; she was so utterly blind-sided, feeling that everything she thought she knew was wrong, and her imagery is visceral. But the final poem was what made me cry: it’s so generous to both her ex-husband and herself.

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  1. Hi there! I’m joining the challenge from Argentina 😀
    I chose to read a not well-known author, Glauce Baldovin. Last year all of his published and unpublished works were printed in a book called Mi signo es el fuego (Fire is my sign). I have a lot to explore from her!

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  2. I’m doing Rupi Kaur’s The Sun and Her Flowers. I got it for xmas last year and still haven’t made time to read it, even though I loved her first collection.

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  3. I’m going to read Great Short Stories by American Women by Candace Ward. It is a collection of some of the most famous short stories written by American Women. However, I don’t think I have read many of them, so I want to fix that. Before this I read Changing Planes by Ursula Le Guin. I read this book for a different challenge, but in retrospect, I think it would fit this challenge too. It is a collection of short stories about different dimensional planes (or worlds).

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    1. I finished Great Short Stories by American Women by Candace Ward! It was a collection of famous classic short stories written by American Women. Before each short story was a short biography about the author, which was nice. I read it for the Read Women 2019 Challenge. Although these stories are classics, I had only ever read one before, which makes me sad. Probably my two favorite stories were “White Heron” by Sarah Orne Jewett, and “A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell. White Heron has to do with a young girl deciding between a man she likes and the livelihood of a bird. A wonderful quote, paraphrased, is “She wondered why he shot the things which he seemed to like so much.” And “A Jury of Her Peers” is about how two women are able to solve a mystery, while the men are not. This is because they were willing to pay attention to small details that the men thought were silly, because they were “women’s things.” Apparently the short story was first a play. I think that would be interesting to see. There were other fascinating short stories too. One focused on how a woman and man, after being engaged for many years, no longer wanted to be married. There was another story about domestic abuse. And other story about what it was like to be biracial in a segregated world. Altogether, I really enjoyed this.

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