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Cries of the Spirit: A Celebration of Women's Spirituality

Overview

Brimming over with the inspirational words and thoughts of some of our finest writers, Cries of the Spirit is a beautiful sourcebook of poetry and prose in praise of life and all that it entails. Here women's voices fill the age-old silence about matters central to their experience-from menstruation, sexual intimacy, and childbirth to caretaking, household rituals, and death. These writings represent a healing vision of the sacred that emerges from the particular consciousness ...

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Overview

Brimming over with the inspirational words and thoughts of some of our finest writers, Cries of the Spirit is a beautiful sourcebook of poetry and prose in praise of life and all that it entails. Here women's voices fill the age-old silence about matters central to their experience-from menstruation, sexual intimacy, and childbirth to caretaking, household rituals, and death. These writings represent a healing vision of the sacred that emerges from the particular consciousness of women-a vision that partakes of the world of earth and flesh.
With contributions by Maya Angelou, Julia Alvarez, Margaret Atwood, Hildegard of Bingen, Lucille Clifton, Annie Dillard, Joy Harjo, Erica Jong, Denise Levertov, Audre Lorde, Kathleen Norris, Marge Piercy, Starhawk, Eudora Welty, Alice Walker, and others.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Marilyn Sewell has done us all a great service to gather together these voices, some new, some forgotten, all precious resources. The collection, together with Sewell's deeply insightful introduction, traces the spirit in all its dimensions and diversity, expanding our idea of the spiritual impulse. -Susan Griffin, author of Bending Home
KLIATT
From the stunningly beautiful cover to the haunting voices within, this is an outstanding book of poetry. Sewell has put together a collection of contemporary women's poems that reflect the spiritual crisis of our century. Among the poets included are Mary Oliver, Marge Piercy, Lucille Clifton and Nikki Giovanni. Each woman contributes a distinct voice illuminating the chapters defined under headings such as Death and Lesser Losses, Mothering, The Will Toward Good, and Images of the Divine. Sewell begins her introduction by stating that "Women have no language." It is the purpose of this book, she says, to let women find their poetic voices in the silences that have been their burden. Sewell speaks of this collection as being about women's ways of knowing and the move to wholeness. Every poem is rooted in personal experiences—experiences that reflect the human struggle. Most especially in her chapter "The Unity of All That Is," universal issues are addressed that show our "oneness" with each other. As Susan Fawcett's poem, "Subway," says, "swaying together, sleeve to sleeve, carried fast, packed tightour humanity merges together." Transformation and the quest for spiritual completion are expressed in an amusing and poignant poem, "Everywoman Her Own Theology," by Alicia Ostriker: "I am nailing them up to the cathedral door like Martin Luther./ Actually, no,/ So, I am thumbtacking these ninety-five Theses to the bulletin board in my kitchen." Every woman will recognize Ostriker's parting thoughts: "If something sacred wants to swoop from the universe/ Through a ceiling, and materialize,/ Folding its silver wings,/ In a kitchen, and bump its chest against mine,/ My paper willtell this being where to find me." In the concluding chapter entitled "The Word," Sewell says in her short introduction that women are called upon to "bear witness." These selections reflect the struggle the poet has with words, with expression, with time, and the relentless muse that pushes her: "I write these poems because I have to," states Maxine Kumin in "A Way of Staying Sane." Language finds its voice in all the unexpected places—over the kitchen sink, tending a sick child, taking out the garbage, hurrying to the office and even when diapering a baby, as in George Ella Lyon's poem "A Visit": someone banged on the door/ and it was this guy/ in an orange fishnet Florida Interstate T-shirt/ holding his bike helmet and saying/ Hi, I'm the Muse" This is the kind of book that will augment any poetry collection for high school, college and public libraries. I can only say thank you, Marilyn Sewell. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1991, Beacon, 311p, index, 26cm, 90-52581, $20.00. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Sally M. Tibbetts; Audio Visual/LRC, Main West H.S., Des Plaines, IL, July 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 4)
Booknews
More than 300 poems and a few prose pieces by modern writers such as Maya Angelou, Annie Dillard, Denise Levertov, Marge Piercy and Alice Walker, and earlier writers such as Hildegard of Bingen and Margaret Fuller. A splendid collection, organized thematically, that can be used as a sourcebook for public rituals, group gatherings, or personal reflection. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807068496
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 4/28/2000
  • Pages: 334
  • Sales rank: 763,156
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

MARGARET ATWOOD'S poetry, like her fiction - including The Handmaid's Tale and the Booker-winning The Blind Assassin -- is known and acclaimed around the world. Her last collection, Morning in the Burned House, won the Trillium Book Award in 1995. The author of more than forty works of fiction, poetry, critical essays, and books for children, Atwood has received top honors and awards in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, and many other countries. She lives in Toronto. In 2008, Atwood was awarded the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award Laureate for Letters, considered to be the Spanish-language Nobel.

Mary Oliver is one of the most celebrated and best-selling poets in America. Her books include Red Bird; Our World; Thirst; Blue Iris; New and Selected Poems, Volume One; and New and Selected Poems, Volume Two. She has also published five books of prose, including Rules for the Dance and, most recently, Long Life. She lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Anne Sexton (1928-1974), the author of ten collections of poems, received the Pulitzer Prize in 1967.

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