Woman in Front of the Sun: On Becoming a Writer

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Overview

In this collection of essays woven with poems and folklore, Judith Ortiz Cofer tells the story of how she became a poet and writer and explores her love of words, her discovery of the magic of language, and her struggle to carve out time to practice her art.
A native of Puerto Rico, Cofer came to the mainland as a child. Torn between two cultures and two languages, she learned early the power of words and how to wield them. She discovered her love for the subtleties, sounds, and...
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Overview

In this collection of essays woven with poems and folklore, Judith Ortiz Cofer tells the story of how she became a poet and writer and explores her love of words, her discovery of the magic of language, and her struggle to carve out time to practice her art.
A native of Puerto Rico, Cofer came to the mainland as a child. Torn between two cultures and two languages, she learned early the power of words and how to wield them. She discovered her love for the subtleties, sounds, and rhythms of the written word when a Roman Catholic nun and teacher bent on changing traditions for the better gave her books of high literature to read, some of which were forbidden by the church. Later, as an adult, demands from her family and her profession made it difficult for Cofer to find time to devote to her art, but her need and determination to express herself led to solutions that can help all artists challenged with the limits of time. Cofer recalls the family cuentos, or stories, that inspire her and shows how they speak to all artists, all women, all people. She encourages her readers to insist on the right to be themselves and to pursue their passions.

A book that entertains, instructs, and enthralls, Woman in Front of the Sun will be invaluable to students of poetry and creative nonfiction and will be a staple in every creative writing classroom as well as an inspiration to all those who write.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
I feel as though I have just completed a personal interview with Judith Ortiz Cofer. I had read her volume of short stories, An Island Like You, about barrio life in Paterson, New Jersey, and now I have been treated to an understanding of this Puerto Rican female author's motives, background and literary preferences. The importance of carving out the time and place to craft one's writing is central to this author's core and she demands that her students follow her lead. Storytelling, characterizations and the strength of Cofer's cultural heritage are dominant throughout this slim book of essays. I found myself enthralled with her story about "the woman who slept with one eye open" and interpretations of this tale could be most revealing. Male-female issues weigh heavy on Latin American life and my favorite moment occurs when she discovers that her "artistic drive often clashed with male macho." Religious devotion was a strong theme through Cofer's childhood, and the marvelous "Sister Rosetta" introduces an eclectic blend of music, philosophy, dance and popular culture as the book opens. Cofer's sense of identity and community extends to poignant poetry and her intriguing command of her non-native English is outstanding. I highly recommend this gem to aspiring writers and students of culture. KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, Univ of Georgia Press, 127p, 18cm, 00-036882, $14.95. Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Nancy Zachary; YA Libn., Scarsdale P.L., Scarsdale, NY, March 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 2)
Library Journal
This collection of essays and poetry tells of Cofer's love of language and how she became a writer. Born in Puerto Rico, she came to the mainland as a child. Since then, she has struggled with being torn between two cultures and, more recently, with finding time for writing while balancing her family and teaching career. Cofer (English and creative writing, Univ. of Georgia; Silent Dancing: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood) uses cuentos, or stories, that have served her as inspiration, and she points out how they speak to everyone. Especially noteworthy is "The Woman Who Slept with One Eye Open." Here Cofer shows metaphorically how the artist must use ingenious means to avoid or outsmart anything or anyone who keeps her from realizing her creative power. Cofer writes with conviction and power, encouraging all whom aspire to writing or creative endeavor to pursue their dream with energy and dedication. This book will be useful in creative writing classes and for those who would like to write but cannot find the time and energy. Recommended for public and academic libraries. [The story cited here also inspired the title for an anthology Cofer coedited, Sleeping with One Eye Open: Women Writers and the Art of Survival, LJ 11/15/99.--Ed.]--Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820322612
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2000
  • Pages: 127
  • Product dimensions: 5.29 (w) x 7.36 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Table of Contents

My Rosetta
A Prayer, a Candle, and a Notebook
The Gift of a Cuento
Woman in Front of the Sun
Taking the Macho
The Woman Who Slept with One Eye Open
In Search of My Mentors' Gardens
And Are You a Latina Writer?
And May He Be Bilingual
To Understand El Azul
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2001

    An intelligent book

    Even though this book is expensive, I think it is worth it. This book is a collection of short, literary essays. Some essays - of course - are stronger than others; but taken as a whole, we get a pretty strong sense of how Cofer sees herself as a Latina, a woman, and, most importantly, as a writer.

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