Books & Essays on Women and Creativity

The Writer on Her Work: 20th Anniversary edition
W.W. Norton & Co.
From Julia Alvarez’s new preface:
“It was a first: seventeen women laying claim to rooms of their own in the mansion of literature with stories about how they had each, individually, particularly, done so.”
From Janet Sternburg’s introduction:
“I began this book because I needed to read it …”


“20 Years After — Looking back at The Writer On Her Work”
Women’s Review of Books
November 2000
“I gave copies of The Writer On Her Work to several women friends, all in their twenties. I asked them if anything in the book spoke to them. One talked about finding ‘powerful voices that propel you to keep going.’ Another added, ‘Sometimes that can only be found in the words of others.”


“This Writer on Her Work: An editor and essayist reflects on her landmark collection of personal essays by Women Writers”
Poets & Writers Magazine
“For some time, I had resisted the idea of a second volume because I feared itmight be repetitive. Then I thought of commissioning an essay from travel essayist Jan Morris . . . here was one person who could write with personal authority on what it was like to be a woman who writes, from the perspective of once having been a man.”


The Writer On Her Work: Volume 2, New Essays in New Territory
W.W. Norton & Co.
“Women are telling more expansive narratives, from different perspectives, about their engagement with the new territory that is world. In place of the search for wholeness — a strong note in the first volume — the writers here lay claim to transformation.”


Jane Globus Lecture: Women and Poetry 1985
Reprinted in The Poetry Review
“What we must do now is recognize that we have a body of work that has evolved over and through recent time, and must be acknowledged for something more than its virtues. We have to look now at its complexity.”


Between Women: Biographers, Novelists, Critics, Teachers and Artists Write About Women
Beacon Press Books
From “Farewell to the Farm”: “She (Isak Dinesen) was telling me not what life could be, but what it exacts . . . She survived her losses. . . She gives happiness its full due; so too does she fully claim suffering. Accept the paradoxes of one’s own nature, she implies, and of all of nature. Be true to the story: tell it.”


“Inside the Room of the Woman Poet”
The Poetry Society of America Bulletin
“There is an urgency about these writings – they are being sent out from the poet to be heard, to matter. We have seen how the self can be used as an agency for change. Poetry written from this impulse bears an implicit view of the future not as a fixed order but as a field of possibilities.”


The Writer on her Work: Volume I
W.W. Norton & Company
“The woman writer as we’ve stereotypically known her has been many things: recluse, sufferer, woman in mauve velvet on a chaise, woman who flees the stifling rooms of her father’s house, adventuress, “free” woman of multiple love affairs, paragon of productivity, destroyer of others, more often of herself. The images are all too familiar — away with them.”


“Joan: Hidden In Herself She Went”
Aphra (the first feminist literary magazine in America)
Fall 1972
“I suggest we learn to “read” old movies as archaeologists read the Rosetta Stone: to glean from an iconographic surface the telling images of a culture vital to us. Our mothers are alive in old films.”


“Revealing Herself”
Film Library Quarterly (the first journal issue on women and film)
“I want to share with you my conviction that women are now experiencing a surge of creative power that issues out of the very fact of being a women . . How it feels to be a woman has welled up to the surface of expression, to become the fact of art.”