LETTERS TO THE WORLD is the first anthology of its kind—a feminist collaboration born from The Discussion of Women’s Poetry Listserv (Wom-po), a vibrant, inclusive electronic community founded in 1997 by Annie Finch. With an introduction by D’Arcy Randall and brief essays by the poets themselves reflecting on the history and spirit of the listserv, the book presents a rich array of viewpoints, and poems ranging from sonnets to innovative forms.
259 contributors, 19 countries, 5 continents
Australia * Canada * Cuba * France * Germany * Greece * India * Iran * Italy * Ireland * Mexico * New Zealand * Norway * Palestine * Philippines * Romania * South Africa * U.K. * United States
“The collective voice of these bold, humorous, and striking poems captures a vast spectrum of feminine experience and proves “herstory” a force to be reckoned with. The reader is swept up by a perfect storm of tenderness, wit, narrative and lyrical vision, culled from the seasoned and emergent, those close to home and she who speaks to us continents away. Oh, Mighty Wom-po, long may you serve!”
author of Awake, What We Carry, Smoke, and Facts About the Moon
Panoramic in scope, these Letters to the World and from the world of the on-line Wom-Po Listserv exult in a constellation of voices both individual and now connected. I can’t help but think of Emily Dickinson, whose line provides the title for this anthology, privately binding her poems with needle and thread and storing them away. It’s a gift that we have these poems available from a community that is passionate about poetry and women’s voices. It’s a conversation in which we should all be engaged. It’s a new cosmos. Imagine if Dickinson had been able to log on.
author of Theory of Twilight, Flying Over Sonny Liston, and 10 Moons and 13 Horses
LETTERS TO THE WORLD is unique on several levels. Its poems convey the extraordinary range of existing contemporary voices and show how the Internet allows people to connect meaningfully across cultural and aesthetic boundaries. The preface, introduction, and 28 brief essays by contributors meditate on this quality of Wom-po and reveal how virtual communities enlarge real lives and both deepen and broaden poetic discourse.
The creation of the book itself reflects the egalitarian quality of the internet and the collaborative ideals which have engaged many feminists. Any Wom-po member who wanted to contribute to the book was included. The editorial group collaborated over a two year period, dividing tasks according to interest and availability and making decisions based on consensus, with no one individual having veto power. (The Afterword describes the process in more detail.)
The diversity of the poems and the poets’ demographics, the self-empowering means of selection, and the egalitarian process which brought the book into form make LETTERS TO THE WORLD a remarkable example of how the Internet has radically rearranged associations among poets, editors, and readers.
Read “Cento for an Anthology of Women’s Poetry,” an article on the process of creating the book, in Junctures: The Journal for Thematic Dialogue.
EDITORS IN CHIEF: Moira Richards, Rosemary Starace, and Lesley Wheeler
INTRODUCTION: D’Arcy Randall
PREFACE: Annie Finch
EDITORS: Margo Berdeshevsky, Rachel Dacus, Ann Fisher-Wirth, Ellen Goldstein, Eloise Klein Healy, Ann Hostetler, Louisa Howerow, Lillian Baker Kennedy, Athena Kildegaard, D.O. Moore, and Ren Powell.
COVER ART: Margo Berdeshevsky