The publisher of Raincloud Press recently sent me a review of my poetry book, Wife of the House, saying she thought I might “enjoy it.” The review had been posted on LibraryThing, a website for librarians.
I was pleased by a thoughtful and erudite discussion of poetry in general and also appreciated the reference to Wife of the House as “spiritual writing” and what the reviewer called “the backdrop of second-wave feminism.” I was intrigued and more fully understood, perhaps for the first time, why the book did not find an audience earlier.
The broad perspective and historical overview the reviewer exhibited in her piece was not available when I first tried to publish my collection. Decades ago, I read from another manuscript called Frozen Souls at an UC Santa Barbara event. A playwright contacted me afterwards, asked to read my entire manuscript and spoke to me about turning it into a play. Frozen Souls is a collection of poems that tell the story of two people, a girl and a man. The voice of the girl grows into a woman, and the male voice remains that of a mature man.
The playwright wished to change the male character into a woman for the play. At the time, I had already formulated a direction which the LibraryThing reviewer called “different from the culture of feminism rooted in the Friedan era.” I had chosen, which the reviewer correctly pointed out, to explore “feminist and metaphysical themes” in order to find a healing path that does not exclude anyone.
As a result, the Frozen Souls project did not move forward. I regretted this, on occasion, thinking, perhaps, I was getting it wrong and that I was out of step with the times. The current review gives me renewed faith that spiritual growth and the evolution of feminist consciousness do not need to be antagonistic issues. Put another way, and as Sri Swami Satchidananda repeated many times, “Paths are Many, Truth is One.”
(Frozen Souls is a collection of poetry scheduled for publication in 2016)