Women Loving Women Wednesday

Avery Reviews –

The Summer of Dead Birds by Ali Liebgott

This particular collection of poetry took me on such a journey. I was not at all familiar with Ali Liebgott prior to reading this book, but I’m certainly glad I am now. This collection was a little bit different than what I normally reach for. She really paints an entire story with her words. The poems are chronological, taking you down her personal journey of divorce and the bitter feelings of loss. While reading, it gave me a feeling of being personally connected to this person. It was like being across the table from a close friend, exchanging the details of your trauma while drinking coffee.

I love when a poet, especially one I didn’t know, who makes me feel like I did know them. To be able to connect a reader with stories that are so intimate and personal is no easy feat. Even when the poems had nothing to do with any experiences I have gone through myself, she still managed to make me feel something. It was easy to feel the sorrow that she wrote about. For me, it feels good to hear the intimate life details of a lesbian, especially one who is older than I am. It makes me feel like the future that I want is more attainable. It makes me feel less alone, and isn’t that the exactly what literature is meant to do?

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By the end of this book, I felt like Ali and I were close friends. With all of the connections to animals, loss, and the feeling of traveling alongside her, I was left with a bittersweet feeling. If you’re looking for something that challenges your own perspective, and opens you up to feeling the pain of another person, this is exactly the sort of book you need to be reading.

Women Loving Women Wednesday

Avery Reviews –

If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho translated by Anne Carson

Well, it has certainly been a minute or two since I’ve written for my mom’s blog! I was 14 the last time you may have read one of my guest reviews. Now I’m 20 years old, have two years of college under my belt (PoliSci major and WGSS minor here!), and don’t need my mom to do nearly as much proof reading of my reviews. It’s nice to be back! I hope you’ll all enjoy delving into some WLW poetry with me.

It feels appropriate to start with the OG lesbian. It’s truly a crime how long it took for me to finally get my hands on this book. We’re going right back to the roots of where my love for sapphic poetry first started to bloom. When we had a short unit on Sappho in my poetry class this last semester I’m pretty sure that whole class could feel my excitement. I’d read plenty of her fragments before, but it was finally time to add her works to my own bookshelf (thanks Mom!).

If you’ve read any of Anne Carson’s personal works, I think you’d agree she’s a perfect person to be trusted with these translations. It’s unfortunate that so much of Sappho’s work was lost—that we are only left with the fragments. But it is that exact fact that makes Sappho’s poetry so compelling to me. How beautiful it is that all that survived were fragments, and even those small bits of something can make you feel so much. That’s exactly what Sappho does for me. She evokes such clear feeling. Some of my absolute favorites by her are as short as three words long – “You burn me” is stunning all on its own.

To read the words of someone from so very long ago who wrote about Eros (sexual or passionate love) towards women makes my head spin in the very best way. If you haven’t already had the pleasure of delving into her work, I highly recommend it. You’ll fall in love with her use of imagery and the emotion that accompanies it. So, here’s to Sappho! Thank you for laying the groundwork of this small-town lesbian’s journey into reading and writing poetry.

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