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INTERVIEWS BY AMY ARONSON
WORDS BY:
Susan Minot
Erika Lopez
Molly Peacock
Linda Hogan
Ana Castillo
Ruth Ozeki
A.M. Homes
Lara Stapleton
Pearl Abraham
Edwidge Danticat
Danzy Senna
Cecilia Tan
<Molly Peacock, author of Paradise, Piece by Piece (Riverhead, 1998) and How to Read a Poem (Riverhead, 1999)>
I would take a somewhat obscure novel, Excellent Women (Plume, 1988), by Barbara Pym. It's about British WACs reestablishing their lives as single women after the war. It's got some of the funniest, most droll prose we have. And it's full of ironic spirituality. Everyone goes to church, but they all take their sense of God with a grain of salt. Mostly, I love the fact that it's about women on their way as they never had been before.
I would also choose two volumes of poetry--one by an exhibitionist and the other by an incredibly private person. The first is Anne Sexton's Complete Poems (Mariner, 1999). I think Sexton was a major groundbreaker in the territory of writing about female bodies. None of us writing today, none of us who will be writing in the twenty-first century, would write the way we do if it weren't for her. I mean, I can write about farting after making love because of Ann Sexton! Her honesty blows apart the false modesty that women so often assume and then must live inside of.
I would also take Elizabeth Bishop: The Complete Poems 1927Ð1979 (Noonday, 1984). I will carry this volume with me because of the lesson of Elizabeth Bishop. She took the very female talent of watching and turned it into a way of problem solving. When you don't know what is going on, she teaches, you simply describe it to yourself. She shows us how it is possible to describe our way out of dilemmas. I will be carrying these very different poets with me because I want both of those voices for myself, for poetry, and for women.
 
 
 
           
     

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