Sinister Wisdom’s newest Sapphic Classic, A Generous Spirit: Selected Work by Beth Brant, releases into the world today. All of the Sapphic Classics are special to me, but this one repays an important debt from my youth.
In some ways, publishing a paper wall calendar and a blank book journal feels anachronistic in our digital world. At the same time, these new print documents connect me to a long lesbian history and herstory.
The title is perhaps melodramatic—but publishing a quarterly periodical means that occasionally there is scrambling to pull together an issue. This is particularly true when the journal, like Sinister Wisdom, is an all-volunteer enterprise.
Nine is a magical number. In Greek mythology, there were nine muses; cats have nine lives; there are nine circles of hell in Dante’s Inferno. 2019 also marks the beginning of my ninth year editing and publishing “Sinister Wisdom.”
“Sinister Wisdom” as a journal has archived lesbian writing over the past 43 years. Lesbians write, and we enter it into the record.
The regime remains malleable—patriarchy, misogyny, white supremacy, heterosexual supremacy, neoliberalism, capitalism—but boisterous resistance is our legacy, and the spirit that invites us to engage another day.
Summer days spent with a good book are coming to an end—which gives feminists all the more reason to rush out and read these before fall comes.
Born in 1825 to free African American parents, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was a prolific journalist and poet as well as an abolitionist and suffragist. In “Songs for the People,” she imagines poetry filling “the world with peace.”
“The Letter” is playful and fanciful, celebrating the beloved through letter writing—although in the final stanza, Amy Lowell reveals the complexity of her emotions.
Women have been responding to sexual harassment for generations. Poet Genevieve Taggard, born in 1894 in Washington state, was one of them; in “The Quiet Woman,” she captures fury and anger “like a surly tiger” of a woman fending off an unwanted advance.