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In first person, sixty-one Old and New Testament women re-tell Biblical stories from their unique perspectives. In the pivotal poem of the collection, the Samaritan woman recalls her meeting with Jesus at the well years later as an old woman. Like her, all the women in these dramatic monologues yearn for that water which will become a wellspring from which eternal life will flow. Water, a typically feminine symbol, binds all these disparate voices, some strident and defiant, others humorous. The poems are arranged chronologically from Eve to Damaris. Crying defiance against the priesthood, Jezebel proudly defends her name, “Always a curse lisped between lips\I swear, of women-hating priests\who strive to suppress the feminine\No shame it is to be named Jezebel.” In a lighter vein, Mary of Bethany declares herself “the housewife’s patron saint\not my sister Martha dusting and polishing.\All you everyday housewives who would be holy\throw away your brooms, brushes and rag mops.\What profit a clean house when you lose your soul?” This collection of persona poems provides a refreshing, and sometimes shocking, counterpoint to the mostly male point-of-view the Bible affords. Women at the Well readers will hear Biblical women speak tougher and wittier words than Scripture allows. This edition revises and greatly expands the original collection of Women at the Well of 1989 and the second collection of 2001.
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Olivia Diamond’s novels include The Wheels of Being, Delayed Reaction, The Pluperfect Phantom, Gardens Under Which Rivers Flow, Gerontion and the Maiden, and The Bottle Collector. Her trilogy (Voice of Stone, Conquistadora, and Daughter of the Conquest) dramatizes the story of the Inca Empire from the period immediately before Francisco Pizarro’s arrival through the Spanish conquest and colonization of Peru. Her poetry books are: Playground, Please Trespass Here, and Land of the Four Quarters: A Poetic History of the Incas, Geography of My Bones: Collected Poems, Playground and Please Trespass Here, and Be Thou a Man: A Poetic Tribute to Saul Alinsky. Her roots are in Illinois, but she now makes her home in northwestern Montana.Review:
Mary Of Bethany
Sarah, Wife Of Tobias
The Woman At The Well
The Woman Who Hemorrhaged For Twelve Years
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder®
These are not the women we studied in Sunday school; they sing out the real story between the lines of the Bible where their lives were first recorded. In "HERLAND #14," they clear the air as the feminist poet gives them their say, however crude and irreverent it is in comparison to the lofty King James version. Even Mary. Mother of God, is wise and conniving. All twentyseven of these dramatic personas speak spontaneously, and the halos around the sanctified fathers and mothers of Judaism and Christianity quickly tarnish. Hagar recalls Sarah as an old woman giving birth: "Her brat Issac was born fat as a turd"; Lot's wife discounts God's reasons for destroying Sodom and Gomorrah as "ancient twaddle"; and "Me Woman Who Hemorrhaged for Twelve Years" and touched the hem of Christ to be healed, remembers "following the Nazarene, / bloody, brown-red rags / between my legs blowing / twelve-year-old rankness." Susanna, used by the elders, says, "Yes I have lusted too / like these wizened judges, / lusted for sleek limbs, / for the chest of a man / not growing breasts." Despite a few slips into puffed-up rhetoric and prosaic delivery, Diamond's book is surprisingly tough and witty as the Women at the Well speak words more cunning than the Living Word could ever allow. And they're comically opinionated, as well. -- From Independent Publisher
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