Monday, December 13, 2010

Sinister Wisdom Volume 81

I have three poems published in Sinister Wisdom Volume 81: Blue; Je t'adore; and Mountain. We had to pair our poetry with a 'poet of yore' and I chose Elsa Gidlow's work: Of Forbidden Love (1960), Love's Acolyte (1919) and To the unknown Goddess (1918). From her lovely book SAPPHIC SONGS Seventeen to Seventy. (Thanks to C, for introducing me to her work many years ago). Elsa Gidlow's work was reprinted with the generous permission of her literary executor  Marcelina Martin. Sinister Wisdom Volume 81 features some 40 contemporary and 'poets of yore' including luminaries such as Audre Lorde, Gertrude Stein, Pat Parker, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Muriel Rukeyser. A lovely read over the holidays.

Cover of Sinister Wisdom Vol 81
Here is Je t'adore; and a brief bio for Elsa Gidlow:
Je t'adore Meg Torwl

I have seen
your lips on my breast
like a worshipper
at a temple
I have felt
your tongues libations
I have known
your head fall down
with overwhelming passion
as my body rises
to meet you.

ELSA GIDLOW. 1898 – 1986
To quote Phyllis Matyi, Elsa Gidlow’s friend in a 1986 Press Release: ‘Born in Yorkshire, England in 1898, six-year-old Elsa Gidlow immigrated with her family of nine to the French Canadian village of Tetreauville. She was mainly self-educated, being allowed what she called, "the untutored space to be”. Gidlow left Montreal for New York in 1920, where she became poetry editor for Frank Harris' progressive, much censored Pearson's Magazine. Poet-philosopher Elsa Gidlow died peacefully in her mountain home retreat, "Druid Heights," near Muir Woods, Mill Valley, California on June 8, 1986’.
Many of the poems she wrote before 1923 were published that year in her book, On a Grey Thread, Will Ransom. Her other work includes: Sapphic Songs : Seventeen to Seventy, 1976, Diana Press; Makings for Meditation : A Collection of Parapoems Reverent and Irreverent, 1973, Booklegger Press; and Elsa I Come With My Songs the Autobiography of Elsa Gidlow,1985, Booklegger Press. Her work appeared in many journals and anthologies. She had many lovers, as is evident in her poetry. Including when she was a young woman with the older Tommy, - Violet Henry-Anderson, whom she met in New York in 1945, and lived with for thirteen years until Tommy’s death. In her seventies Elsa lived with Gretchen Muller who was then in her twenties. ( Sinister Wisdom Vol 81)

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