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The hardest part of letting go is accepting that nothing had been real. The title of this book is most appropriate. This book should inspire other Pen Women branches to create their own anthologies. The project was accomplished very successfully in this lovely, full-color, softbound book. As I read it from cover to cover, I felt connected to each of these Pen Women.

I learned about their early history and how they are associated as writers and artists with their community. Each chapter opened the door to new experiences, some painful and some hopeful. I felt the strength of the women as they met and faced what life brought to them. As the pages were turned, I took the time to appreciate the beautiful and inspiring art.

The poetry will educate and illuminate your minds. The depth of the thoughts will draw you into another time and space. You will see pictures in your own minds and feel linked to their stories. Book available through Mary Gardner via email to mlgardner37 yahoo. Her two older sisters are left behind in the village of Saidnaya, Syria, while Nadra, her parents, and her younger siblings journey to their new home.

They settle in a community of Christian Syrians in Hedley, West Virginia, and open a confectionery shop. Nadra is a gifted cook, and the descriptions of Syrian foods and cooking are rich and sensual. At the tender age of 16, Nadra is forced to marry the man her parents have chosen for her and become a wife and soon, a mother. The years pass. This book is a love story as well. Older than Nadra by several years, he adores his wife, even as she challenges him.

Their relationship is strained by family, economic depression, war, and burdens from the past. Nadra wonders if their marriage can survive. The author, Rose Ann Kalister, is a friend and colleague of mine. Over the past several years, I have listened as she read portions of her work and watched as she meticulously conducted research and included accurate details of early 20th-century Hedley, West Virginia. I expected the book to be good, but my expectations have been exceeded.

In our nation of immigrants, it is a story that speaks to us all. Wield, a wife and the mother of four children, was working as a physician in a hospital in England when depression first invaded her life. What followed would be seven years of self-injury that included burning herself, head banging, and cutting — always with the goal of ending her misery. She was hospitalized frequently and for months at a time, with home visits made possible at times when she appeared more stable. Cathy Wield shares her remarkable story of triumph over depression via narrative and diary entries.

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After years of therapy and many, many medications, all seemed hopeless. Even the medical professionals were considering giving up hope of recovery. This incredible story of struggle, pain, and anguish addresses the stigma surrounding mental health issues and the humiliation of being a doctor who is ill. Because of this book, changes to mental health care began happening in England.

Authors: Myra F. Neither a textbook nor a handbook, it is an exchange of emails between two women ages 93 and 80 describing their experiences and expressing their thoughts and opinions on the concerns and challenges they confronted in the process of aging. Their observations and insights contradict and disprove many myths and assumptions widely believed about the aging population. The book would be useful not only to seniors as they age, but to their families and friends, to psychologists and other therapists who work with older adults, to administrators and professional staff in independent and assisted living facilities, and to those contemplating their own futures after traditional retirement age.

I strongly recommend this very readable and highly enlightening book! How do you read poetry? Or do you open the book at random, letting serendipity guide you?

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This book is its own special journey. Deceptively naturalistic. Will the itch linger? Throughout the collection, life is pondered with the same wonderment. Ikins searches for meaning and finds it, not only in her signature visual images, but in the simplicity and therefore complexity of everyday experiences. Her poems pull no punches. You will find no artifice or sugar coating here. Ikins draws beauty as well as hard truths from unexpected places: a deer fly, a chipped tooth, or an old truck.

You have been forewarned: Turn off the stove before you embark.

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The place is known only by the expressionless name, SVM. Inside Willa, however, is a poet who spends her time reading the works of Oliver Wendell Holmes and writing eloquent, insightful journal entries that record her journey through mourning to her entry into a new phase of life. Other characters abound, so many that it is difficult at first for the reader to recognize them all when they appear, but soon each of them emerges as a distinct personality. These characters are drawn with broad strokes that, at first, present them as mere types.

When a new man arrives at SVM, widowed, childless Willa, ever a romantic, falls in love. Willa, however, sees with her heart, and they connect immediately. She imagines a glorious romance that might have been, and wonders if that is enough to build a strong relationship between them. Reality forces her to consider whether there simply is not enough time left for them to make a life together. One by one and bit by bit, the characters relinquish their strength, their car keys, and control of their lives, but they never relinquish their dreams.

The poems respect the distances between nature in the wild and civilized man, the observer, often with photographic equipment. The mechanics of that equipment paradoxically distances him from the object observed though bringing it closer in view. In so doing, the poet enjoins the natural world and is of it and a part of its essence. Is Williams imagining a red ruby glittering dear and enigmatic? Her sense of a double view is remarkable. No one knew they were close to your last hurrah.

Lorraine Walker Williams undoubtedly has talent. Her poems demonstrate a skillful use of language and meaningful observations of the natural world and the inhabitants in it.

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The reader will appreciate these virtues. Poetically is how Takara sees the world, so, when she chronicled her travels to China, she wrote lyrically and included a prose introduction and glossary.


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She traveled to China to find an African connection, but her fascination grew beyond that. Full-color photos and verse in Shadow Dancing depict her intimate friendships with Chinese citizens and African students. Takara — scholarly, professional, friendly — immersed herself in the culture and was welcomed enthusiastically. Chinese people invited her into their homes, allowing her an inside look at their daily lives.

She researched and referenced their cultural traditions, politics and historical poets throughout her book. People may not smoke while driving on Chinese toll roads. After recklessly weaving around cars and swerving into oncoming traffic, her driver eluded the police and insisted she take a taxi.

The lyrical beauty of the Spanish language translations awakens harmonies in the reader. I read and reread each poem with the accompanying artistic paintings with such joy that I wore out the pages. An illustrative painting is found on page 20 of vivid reflections of shimmering violets, dots of blues, sun-bursting yellows, and haunting dark greens. Several poems are tranquil and tender while others are funny and cheeky. Such diversity in the interpretive paintings is watercolor, oils, and acrylic.

Each can stand alone as a gift to the reader.

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The ancient Japanese structure form of haiku of the syllables in three lines has evolved into a less structured but still delightful poetic pattern of imagination of nature as caught in the moment. This book makes a great gift for any lover of poetry and art. I believe it represents the epitome of work by members of the Pen Women. Fourteen contributors, with fourteen different styles and artistic visions, come together to produce an anthology that is expansive, yet coherent. Contributors explore themes of nostalgia, friendship, grief, beauty, and wonder.

Natural images, especially those involving birds and the sea, emerge again and again throughout the collection and serve to tie the works together into a cohesive whole. The black and white format, though, does not do justice to the beauty of the works. Other branches considering publishing similar collections would be well advised to print the art images in full color, if possible. However, even in black and white, composition and subject matter of the selections are strong and the art is lovely.

The poetry and prose range from traditional, rhyming poems, to free verse, to essays, to fables. Readers will be sure to enjoy the vast range of imagination and experience that informs the selections.

These are the writings of women with both talent and skill for deep expression.