March was a big month for poetry news!
Is anyone else in shock that it’s already the end of March? We’re a little behind on our reading goals, but have been working our way through two truly excellent books this month: The Power, by Naomi Alderman, and Constance by Jane Kenyon.
Happy International Womxn’s Day*, humans! Today’s holiday focuses on celebrating womxn and their accomplishments, while simultaneously recognizing that equality & equity are ideals we’re working towards—not something we’ve already achieved. This year’s IWD theme is #BalanceforBetter, a call to action to create a gender-balanced world, with more equitably balanced representation in boardrooms, media coverage, government, literature…and more!
Some of our favorite female characters, girls and women, model deep, rich relationships with others in their stories—friends, sisters, cousins—and this week, we want to highlight a few whose adventures between the pages we’ve read, loved, and looked towards as models for friendship and sisterhood:
Did this February seem particularly dreary everywhere, or just in rainy LA? There’s been so much rain on the West Coast that it’s felt a bit like Ireland—very green and very, very damp! Dublin, Ireland is also the setting of the only book we finished this month: Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney.
It may not have kept up with our New Years reading resolution, but this fantastic novel was everything I want in a rainy-day read: with great dialogue and vivid images that make the reader feel not only that you’re in the story, but oh!—how much you’d like to step into the rooms with them.
Freya and Charlie are, as the saying goes, thicker than thieves. Starting the Wild Chicks may have been Charlie’s idea, but would the girl gang really have formed without Freya?
This week, we’re taking a look at the leader of the (in)famous girl gang: Charlie of The Wild Chicks!
Is it February already? This week, we finished Telling to Live, the collection by the Latina Feminist Group that we began earlier in January. The stories in Telling to Live are moving, living testimonies, and show diverse Latina experiences that are often underrepresented, both within literature in particular, and American society in general. The book’s introduction talks about how that lack of representation—stories by, for, and about Latina women—in some ways served as a catalyst for gathering the collection.
We have a big announcement from Cornelia and filmmaker Guillermo del Toro: the novelization of Pan’s Labyrinth that they’ve collaborated on, will be published in the US and UK on July 2nd, 2019! Cornelia worked with del Toro on The Labyrinth of the Faun for several years, exchanging drafts and notes. Alongside the novelization of his story, Cornelia also wrote nearly a dozen short stories, offshoots of the original tale often about characters on the periphery, which expand upon motifs from the original.
There will be dragons in 2019! If you’ve visited the Writing Barn lately, you may have noticed that Cornelia’s January to-do list includes “Dragon Rider book 3”, so it seems like Ben and Firedrake may be flying into a new adventure! And, While it’s too early to say when the third Dragon Rider book will be published, there will be new Dragon Rider stories in fall 2019—an animated film called Dragon Rider, based on the first book in the series!
Our reading list this month features two uniquely framed collections of poetry—Nikita Gill’s Fierce Fairytales: Poems & Stories to Stir Your Soul and Diane Ackerman’s Origami Bridges—and a collection of Latina feminist testimonios called Telling to Live. Each collection has a perspective, tone, and language distinctly its own but, picking each up in turn, I was struck by the threads connecting each of them.