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Women on the Verge: Lesbian Tales of Power and Play Paperback – July 28, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A woman's desire for another woman, or for women in general, may offer a pretty clear definition of lesbianism, but in her introduction to Women on the Verge, Susan Fox Rogers explains that she began to feel confined by these terms. "I wanted complexity," she argues, "more of 'life'--more of those experiences, not overtly sexual, that make us emotionally and physically excited, that make us sweat, that define us." In her anthology, writers explore the less familiar lesbian terrain of the racquetball court, the Hawaiian volcano, the river rapids, and the prank phone call. Su Penn describes her successful skydiving adventure, after having been discouraged by her instructors to jump because she weighed 213 pounds. BK Loren recounts how the stillness she had learned through years of martial arts training helped her avoid a rape. These end up being stories of female bravery, of chances taken or moments seized. While not specifically lesbian in content, they tend to be lesbian in tone--written from the margins, with an awareness of how easy it is to accept limitations, how thrilling to cast them off. --Regina Marler

From Publishers Weekly

Outdoorswoman and sports maven Rogers (Another Wilderness) chronicles yet another round of adventure stories about lesbians, involving river rafting, skydiving, rock climbing, racquetball and other activities. Interspersed among these sporty tales are slightly disjunctive piecesAin which a woman details her quest to become pregnant; a political protest goes awry; and a lesbian gets an anonymous phone call from two teenage girlsAthat are linked to the others only by the book's broad subtitle. Although Rogers asserts in her introduction that she sought to include "more of the complexity of life" beyond the eroticism that often defines lesbianism, many of these tales are deeply sexual, particularly B.K. Loren's gritty "Eye of the Storm," Judith Nichols's sensual "Naming and Other Tricks of Learning" and Marcia Munson's sex-driven "Burger King Baby." As it happens, the stories without a sexual element don't seem particularly lesbian. The best piecesAGretchen Legler's bittersweet "Lake One, Lake Two...," Donna Steiner's lyrical "Connect the Dots" and Lucy Jane Bledsoe's ruminative "On Being at Sea"Aexplore interior landscapes laid bare by the challenges of the outdoors. Some pieces provide stunning visual moments: poet Eileen Myles gets lost "stalking" a volcano in the dark in "The Big Island." But despite glints of excitement, most of these tales lack narrative power: all are memoirs or episodic vignettes, and few have real direction or focus. (July)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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More About the Author

I was born prematurely. That was the end of my precociousness. I've spent my life trying to find quiet jobs that allow some psychological space where I can write in my head as I work. I've worked on a ranch, in a candy factory, in retail stores. I've built furniture, cooked under the guidance of a gourmet chef in NYC, cooked; also, in a cafe run by a reverend healer who "cured" people with a pendulum and herbs. I was an aide on a locked psych ward, a tenured college teacher, a graphic artist, a truck driver, and I still freelance as a professional brainstormer. I was grateful for the chance to go to college (it was never a given), but I also feel that these life experiences inform my writing as much as my time in the Iowa Writers' Workshop MFA program. The publishing editor of one of my books told me I wrote like I was raised by wolves. I try to live up to that daily.

**You can also read BK Loren's work in periodicals like Orion Magazine, Spirituality and Health, Three Coyotes, Yoga International, The Body-Soul Connection, Fourth River, Hawk and Handsaw, and many others. Her fiction and nonfiction have won numerous national awards and fellowships and have been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize.

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