Those of you who already own kindle readers and use them to buy and read books have perhaps noticed the paucity of available poetry ebooks. Fire on Her Tongue: An eBook Anthology of Contemporary Women's Poetry takes a giant step towards remedying that situation. Published by Two Sylvias Press, a press created by the editors, this collection is, as far as I know, the first ebook of its kind. The collection begins with an Introduction by the two editors. They begin by explaining what led them to undertake this project:
This project began innocently, with the purchase of a Nook and an iPad, with both of us browsing through the thousands and thousands of eBooks, asking ourselves, “Where is the poetry?” We noticed that while we could purchase our favorite prose works in eBook format, we could not find many contemporary poetry collections. While technology has moved ahead, bringing with it the novelists, memoirists, and nonfiction writers, it has seemingly left behind the poets. We began to wonder, “What if we contacted our favorite women poets and asked them to be in an eBook anthology? Could we successfully tackle the formatting issues unique to poetry, which have dissuaded so many strong poets from publishing their work on an electronic platform? Could we, editors of a print journal, publish the first eBook of contemporary women’s poetry?”
The answer to their question is: Yes! Kudos to editors Kelli Russell Agodon and Annette Spaulding-Convey for braving uncharted territory and doing it so well.
Undoubtedly the dearth of poetry ebooks is the result of the difficulty that has existed in formatting poems properly for ebooks. Previous efforts resulted in collections with poems that were double spaced and had dreadful line breaks. Fortunately, the technology has now advanced so that a pair of industrious and determined editors, both poets themselves, could accomplish their mission and present the poems as they ought to be presented. They've even mastered the challenge of justified margins for the prose poems. Readers will see the poems just as they appear in print.
This 460-page anthology includes over 70 women poets. Each poet is represented by 2-5 poems. Each poet's poems are preceded by a brief bio and a link to the poet's website. Acknowledgments follow each poet's poems. Given the way an ebook works, this arrangement makes good sense as it eliminates the need to scroll to the end of the book to find this information.
As might be expected, there is an enormous variety of poetry—formal, free verse, prose poems. The poets cover the US landscape from East Coast to West Coast. One characteristic the poets have in common is that they are all still living.
The poets are democratically arranged in alphabetical order as follows:
Kim Addonizio, Deborah Ager, Ivy Alvarez, Nin Andrews, Elizabeth Aoki, Elizabeth Austen, Lana Hechtman Ayers, Dorothy Barresi, Judith Barrington, Mary Biddinger, Elizabeth Bradfield, Ronda Broatch, Gloria Burgess, Jill Crammond, Barbara Crooker, Rachel Dacus, Madeline DeFrees, Susan Elbe, Patricia Fargnoli, Annie Finch, Kathleen Flenniken, Rachel Contreni Flynn, Rebecca Foust, Suzanne Frischkorn, Jeannine Hall Gailey, Maya Ganesan, Arielle Greenberg, Kate Greenstreet, Lola Haskins, Eloise Klein Healy, Jane Hirshfield, Erin Coughlin Hollowell, Anna Maria Hong, Holly Hughes, Ann Batchelor Hursey, Luisa A. Igloria, Jill McCabe Johnson, Tina Kelley, Janet Norman Knox, Keetje Kuipers, Dorianne Laux, Jenifer Browne Lawrence, Kate Lebo, Carol Levin, Rebecca Loudon, Erin Malone, Marjorie Manwaring, Frances McCue, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, January Gill O’Neil, Alicia Ostriker, Nancy Pagh, Alison Pelegrin, Susan Rich, Rachel Rose, Natasha Sajé, Peggy Shumaker, Martha Silano, Judith Skillman, Patricia Smith, Ann Spiers, A.E. Stallings, Joannie Kervran Stangeland, Marilyn L. Taylor, Molly Tenenbaum, Ann Tweedy, Nance Van Winckel, Katrina Vandenberg, Sarah Vap, Kary Wayson, Katharine Whitcomb, Wendy Wisner, Rachel Zucker
This book is ideal for curling up in a comfortable chair but also makes a terrific traveling companion. In print such an anthology would most likely be priced around $30. But this ebook is available for a mere $7.99!