Anna M. Evans is the author of Sisters and Courtesans (White Violet Press (2014) and a chapbook, The Stolen From: Poems about Memory & Alzheimer’s. Her poems have appeared in the Harvard Review, Atlanta Review, Rattle, American Arts Quarterly, and 32 Poems. She earned her MFA from Bennington College, and is the editor of the Raintown Review. Her awards include fellowships from the MacDowell Artists' Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, as well as the 2012 Rattle Poetry Prize Readers' Choice Award. She teaches at the West Windsor Art Center and Richard Stockton College of NJ.
Anna's description of her collection:
Before writing Sisters and Courtesans, it occurred to me that, until Anne Bradstreet, the only women writing poetry were outside of society in some way—some royals, but mainly cloistered women and women of easy virtue. Everyone else was busy having babies and raising chickens. I felt it would be interesting to explore women’s lives throughout history using that lens and the sonnet as a form, and to attempt to see what else such women might have in common.
Praise for Sisters and Courtesans:
"If sonnet means 'little song,' what Anna Evans has crafted here is a sassy selection of female singers, a spirited chorus that takes the figures of different women throughout history, giving life to their stories with frank audacity and lively craft. This book is full of surprise after delightful surprise, deft rhymes and scandalous turns. This is a book to pass from sister to sister, from woman to woman, from friend to friend. But don't worry, fellows, you too will be equally charmed and delighted by this poet who has all the necessary lines and lives to make the sonnet sing with voices you never will think of again in quite the same way."—Allison Joseph
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My Life as a Camp Follower
The fight keeps dragging on. My soldier lover
was badly wounded by a Yorkist axe.
I came here in the hope that he'd recover,
and stayed on after, in the army's tracks.
It's easy living—all the men are lonely
and most are gentle. I say I'm a nurse
although I tend to them in one way only
and then I slip their pennies in my purse.
I use a pessary of wool and wine
and drink mint tea in secret. If they saw
they'd call it witchcraft. Well, the risk is mine,
all part of women's lot. The men make war
and corpses pile crotch deep in England's mud.
So many things in life come down to blood.
Anna sent us home with this challenge: Write a sonnet from the perspective of someone who lived in a different age from our own, but do NOT make them a famous or named person in history. Include a non-alcoholic beverage and an eye rhyme.