"The Call: An Anthology of Women's Writing" ($15 in paperback from Dragonfly Press), edited by Calder Lowe, presents the work of almost twenty contributors including Lowe, Kathie Isaac-Luke, and local author Lara Gularte. In poetry and short story the book explores how one's history informs the present, and how sometimes that history must be brought kicking and screaming into the present.
In the poem that gives the book its title, Lowe hears a train whistle, a moment when "Time is restructured . . . . Count back / one, two, three centuries. / Train whistles, bugles, church bells // thread through clouds." The poet's "ancestors blow glass / in the Black Forest of Germany. . . . Glass glows in the Von Eberhardt furnaces. / Some of the goblets flower, some crack."
Gularte writes, in "Saving Myself," that "My ancestors are stones of the river. / They sparkle, / their quartz veins / glisten in granite. // . . . Braced against current / and slippery bank / I lose my step, / fall into the cold stream. . . . I rise from the current, / find shallow water, / and sit among the stones. / In a mountain pool / where a trout darts, / I bless my reflection."
A reception is set for Lyon Books in Chico this Saturday at 7:00 p.m.; scheduled presenters include Lowe, Gularte (who will also be reading her short story, "Snowball"), and Isaac-Luke.
Lowe is a writer, editor and director of a university Writing Lab; Gularte has been nominated by Bitter Oleander Press to "Best New Poets 2010"; and Isaac-Luke edits a San Jose-based literary journal. Her short story, "The Collection" (included in "The Call") was nominated for a 2010 Pushcart Prize.
According to a news release the book "is dedicated to Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez, a pregnant 17-year-old who died while laboring in the fields, and who represents the countless marginalized women in society today. The writers bear witness to lives of all women: daughters, granddaughters, mothers, lovers, sisters who celebrate life."
There is life in the strangest places. In "Death Valley," Isaac-Luke writes: "It is misnamed, this desert shelter / to cactus and coyote the color of sand. // . . . On the Western side of the Sierras / are wild springs and complacent / meadows. The desert waits-- / it knows its time will come again. // It is here I want my ashes scattered. . . ."