Women Writing Powerfully About Women’s Lives

Chimamanda Adichie
Chimamanda Adichie
Honor Moore
Honor Moore

Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks about her stunning collection of stories [amazon-product text=”THE THING AROUND YOUR NECK” type=”text”]0307271072[/amazon-product]. And poet Honor Moore reads from and tells us about [amazon-product text=”POEMS FROM THE WOMEN’S MOVEMENT” type=”text”]1598530429[/amazon-product]. Our guests use fiction (Adichie) and poetry (Moore) to evoke the lives of women with power, honesty and grace.

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Chimamanda Adichie

Award winning author Chimamanda Adichie was born in Nigeria and lives in the United States. She’s written about the hardships and political turbulence of her own country in her novels, [amazon-product text=”HALF OF A YELLOW SUN” type=”text”]1400095204[/amazon-product]  and [amazon-product text=”PURPLE HIBISCUS” type=”text”]1400076943[/amazon-product]. She’s also written about the dislocations and difficulties of Nigerian immigrants to England and the United States.

Her new short story collection, The Thing around Your Neck, traverses both these territories. The stories are powerful, both in their unflinching look at the some of the darkest recesses of the human heart, as well as the capacity for redemption. The Seattle Times said about the book, “Adichie shows a rare talent for finding the images and gestures that etch a narrative moment unforgettably in the reader’s memory.” And the Times Online called Adichie “one of Africa’s brightest new literary stars.”

Adichie’s favorite author is the great Chinua Achebe, also of Nigeria, who has inspired her own writing.

You can also buy the unabridged The Thing Around Your Neck as a great audio book.

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Honor Moore

In her poem about the climber Elvira Shatayev, Adrienne Rich uses the image of a cable of blue fire as a metaphor for the solidarity of women facing the challenges of their lives. Before the women’s movement was born in the 1970’s, the idea of women’s solidarity was foreign to our culture. Women were supposed to compete for a man, not join together to explore and enrich their own lives.

Poet and writer Honor Moore was there at the beginning of that movement. She points out in her wonderful introduction to the new collection she edited, POEMS FROM THE WOMENS MOVEMENT, poetry was vital to the movement, giving eloquent voice to lives that had been until them unspoken. The collection is part of the American Poets Project from the library of America and spans works from 1965 to 1982.

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Honor Moore has authored three collections of her own poetry, Red Shoes, Darling, and Memoir. She’s also written plays and a celebrated memoir The Bishop’s Daughter which was a National Book Award finalist.

Along with other poets and readers, Moore will be talking about POEMS FROM THE WOMENS MOVEMENT at a reading at Amherst College on September 16.

Phantasia for Elvira Shatayev

Now we are ready
and each of us knows it I have never loved
like this I have never seen
my own forces so taken up and shared
and given back
After the long training the early sieges
we are moving almost effortlessly in our love

We know now we have always been in danger
down in our separateness
and now up here together but till now
we had not touched our strength

What does love mean
what does it mean “to survive”
A cable of blue fire ropes our bodies
burning together in the snow We will not live
to settle for less We have dreamed of this
all of our lives

Adrienne Rich


Online archival collection of documents from the Women’s Liberation Movement

Honor Moore’s poem, Polemic-1