book reviews · Freelance Writing

Looking for Home – Women Writing about Exile (Poetry Collection Book Review)

Sometimes we come across books in our lives, or maybe more often than we think, which are meant to share, guide, and teach just in time lessons for life. Such was the case with this book, as at the time, I was thinking about applying for the Nine Dots Prize. Though the deadline is now past, and I chickened out, the 3,000-word essay asked simply, “Is there still no place like home?”

Strolling through the largest bookstore in Vermont, this was one of the first books I picked up. I suppose I thought it might inspire some writing in preparation for the Nine Dots essay. Instead, it reminded me of things lost, and of things found. It reminded me of the strength of women as a whole and that no matter what language we speak, there is still a universal understanding of the love home brings. Wherever it may be.

The Book Blurb

The contemporary women writers in this anthology (of which there are over seventy!) reflect and meditate, rage and bless, as they tell their stories, and their ancestors’ stories: of migration, of alienation, and of visions of new worlds – speaking to the common concerns and passionate connections between women of many cultures. These poems offer many definitions of what it is to be exiled: the experience of learning a new language; living in two cultures; being forced by war to emigrate; choosing to leave a homeland; living a life of alienation, of illness, chemical dependency, or exile from a dominant culture.

This book includes many poems written by women in other countries who now write in English. Some of their native languages are Armenian, French, German, Japanese, Latvian, Spanish, and Yiddish. Bilingual poems also successfully incorporate a native language into the text.

The Review

I thought to pull a poem or two direct from these pages, then stopped. These are their stories to tell, not mine.

The pain, the anguish, the innocence lost. This is not my story to tell. I’m the quiet one in the corner who writes poems from my now, seemingly simple existence. I’ve gone through some trials, but none like these.

From women and children who have been abused whether by a family member or a state to questions about how things were back then when…a woman’s aunt was considered mentally ill because she was strong-willed and didn’t fit the mold of the day. Or the immigrant child just before the Holocaust watched a crooked cross burn on her lawn. Or the child, now grown, who remembered Mexico in 1969.

These poems cry out to be heard so we don’t make the same mistakes again. They tell a history we cannot grasp from our textbooks. Together and singly, they cry, “Watch out!” to those who do not heed their words. And “You are strong! You can do this!” for those who need the power of faith of those who have come before.

Written by over 70 poets and edited by Deborah Keenan and Roseann Lloyd, Looking for Home – Women Writing about Exile is a don’t miss poetry collection, and though timeless, it also couldn’t be more timely.

As a collection, yes, five stars hands down. As poetry, priceless.

If you’d like to post a review of a book during one of our Book Review Weeks, get in touch for more information. And in case you missed it, we’re now doing Dual Language Book Reviews.

Have you ever thought about writing a book? At Writing in the Fast Lane we focus on ghostwriting and book reviews – take a look around our website for details.

As much as I’d love you to connect with me via social media – you can find all the ones I’m on in the bar to your right – I’d much prefer a review of my book currently available on Amazon, “Reflections: The Girl in the Mirror & The Letter”. Currently, it’s got one lonely review. And for less than a cup of coffee, it sure could use a friend or two or ten…. Oh, and we’re on Goodreads too! Or since we’re on a poetry kick of late, check out I’ll Be There Poetry Collection Volume One on our website.

If you’re looking for more women power events, happening now. Step into Nevada as women come to rule.

Break a Pencil!

© Lisa Street Rogers 2019





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