Sunday, 5 May 2019

Review of An Apple In Her Hand

New Anthology of Women’s Writing From Codhill Press Wins Praise

An Apple In Her Hand, an anthology of stories, poems and memoir just released by New York’s Codhill Press, has garnered praise for its truth-telling by women writers on a wide-range of themes, including remembrance, aging, visibility, bearing witness and joy. 

Best-selling author Carol Goodman (Lake of Dead Languages; The Widow’s House) lauds the “penetrating gaze” of the members of The Hudson Valley Women’s Writing Group whose works fill its pages:  “What a delight to read these women as they make magic out of the ordinary,” says Goodman, describing how the authors “turn[] apples into witches (“The Kitchen Witch,” Kit Goldpaugh) and housewives at Loehmann’s into Greek goddesses (“I Met My Mother’s Body at Loehmann’s,” Jan Zlotnik Schmidt); evoke the lost worlds of trolleys (“My Real Mother,” Colleen Geraghty) and Homeric Greece (“Speckled Egg,” Tana Miller); call forth the elemental forces of geysers (“Yellowstone Hot Springs,” Eileen Howard) and the faithful mating habits of bald eagles (“Love Nest,” Mary K O’Melveny); and celebrate the stubborn resistance of staying alive  (“Death’s Door,” Kappa Waugh). ”

The anthology, crafted in bits and pieces of diverse artistry that are profound, humorous and elegant, is the work of  seven writers “of a certain age” speaking out boldly against a culture that often renders such women’s voices irrelevant or invisible. The writing group’s members include teachers and academics, a lawyer, a social worker and a psychiatric nurse. Some are retired; others still work; all are activists, artists and volunteers. This “memorable collection of stories, poems and truth,” says poet and teacher Esther Cohen, is “honest, serious, seasoned and articulate” and “will make their readers happy.” 

These writings by “wisdom women” cover a wide range of topics, all focused on “bear[ing] witness to the power of knowing,” notes Kate Hymes, poet and Director of New York’s Walkill Valley Writers. The authors do so “even when it might have been easier to remain ignorant, or, as some might say innocent.” You will find yourself turning again and again to these articulate voices and smiling broadly at the magic contained and the knowledge imparted on every page of An Apple In Her Hand. (Available from Codhill Press –

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Submitted by Mary K O'Melveny

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