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Swimming in the Rain

New and Selected Poems, 1980-2015

By Chana Bloch

Chana Bloch has spent her life writing the poems of a grown woman, loving the world as she interrogates it mercilessly, speaking a truth that hurts as it heals. “Half the stories / I used to believe are false,” she confesses. “Thank God / I’ve got the good sense at last / not to come in out of the rain.” A thrilling collection.

—Dorianne Laux

 

Chana Bloch is an absolutely essential poet, with a breathtaking gift for spanning, linking and leaping—unforgettable images, wonderments, and wisdom. Her words travel with me at the center of my compass. This collection is a triumph, not to be missed.

—Naomi Shihab Nye

 

Swimming in the Rain includes poems from The Secrets of the Tribe, The Past Keeps Changing, Mrs. Dumpty, and Blood Honey, as well as new work. Bloch is co-translator of the biblical Song of Songs and Israeli poets Yehuda Amichai and Dahlia Ravikovitch. Professor Emerita of English at Mills College, where she directed the Creative Writing Program, she served as the first Poetry Editor of PersimmonTree.org.

To order, CLICK HERE.
To learn more about Chana Bloch, CLICK HERE.

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WOW: Wonderful Old Women

Interviews

Conducted & Edited by Bonnie Lyons and Deb Field

Photographs by Linda Harris

Why interview women over 80 years old? Consider this common insult: “You drive like a little old lady.” This cliché suggests all old women are alike and all are negligible and negative – limited, timid, hesitant, implicitly uninteresting and unimportant. Ageism and sexism in three words!

These interviews will introduce you to thirteen women – age 80 to 97 – who disprove the cliché. All of them have lived intensely and continue to have interesting, evolving lives. These marvelous old women come from a wide variety of backgrounds. They are Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and unaffiliated; they are white, black, Mexican-American, Puerto Rican-American, and Iraqi-American. Economically, they range from modest to wealthy. Each woman relates her own story in her own way and tells how she sees herself and her life journey. These are personal interviews, but historical events, such as World War II and the Holocaust, as well as social problems, including racism and sexism, are often crucial parts of their lives and stories. How each woman experienced and responded to limitations and difficulties is central to her character and story. We hope that after reading these interviews, readers will have less dread of aging, a greater sense of continuing possible growth in their own lives and awareness, and a vision of becoming wise old women – or men – themselves.

To order, CLICK HERE.

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Clear Lake

By Nan Fink Gefen

Winner of 2013 IndieFab Gold Award for General Fiction

Rebecca Lev is a Chicago psychotherapist with a failing marriage and two troubled kids. When her father dies under questionable circumstances, she feels guilty for not better protecting him. She sets out to investigate . . . but she must first sort out her life and confront her own demons before she can discover the shocking truth of his death.

Clear Lake is the story of a woman in midlife as she wrestles with long-term grief, guilt, betrayal, and confusion on the way to finding peace within herself. Highly readable and inspiring.

Cornelia Nixon, Angels Go Naked and Jarrettsville

 
Written with insight and compassion, Clear Lake introduces us to a likable heroine struggling with conflicting obligations and guilt. We follow her story willingly because we, too, have had the experience of failing those we love and making the wrong choices at critical junctures. The prose is lucid and clear, like the lake of the title.

Brenda Webster, President, PEN West American Center

 
To order, CLICK HERE.

To learn more about Nan Fink Gefen, CLICK HERE.

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Heather Booth

Changing the World

Great to see Lilly’s remarkable film about Heather Booth. With this trilogy Lilly has done a serious corrective of some of the popularly held myths about American Jewish women. In many ways, she’s the anti-Woody Allen. Instead of annoying “princesses,” we have idealists, artists, poets, activists, women who made life better for everyone.‬‬

—Claudia Dreifus

 

The film will be in the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival:

Monday, July 24, 12:15 pm
TAKE ACTION DAY
Special program Heather Booth and Lilly Rivlin
Castro Theater, San Francisco.

Thursday, July 27, noon
Lilly Rivlin in attendance
CineArts Theater, Palo Alto.

Saturday, July 29 11:30 am
Fred Ross, Jr. Organizer, and Lilly Rivlin
Albany Twin theater, Albany.

Screenings will be followed by Q & A with the film’s director, Lilly Rivlin.

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Mothers, Sons, Beloveds, and Other Strangers

By Janie Dempsey Watts

Mothers, Sons, Beloveds, and Other Strangers is a collection with fifteen short stories by novelist Janie Dempsey Watts, including “Erice,” a William Faulkner-William Wisdom finalist. Set in the South, California, and Europe, these stories are populated with a cast of characters facing inner and outer journeys that never go as expected. Why did Sadie’s mother run away? Must a teenage girl learn the truth about her daddy the hard way? Can a widow escape loneliness by commiserating? On a train ride in Belgium, should a mother and son trust a postcard salesman they meet? What kind of trouble can a restless wife find in a Rome laundromat? In these tales, characters discover they do not really know those who are closest, yet a stranger may offer the gift of hope.

From southern humor to Italian goddesses, from California canyons to the fields of Georgia, Janie Dempsey Watts lets you feel and taste the place, the time. Each woman is on a journey: down a river in a leaking raft, to a funeral home or two, for a midnight horseback ride with her best friend, or a frightening drive with a crazy mother. Her characters are unpredictable and intriguing. “She felt so alone in this quiet, eerie place where the earth itself had wept.” I loved traveling along with Janie and these women. “Runaway Ruby Yacht” made me want a whole book just about Sadie and her mother’s story. A thoroughly satisfying book.

—Anne Turley, Amazon reviewer

To order, CLICK HERE.

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The technical talent behind Persimmon Tree is here to help you build your own Website!

Laura Laytham Zaki has almost 20 years of Web development experience developing sites like Persimmon Tree, Narrative Magazine, Seventeen Magazine, Total Beauty, and more. She can help you with all kinds of Web development (WordPress/PHP/CMS/Blog/E-commerce), email marketing/newsletters, social media, analytics, SEO and more.

If you’re looking to launch – or relaunch – your Website and want help from women who can speak your language and help achieve your goals, please contact Laura at laura@girlsaresmarter.com.