Creative Writings About Menstruation

"Every woman of every age will sigh, smile, cry, and cheer for Moon Days."
--Susun S. Weed, Author of Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way.

Editor: Cassie Premo Steele, Ph.D.

A literary, passionate, and profound collection.Twenty-six writers explore the "silent" parts of women's lives; reawakening our memories of embarrassment and shame and transforming them to wonder, excitement, and laughter. 176 pages, illustrations.

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Introduction: By the Moon Cassie Premo Steele
Preface: My Lips, Sealed for Your Protection Holly Blackford

Section 1: Early Moons
The Lesson
Deb Olson
Peter's Creek
Blood Jane Eaton Hamilton
Blueberries Jim Gorman
Sosi Reva Sipser
Red Karen Murphy

Section 2: Waxing Moons: Coming to Light
Flowing Roses Leslie Sills
Reckoning the Red Days Ashley S. Kaufman
Water Lessons Martha Marinara
Once a Moon Candis Graham
The Love of Cramps Carmen Faymonville

Section 3: Full Moon Celebrations
Amazons in Appalachia Awiakta
Creation Myths Kate Ready
The Woman's Dinner Margaret Perreault
On This Rainy Night Every Girl's Birthright Anonymous
The Story of the Moon Goddess Trudelle Thomas

Section 4: Re-entering the Dark: Poetry and Prayer
A Quiet Understanding Kristen Bryant
The Basics Terren Ilana Wein
In the Garden Terren Ilana Wein
The Mainstream Barbara Crooker
Her Moon Phases D.R. Windle
Nidah (Menstruant) Janet Ruth Heller
Sacrament Janet Ruth Heller
Rosh Chodesh Nancy Shiffrin
A Cycle of Knowledge: Blood/Moon/Grandmother/She Who Is Hope Vilsick-Greenwell
Snow, Night, Death and Breath Cassie Premo Steele
The Moon is a Mirror Lyn Lifshin
The Gift of Being Female Nan L. Bucknell


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
Sixteen earnest stories (plus additional poetry and prayers) by mostly new authors delve into a topic that is seldom open for discussion. Menstruation is explored here from all perspectives, beginning at puberty in the "Early Moons" section, where most of the writers recount their introductions to womanhood and the sad frequency with which their own mothers veiled or derided the process. Other sections include "Waxing Moons: Coming to Light," featuring tales of adult women honoring their cramps and getting in touch with their bodies, and "Full Moon Celebrations," in which the narratives focus on the goddess in every woman, with menstruation becoming a symbol of woman's sacredness. In one story, a young member of the Nova Scotian Micmac tribe gets her period and is gently eased by her grandmother (interestingly, this tale is by a male author). A harried mother of two yearns to connect with her touchy 11-year-old daughter in the strongest story in the book, "Water Lessons." One piece channels the ancient power of female ancestors and another finds an amorous artist mixing her own biological pigments in with her paint. Although much of this collection boldly examines the negative aspects of menstruation (shame, cramps, messes, silence and fear), the editor has included many positive perspectives as well, illuminating menstruation's life-affirming, procreative and spiritual potentials. The concluding section of poems and prayers is significantly less polished than many of the stories, but overall this book might be helpful to parents of teenage daughters who welcome a feminist and affirmative celebration of menstruation. (Apr.) FYI: The Curse: Confronting the Last Unmentionable Taboo, Menstruation, was reviewed in Nonfiction Forecasts on Feb. 22.
Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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From School Library Journal
A collection of stories, essays, and poetry. The first section, "Early Moons," is composed of short stories about girls in the pre-feminist days who were made to feel that having a period was " something to be hidden, something to be cleaned, something to be spoken about only in whispers." The second section, "Waxing Moons" shows how adult women and society feel about menstruation. "Full Moon Celebrations" offers stories that encompass a positive celebration of menstruation and the strength, creativity, and courage women can draw from it. This section, designed to provide an open, honest, affirming attitude toward menstruation, contains sexually explicit material. "On This Rainy Night: Every Girl's Birthright" includes discussion of self-examination and of masturbation as part of the initiation into womanhood. The final section, "Re-entering the Dark: Poetry and Prayer," can be used "in a prayer service, in a ritual, at a meeting, between friends." The stories are short and easy to read. Young women will identify with many of the characters and recognize similar situations in their own lives in the first two sections. Gloria Steinhem noted in a 1978 essay that "If Men Could Menstruate" that "menstruation would become enviable [and] boastworthy." This book provides a consciousness-raising tool to move women's thoughts in those directions.-Jane Drabkin, Chinn Park Regional Library, Prince William, VA
Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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