Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Work of a Common Woman: The Collected Poetry of Judy Grahn, 1964-1977” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
The Work of a Common W...
Judy Grahn
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Work of a Common Woman: The Collected Poetry of Judy Grahn, 1964-1977

4.6 of 5 stars 4.60  ·  rating details  ·  129 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Introduction by Adrienne Rich
trade paper, 158 pages
Published January 1st 1978 by Diana Press
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Jezebel's Books All Women Should Read
428th out of 609 books — 1,136 voters
Leaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanCrush by Richard SikenThe Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara by Frank O'HaraThe Fact of a Doorframe by Adrienne RichHowl by Allen Ginsberg
Gay/Queer Poetry
131st out of 135 books — 44 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 265)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
so, so excited to find this at the used bookstore today!!

Here, the sea strains to climb up on the land
and the wind blows dust in a single direction.
The trees bend themselves all one way
and volcanoes explode often
Why is this? Many years back
a woman of strong purpose
passed through this section
and everything else tried to follow.

Lana Henderson
One of the most beautiful collections of poetry,I have ever read.Thank you Ani DiFranco!If you can get your hands on a copy,check out Detroit Annie,hitchiking.Amazing.
It hurts me to see that people aren't reading this any more. These are some of the best poems I know about tough, labor-worn working-class women: waitresses and cleaning women, motorcycle dykes and truck drivers. "She's a copperheaded waitress,/ tired and sharp-worded, she hides/ her bad brown tooth behind a wicked/ smile, and flicks her ass/ out of habit, to fend off the pass/ that passes for affection." There are also incredibly sweet little love poems here, like this one about Eve: "Look at m ...more
An "underground legend" from the 70s, this is more than a random collection of poetry. "Grahn has reawakened language and the shapes of poetry to a feminist perspective to speak of what it means to be a powerful woman in this world, at this time....always rooted in everyday language and common female experience, this is poetry people memorize and put to use, dance to, learn from and argue with, laugh and cry over, and whisper to themselves in hard times." All five of Grahn's chapbooks are includ ...more
Marjorie Jensen
As a queer, working-class, Oakland-based, Adrienne-Rich-loving poet, I can't believe I haven't read Judy Grahn's poetry before now. So much language in this book spoke directly to me, from Rich's stellar introduction ("for women, the devil has most often taken the form of love rather than of power, gold or learning") to the Common Woman poems ("the common woman is as common as the best of bread / and will rise / and will become strong--I swear it to you"), to the conversations with death ("death ...more
Melissa Fletcher
Essential reading!
Oct 15, 2007 Ona rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all women/poets
i have read this book from 1997 onward. Her internal rhyme, has soaked into my own writing. I love Grahn like I love Rich. I respect them both immensely and often find that any piece of my writing exists as an answer to what they have already offered. i just discovered that i have lost my first edition of this book with all of the notes i have written over the years. what a bummer.
something about this book....A Woman Is Talking To Death....i find more in it every single time i pick it up. i don't necessarily even think it's the best poetry there ever was. but many of the poems touch me very deeply.
I have probably owned this book for a dozen years, grabbed up in the throes of coming out and discovering lesbians write books!

Moving, slippery and sometimes painful.
Miami University Libraries
King Library (2nd floor) | PS3557.R226 W6 1980

Renate Seiwert read selections from this collection at the 2010 Women's Read-In
Sep 26, 2007 Jesse rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: poets
amazing raw poetry, powerful and amazing.
lesbian feminism
Natalie Martell
Natalie Martell marked it as to-read
Jul 25, 2015
Patty marked it as to-read
Jul 15, 2015
Grasser marked it as to-read
Jul 09, 2015
layla marked it as to-read
Jul 05, 2015
Juliana Matasova
Juliana Matasova marked it as to-read
Jun 07, 2015
Lisa marked it as to-read
Mar 17, 2015
Ruth Anderson
Ruth Anderson marked it as to-read
Mar 16, 2015
Onna added it
Mar 11, 2015
Ashley marked it as to-read
Mar 08, 2015
George Chien
George Chien marked it as to-read
Mar 02, 2015
Kate marked it as to-read
Feb 12, 2015
Janet Morris
Janet Morris marked it as to-read
Feb 08, 2015
Emma marked it as to-read
Feb 08, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far
  • Century of Struggle: The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States, Enlarged Edition
  • Feminists Theorize the Political
  • Love, Death, and the Changing of the Seasons
  • The War on Choice: The Right-Wing Attack on Women's Rights and How to Fight Back
  • The Complete Hothead Paisan: Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist
  • Bitches, Bimbos, and Ballbreakers: The Guerrilla Girls' Illustrated Guide to Female Stereotypes
  • Moving Beyond Words: Age, Rage, Sex, Power, Money, Muscles: Breaking Boundaries of Gender
  • Talking from 9 to 5: Women and Men at Work
  • The Black Unicorn: Poems
  • On Strike Against God
  • The Women Who Hate Me Poetry 1980-1990
  • The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader
  • Jane Sexes It Up: True Confessions of Feminist Desire
  • A Woman Speaks: The Lectures, Seminars and Interviews of Anaïs Nin
  • Why Things Burn
  • Rat Bohemia
  • Marriage Confidential
Another Mother Tongue Blood, Bread, and Roses: How Menstruation Created the World A Woman Is Talking to Death Edward the Dyke and Other Poems The Queen of Wands

Share This Book

“Here, the sea strains to climb up on the land
and the wind blows dust in a single direction.
The trees bend themselves all one way
and volcanoes explode often
Why is this? Many years back
a woman of strong purpose
passed through this section
and everything else tried to follow.”
“Paris and Helen

He called her: golden dawn
She called him: the wind whistles

He called her: heart of the sky
She called him: message bringer

He called her: mother of pearl
barley woman, rice provider,
millet basket, corn maid,
flax princess, all-maker, weef

She called him: fawn, roebuck,
stag, courage, thunderman,
all-in-green, mountain strider
keeper of forests, my-love-rides

He called her: the tree is
She called him: bird dancing

He called her: who stands,
has stood, will always stand
She called him: arriver

He called her: the heart and the womb
are similar
She called him: arrow in my heart.”
More quotes…