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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
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 265)
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Sarah
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.


...more
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.
K.
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
Roy
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!
Ona
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.
Lindsey
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.
Roxanne
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
Jesse
Sep 26, 2007 Jesse rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: poets
amazing raw poetry, powerful and amazing.
Catherine
lesbian feminism
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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.”
8 likes
“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.”
8 likes
More quotes…