I got copies of HOW(ever) -- a subscription for vol. 5, as well as back issues of vol. 4--and am enjoying them immensely. Also angrily. Why in all my years of lit classes did I not hear these names, read this work? By great (thank God) luck I've found women writers sharing my own concerns. Now, reading o.blek, I find part of a series by Rosmarie Waldrop, the beginnings of which were printed in HOW(ever); I find a chapter in a book I'm currently reading (Open Form and the Feminine Imagination --by Stephen-Paul Martin--good book, but why didn't a woman write it?) about Theresa Cha--then discover one of the issues of HOW(ever) is devoted to her work. It is as if all these mysteriously disparate writers are suddenly IN CONTEXT, in relation to other writers of their generation, of earlier generations. . . .Those overlooked by The Canon, I'm starting to see, are not merely bypassed--they are divided and scattered--this is what makes me so angry. I am no stranger to lit classes, as I've said--why didn't I hear of these women???
. . . Gertrude Stein was mentioned, but as a freak of some sort, as if she was a one-of-a-kind, instead of a precursor to the writings of contemporary women. Is it me--did I pick lousy programs? (I don't think so, a friend of mine currently at Sarah Lawrence complains too). Were women writers more well-represented in the 70's--did I just miss the boat?
Well, I have since found/stumbled upon the work I need to see to work--I get a horrible vertigo when I think: what if I hadn't found the means to make these connections?
The alerts and postcards sections are treasures--I worked for years ordering poetry books for a Cambridge bookstore and managed to represent some pretty obscure publishers --HOW(ever), however, has not only news about small small presses, but addresses--what a treat!
(from Karen Kelley, to Rachel Blau DuPlessis)
I've always liked experimental work basically because thought patterns and natural rhythms of speech don't fit the English language. I suppose it's the American Indian heritage, in my case. But you have this cargo which doesn't fit the vehicle upon which it's supposed to ride. So you're always taking risks. I also try for a wholeness from the broken heritage.
--Diane Glancy, excerpt from a letter to HOW(ever)
Back to Milan from a short trip in Tuscany, I found your letter and was thoroughly delighted by your interest in the "lost" Evelyn Scott and by HOW(ever), which I started to read and shall read with the pleasure of discovery of a complex printed world. As for the information you ask on Scott, her publisher is the new Carroll & Graf, New York: you'll find in print Escapade (introduction by Peggy Beach) and The Wave, a 624-page long novel on the Civil War; you'll also find a reprint of The Narrow House and Narcissus, which were first republished by Elizabeth Hardwick in her Rediscovered Fiction by American Women series, in 1972.
--Marisa Bulgheroni, from a letter to Kathleen Fraser