Girl in a Library: On Women Writers & the Writing Life

“A writer surrendering to a text is performing an act of love, but precisely because it is not self-love, it is an act that acquires authority as it acquires knowledge … The writer can give herself over to the text only by being conscious, at every moment, of the text and of the possibilities of the text. She reads the page as she writes it. That is the reading that transcends all critical readings. She reads what the page has to say to her, and she responds attentively, and the page responds, and in this dialogue is the creation, as if the Logos were to demand of us an answer to itself.”
from ‘Authority’, Girl in a Library: On Women Writers & the Writing Life by Kelly Cherry (BkMk Press, 2009)
“Poet, memorist, fiction writer, and critic Cherry has assembled a lissome and winning retrospective collection of essays on writing, reading, and life,” writes Donna Seaman in her starred Booklist review. “Piquant essays on family history and her coming-of-age are deepened by reflections on beauty, art and vocation. In fresh and enquiring portraits of exceptional southern women writers – Eudora Welty, Elizabeth Hardwick, Mary Ward Brown, Bobbie Ann Mason – Cherry explores the nature of a literary life.” Library Journal writes, “Cherry explores the craft of writing, tracing her own development from rebellious college student to award-winning author of 19 books … Cherry’s story will prove inspirational to aspiring writers as will her critical essays.”

Kelly Cherry

Kelly Cherry is the author of nineteen books of poetry, novels, short stories, criticism, and memoir – including Girl in a Library: On Women Writers & the Writing Life and The Retreats of Thought: Poems – eight chapbooks, and two translations of classical plays. Her short fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize, and New Stories from the South, and her collection The Society of Friends: Stories received the Dictionary of Literary Biography Award in 2000 for the best short story collection of 1999. For her body of work in poetry she has received the Hanes Prize from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. She is Eudora Welty Professor Emerita of English and Evjue-Bascom Professor Emerita in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and has held named chairs and distinguished visiting writer positions at a number of universities. She and her husband, Burke Davis III, live on a small farm in Virginia with their two dogs.
Order Girl in a Library: On Women Writers & the Writing Life (BkMk Press, 2009) here or here.

2 thoughts on “Girl in a Library: On Women Writers & the Writing Life

  1. Julie

    The book sounds wonderful. I love the excerpt. And Eudora Welty is another one of my favorites. Kelly Cherry’s poetry is excellent, so I look forward to reading her essays. Thank you!

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