The Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade has generated a critical urgency for this landmark literary anthology of poems, stories, and essays. Choice Words collects essential voices that renew our courage in the struggle to defend reproductive rights. Twenty years in the making, the book spans continents and centuries. This collection magnifies the voices of people reclaiming the sole authorship of their abortion experiences. These essays, poems, and prose are a testament to the profound political power of defying shame.
Contributors include Ai, Amy Tan, Anne Sexton, Audre Lorde, Bobbie Louise Hawkins. Camonghne Felix, Carol Muske-Dukes, Diane di Prima, Dorothy Parker, Gloria Naylor, Gloria Steinem, Gwendolyn Brooks, Jean Rhys, Joyce Carol Oates, Judith Arcana, Kathy Acker, Langston Hughes, Leslie Marmon Silko, Lindy West, Lucille Clifton, Mahogany L. Browne, Margaret Atwood, Molly Peacock, Ntozake Shange, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Sharon Doubiago, Sharon Olds, Shirley Geok-lin Lim, Sholeh Wolpe, Ursula Le Guin, and Vi Khi Nao.
“This book is a treasure, a gift, and a long-overdue shining of light in the most secret, sometimes painful, and often defiant lives of women. I am grateful that this anthology finally exists.” —Elizabeth Gilbert, author, Eat, Pray, Love
"This is a captivating collection, organized and curated as only Annie Finch can do. It is a book I will cherish for years to come." —Dolen Perkins-Valdez, author, Balm
"A powerful collection of poems, fiction, and essays on the reality of abortion. . . Finch (Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters, 2015, etc.) has drawn together writers across time (from the 16th century to the present), place, race, ethnicity, gender, age, and culture who offer stark, often wrenching revelations. . . Eloquent contributions to the literature on a deeply contested issue.” —Kirkus, starred review
"With reproductive rights under relentless assault, never has a book been more needed. Annie Finch has spanned five centuries and six continents to assemble writers who articulate a commonality of experience in every situation and emotion. Conceived and compiled with scrupulous scholarship, and with an illuminating introduction by Katha Pollitt, Choice Words will become a classic of both feminism and literature." —Robin Morgan, activist, author, host of Women's Media Center Live
"The poems, essays, and stories in Choice Words prove that women’s bodies cannot be nationalized.” — Gloria Steinem
"Choice Words is an important contribution to our movement for abortion access. It’s time to read what literary voices have been saying about abortion. As we read their voices and stories, we have more nuanced context as we navigate our own lives." −Yamani Hernandez, Executive Director, National Network of Abortion Funds
"Silence, as much as anything, is why abortion's such an easy target in America. Stories save lives. We need women to say, shamelessly, I had an abortion. I'm not sorry. I'm not afraid. This anthology is a valuable contribution to this work." −Molly Crabapple, author, Drawing Blood
"Every kind of abortion you can imagine is represented here: abortions legal and illegal, safe and dangerous and fatal; abortions despite the wishes of others and abortions at the behest−the compulsion−of others; abortion as a claiming of self and abortion as an abnegation of self. There is abortion as tragedy, and also abortion as an occasion for wry comedy." −Katha Pollitt, author, Pro
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Contributors from Choice Words at the Bengaluru Poetry Festival in India.