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Synopsis

I arrived at San Diego State University (then State College ) in 1969 and so was “present at the creation” and watched the events described in Joyce Nower’s The Sister Chronicles unfold. Nower examines and evokes the creation of the first Women’s Studies program in the nation with a remarkable intertextual weaving of prose and rather formal verse … And so the reconstruction of history to include “her story” began, and you will find the triumphs and setbacks, the exhilaration and disappointment, the hope and the struggle of those days powerfully recalled on these pages. Nower even has the audacity to turn bureaucratic academic procedures into poetry.

—Fred Moramarco, poet and editor of Poetry International

[The] Sister Chronicles (sharp title) about the formation of the first women’s studies in the USA … is entirely original. The prose is nicely paced, but it’s the poetry that charms this reader, with its lyrical, musical voice, its mix of sassy, down home, traditional and erudite, witty and playful voices (“Dido Did It”), the somber beauty of “On the Path to Athena Proneia,” “The Danaids” …. The poems connect smoothly to the narration. The poems that reflect the physical world in San Diego, birds, flora, the back country of the hunter—those “Sloan Canyon Songs”—are strong … I like the witty rhymes … The “Meditation on the Maelstrom” seems an excellent last poem and lands on an affirming note ….I am grateful to know about the mystic, pagan, fourth-century BC mathematician Hypatia of Alexandria. These sonnets, with their no-nonsense earthy language … delighted me. “Jericho Again and Again” sets a philosophical mode into motion. After the fires, the blood of “Hypatia…,” it offers a quieter tone. I especially like #7 “Childhood’s Globe of Light,” the pleasure of the rhymed couplets.

—Colette Inez, poet (The Woman Who Loved Worms, Alive and Taking Names)

Writing in the tradition of the Iliad and Odyssey , Joyce Nower charts the stormy waters of the Sixties. Her luminous poetry breaks over the shoals of the past, bringing calm at last. The Sister Chronicles is a tour de force of history and literature.

—Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman, historian
(All You Need is Love: The Peace Corps and the 1960s)

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