Second Edition—from Light Messages
available now through amazon.com!
Intimate and intensely personal, Real Birth: Women Share Their Stories offers forty-five first-person narratives about the experience of giving birth. Women from a full range of socioeconomic backgrounds and circumstances recount the childbirth choices they’ve made and the way those choices have played themselves out in the real life contexts of their everyday lives. Readers meet women from all over the country who speak to us directly—no interviewer intrudes, no judgments intrude, and no single method of childbirth is advocated. Instead, these women off us their candid experiences, presented clearly and unflinchingly.
“Highly recommended” –Library Journal, praise for the first edition
Augustus: Narrative of a Slave Woman
When Professor Robin Greene tells a freshman composition class about her scholarly interest in women’s narratives, Samantha Henderson, an African American student, invites Greene to meet her grandmother and to listen to a series of reel-to-reel tapes that both Samantha and her grandmother insist should be part of the official WPA archive of ex-slave narratives.
Intrigued, Greene accepts the challenge of authenticating the recordings, but after a full year of unproductive exchanges with historians and archivists, a frustrated Greene decides to transcribe the tapes and to publish the resulting narrative so that readers may judge for themselves if the tapes are–or are not–authentic.
In her transcription, Greene presents the first-person account of Sarah Louise Augustus, who comes of age during the Civil War and whose story involves a head-on collision with the moral ambiguities of slavery. Readers follow Sarah Louise as she becomes Augustus–the name she assumes when she takes control of her destiny. Her story begins in the antebellum period and unfolds as Augustus recollects a brutal war and its social carnage. Readers also discover the connections that bind Greene, Sarah Louise, Samantha, and Samantha’s grandmother–for these women, surprisingly, share much in common.
As a work of historical fiction, Greene’s account focuses light on black feminism, on race-specific reactions to historical inquiry, on sexuality and rape, and on the quest for identity. And Greene, who in “real life” teaches English and Writing at Methodist University, becomes Professor Greene, the fictional narrator whose story frames the narrative and whose own scholarly need for authenticity and precision nearly costs her more than she is willing to lose.
These are consummate poems—writes poet Robert Creeley—determined by what one’s learned in living, both with others and oneself. It’s an old human story, here given a poet’s particularity—each word finding its quiet place. More than thought only, its feeling which comes to speak—to say what it’s all about.
Richard Jackson, poet, critic, and Professor of English at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga writes: “Poems wrote Longinus centuries ago, are what ‘transport’ us to other worlds. In these quietly sublime meditative narratives we are transported from domestic situations, travel reports—in other words the basic stuff of our lives—to a higher, almost transcendent understanding of larger issues. As often as not this transport is surprising and sudden, usually leaping from the end of a poem: ‘the apple trees seem to lift their craggy/branches without understanding/what they are about to lose.” She says at the end of one descriptive poem. And a poem set in Paris ends: ‘We didn’t talk much/but walked in ever-widening circles’ among the city’s clutter and details. This is a voice, after all, of a woman talking her considered and careful way through a life, thinking her way through these finely wrought poems, and ‘struggling to control each/windblown word that issued from her mouth.’”
Available from the author. Only limited copies available. .
Memories of Light
Of Greene’s short volume, poet Lynda Hull writes: “By turns aerial, and powerfully earthy, Robin Greene’s Memories of Light marks the debut of a strong new voice. The poems in this collection explore the complicated human linkage with place, from narratives that register gritty New York City neighborhoods, to quiet streamside meditations. Memories of Light explores with great integrity and a rare honesty the mysteries of desire, of birth and death, of love and friendship. Robin Greene is a writer who indeed gives her readers a gift with these poems.”
Colleen J. McElroy, Harperprints Poetry Competition judge, writes: “Greene’s poems lead you down the ungrateful road of stark memory where a single phrase may echo across a landscape of shimmering details, pulling us toward her Memories of Light. This work hold both heat and light – sudden eruptions of energy as in “Eighth Month,” and “Dehorning the Bull,” or the more subtle disturbances of “By a Vermont Strean,” or “Replanting Tulips.” But most of all, there is a remarkable intensity of voice that keeps the poems moving beyond the last line.”
Available from the author. Reprinted copies in limited edition only.