Book Party 6/7/14. Strong Enough To Bend

Carol Anne Douglas and Sue Lenaerts are having a book party for me at our SW editors home this coming Saturday afternoon. I want to thank Julie and Kim in advance for their kindness. Those who truly love books and writing can always be counted on to go that extra mile. Many Blessings.


Carolyn Gage Blogs about Strong Enough to Bend

Strong Enough to Bend is the new book by Judith K. Witherow long time writer, and SW Board Member

We'Moon 2015

Huffington Post Book Review by Janet Mason

Lesbian Truthtellers Write Books to Take Home With You: Essayist Judith Witherow and Novelist Renee Bess
Posted: 04/25/2014 10:45 am EDT Updated: 04/25/2014 10:59 am EDT

I was reminded of the quote from the late poet Muriel Rukeyser -- ''What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open'' -- when I read Judith K. Witherow's collection of essays, Strong Enough To Bend, Twin Spirits Publishing, 2014. Then when I read The Rules by S. Renee Bess, a novel published by Regal Crest Enterprises, 2014, I was reminded of this quote again.
Judith and Renee are both lesbian writers who bring their truth home through their writings.
In her collection of essays, Strong Enough To Bend, Judith K. Witherow describes herself as a "back up writer, one of many who stand in the background, providing the harmony and staging the recognition for those whose names are on the covers of the books or the mastheads of the publications."
She describes Strong Enough to Bend as her solo performance. And what a performance it is. I found that I could not put Strong Enough To Bend down -- except for time to recollect how much the essays reminded me of friend's lives and my own.
Native American lesbian and truth teller, Witherow starts her collection with essays on her background being raised poor in the northern Appalachian mountains.
"We never lived in a place that had screen doors or screens in the windows. This allowed everything, including snakes, to come and go at will. We learned at an early age to pound on the floor before getting out of bed."
In the second section, Judith talks about how she came out with three sons that she gave birth to during a marriage to an abusive man. Raising her sons in the 1970s a time when lesbians were losing their children to custody battles with ex-husbands, presented Judith with an ongoing dilemma of when to officially come out to her children. It's not surprising that her three sons, who were raised by Judith and her long-term partner, Sue, knew that their mother was a lesbian far before she told them and were fiercely protective of their two mothers.
She devotes another section of the book to her multiple health issues which stem, no doubt, from her poverty ridden childhood, and to her struggles with the medical establishment. In 1979, Judith was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Judith's health issues are numerous and it is clear that we are lucky to have her with us on this planet. Hers is a voice that we were not meant to hear.
A strong feminist, Judith is a role model for valuing herself. In the 1996 U.S. presidential election, Judith was a write-in candidate prompted by her belief that she "was the best qualified of any of the candidates. Her belief was bolstered by,
"Clinton's first shot at four years of Democratic leadership...Don't Ask Don't Tell sounds like a warmed over version of the Reagan's 'Just Say No.'"
When I read The Rules, a novel by S. Renee Bess, I was reminded that truth can be found in fiction. Ranee is a Black lesbian and in these pages we meet an assortment of characters, most of them Black lesbians, at least one of whom lives by the rules -- meaning that she lives her life by a certain code of ethics but sometimes she is confused by what the rules are. The protagonist, a woman by the name of London, defends herself to her long-term lover who is leaving her.
"What do you mean?"
"You don't seem sure about your blackness."
"What are you talking about. I know I'm black."
"Do you? You could have fooled me. Most of your friends aren't black. You don't talk like a black person. You couldn't even keep working for a black-owned construction company."
"My friends are all different colors. I speak the way I was taught to speak, and I left Clive Wittingham's firm because I wasn't climbing the ladder there, not because I didn't want to work for a back man's company."
Two of the characters are profoundly influenced by their childhoods -- and in fact we meet them as children when they were friends. As adults they are joined by a cast of characters complicated by intrigue and lesbian love. Equally intriguing to me was the prism of race and class.
I read this lesbian duo back to back and when the last page was turned, I felt the world split open -- just a little.
(Strong Enough To Bend--can be bought on Amazon, B&N, etc. Judith K. Witherow

Strong Enough To Bend New book just published.

Strong Enough to Bend

a new book by Judith K. Witherow--Sinister Wisdom Board Member.

$14.95 includes shipping and handling
In Strong Enough to Bend, author Judith K. Witherow compiles a sampling from four decades of her essays and poems that describe the real life experiences of a disabled, mixed blood Native American Indian lesbian raised in Appalachian poverty. Much of the work has been previously published in anthologies, university women's studies texts and feminist periodicals. This unique memoir is the first collection exclusively authored by Witherow.

Website: (Can be bought on Paypal or by check.)



Cheryl Clarke and Janet Rose Reading at Bluestockings in NYC

‘Edgy Chronicles’
An Evening of Readings by Cheryl Clarke and Janet Rose

Saturday, April 5, 7-9pm

Bluestockings Bookstore

172 Allen Street, NYC

(between Rivington and Stanton--F train to 2nd Ave; or W. Houston Bus to Allen St and walk south toward Stanton)

Two edgy lesbian authors read from their different but complementary genres for personal, artistic and political expression. Clarke, acclaimed activist, scholar, poet and essayist, is a prolific analyst and chronicler of struggle. Rose, activist, educator and psychologist, approaches issues through literary science fiction. Clarke will read from her published works, LIVING AS A LESBIAN, THE DAYS OF GOOD LOOKS: PROSE AND POETRY, 1980-2005. Rose will read from her published novel, BEYOND THE HORSE’S EYE —A FANTASY OUT OF TIME.

Sinister Wisdom Awarded Leadership Award from Publishing Triangle - March 2014 Newsletter

Sinister Wisdom to Receive Leadership Award

From the Publishing Triangle

The announcement from the Publishing Triangle that Sinister Wisdom is the winner of the 2014 Leadership Award thrilled all of us at Sinister Wisdom. The prize will be presented on April 24, 2014 in New York City. Here is what the Publishing Triangle had to say about the award:

Created in 2002, this award recognizes contributions to lesbian and gay literature by those who are not primarily writers-editors, agents, librarians, and institutions.

swSinister Wisdom is a multicultural lesbian literary and art journal that publishes four issues each year. Publishing since 1976, Sinister Wisdom works to create a multicultural, multi-class lesbian space. Sinister Wisdom seeks to open, consider and advance the exploration of lesbian community issues. It recognizes the power of language to reflect the diverse experiences in the lesbian community and to enhance the ability of lesbians to develop critical judgment as they evaluate their community and their world. Julie R. Enszer, PhD, is the current editor and publisher of Sinister Wisdom.

In 2013, Sinister Wisdom moved into book publishing as well, in partnership with A Midsummer Night's Press. Its Sapphic Classics are reprint editions of iconic works of lesbian poetry. The first such title, Minnie Bruce Pratt's Crime Against Nature, was published in April 2013; the second Sapphic Classic, Cheryl Clarke's Living as a Lesbian, came out in January 2014.

For its decades of publishing to a queer audience, Sinister Wisdom, the oldest surviving lesbian literary journal, is being honored with the Publishing Triangle's Leadership Award.

Want more information? Visit the Publishing Triangle.


Spring Subscription Drive

Celebrate the Leadership Award by Subscribing to Sinister Wisdom

The greatest way to pay tribute to Sinister Wisdom is by subscribing to the journal. We have a special spring subscription drive. We hope to add 38 new subscribers by May 1st--one for every year that Sinister Wisdom has published. Will you join us as a subscriber today? Full information about subscriptions is available here: We will be counting until we reach 38 and announce that milestone at


Back Issues Available

Copies of Sinister Wisdom 87 and 81 are hot this month

After Sinister Wisdom publisher and editor, Julie R. Enszer, wrote about Sinister Wisdom 87: A Tribute to Adrienne Rich at the Huffington Post, copies have been flying off of our shelves. You can still get a copy, however, if you have missed this issue, by clicking here. You can read Enszer's column here.

Also hot is Sinister Wisdom 81: Lesbian Poetry--When? And Now! in which lesbian poets pair their work with poems by other lesbian poets they admire. A few copies of this issue are still available here.

We sell all back issues in stock here at the special price of three issues for only $15 plus postage. Pick up a few for yourself--and to share with friends.


Share Sinister Wisdom with a Friend!

We can All be Wise and Sinister Together

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Thanks for reading, sharing, and supporting Sinister Wisdom!

In sisterhood,


Julie R. Enszer, PhD

Editor & Publisher

Sinister Wisdom

Sinister Wisdom 92 / Lesbian Healthcare Workers

Lesbian Healthcare Workers
Elizabeth Hansen, Guest Editor

Sinister Wisdom 92: Lesbian Healthcare Workers is a special issue that focuses on lesbian healthcare workers, and particularly nurses. Workers and recipients of lesbian healthcare come together to share their personal experiences through essays, poems, and other imagery that highlight systemic issues, and express gratitude to the healers within the lesbian community.

Essays by:
• Peggy L. Chinn & Elizabeth R. Berrey
• Maria V. Ciletti
• Sharon Deevey
• Kelli Dunham
• Alma Garcia
• Sarah Lipkin-Lamay
• Karen Starr
• Maida Tilchen
• Jean Taylor

Creative Work By

Judith Beckett
Cassandra Christenson
Joan Cofrancesco
Michelle Duford
Diane Solis
Samn Stockwell

And More!

Sinister Wisdom 92: Lesbian Healthcare Workers is sold out. It is available as an ebook here.

On occasion, we receive donated copies of Sinister Wisdom back issues and sell them when they are available. You can inquire about availability of this issue by emailing

Subscribe to Sinister Wisdom and receive a full year of the best lesbian literary and arts journal.

Sinister Wisdom 61 / Women Loving Women In Prison

One of the most requested issues of Sinister Wisdom is Sinister Wisdom 61: Women Loving Women in Prison. So we are excited to announce that we have a reprint in house of the issue, so copies are back in stock. Many of the requests for this issue come from women who are incarcerated, so we send out copies for free to incarcerated women. If you would like to support this work, do consider making a contribution to Sinister Wisdom. You can give online here:
or mail a check to:
Sinister Wisdom
2333 McIntosh Road
Dover, FL 33527
Interested in other back issues of Sinister Wisdom? Order them here:
Thanks for supporting the journal!

"It's Where You Find It" New chapbook: Suzanne Sunshower

Suzanne Sunshower has a new chapbook ready for sale. The name is: "It's Where You Find It." To purchase go to: The price is $7.00 per copy.
Well worth the price.


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