Please do check out "Verdant Voices: The Women of Green Writers Press" at The Brooklyn Rail here, and please let me know if you would like to learn more about any of these books or any of these authors (or any other of the many terrific Green Writers Press books or authors) any further because we will so make that happen. Please also enjoy some excerpt below.
Rail: Megan, I know it was critical to you to work with women as your poetry touches on some difficult subjects of mental illness and sexual assault. As female authors, how do you think working with the female leadership of the press and beside other female authors through this whole process has impacted your journey to authorship?
Alice: Working beside other women has impacted me in the sense that I would not have written about the injustices of being a woman had I not been around and seen all of these injustices that other women face. Some of the stories in my book are not just from my personal experience, but also from my sister’s and my mom’s. Women, as a collective, have similar stories that are being told in the #MeToo Movement. These are stories that we universally connect with and feel the need to share because they are important. These are stories that must be told.
I would not have wanted to publish my book through anything other than a female-centered company. It would not have felt right to me any other way because so much of my book is based on the experiences of women. I am a woman and half of my donations are going to Planned Parenthood, so of course I want to work with women through this whole process. My literary agent is a fantastic woman, and so is Dede, and my editor. I think women empowering other women is one of the things that this world really needs right now.
Epstein: Working with a female editor at a women-owned press definitely impacted my writing process. In one of the chapters in my book, I discuss body-image and what it was like living with my father as an adolescent and teenager, as well as not having my mother present in my life to guide me through those challenging years.
I think working with a female editor made it easier for me to come out of my comfort zone and write more explicitly and honestly about some very painful subjects that still affect me as an adult. I'm not sure I would have felt as comfortable working with a male editor. This is not to say that I think men lack the capacity or empathy to discuss these issues openly and honestly, or that men are not affected by body image issues—of course they are! However, I do think perhaps, that it is a more relatable subject for women then for men.
Kunin: Well I don’t think gender always plays a huge role [in the editorial relationship], but in the case of my book, it made a difference that Dede understood what I was getting at. I think some men could capture that too; I don’t think you have to be a female person, but it helps.
Watkins: I always find working with women such an enriching experience. I developed close relationships with Christine Eberle and two other women who haven’t published yet. We bounced ideas off each other, supported each other when we thought we couldn’t do this anymore, and have continued to support each other as we move through this process. At home, my writing group is primarily female and we support each other not just in our writing but in the real world as well. Women are just there for each other in ways that men are not.