You Should Read This: Woman and Nature by Susan Griffin

Cover for Woman and Nature by Susan Griffin to accompany review written by speculative fiction writer Cat Rambo.

She knew her skill and she knew it well. She could speak more than one language. She spoke their language, and she spoke hew own, which they could not speak.

What: Poetry and meditative essay mingle in Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her by Susan Griffin. I found this book in grad school when I was first learning to look into metaphors to find out what they contained.

Who: Read this if you’re a woman, whether or not you call yourself a feminist. Read it if you’re a man trying to write realistic women, because the structures Griffin talks about are ones that affect all of this, but particularly women. Read it if you don’t mind some poetry mixed in with your thinking.

Why: Read this to reexamine the words and metaphors we use to describe both nature and women, to understand the attitudes behind the language.

He says that woman speaks with nature. That she hears voices from under the earth. that wind blows in her ears and trees whisper to her. That the dead sing through her mouth and the cries of infants are clear to her. But dfor him this dialogue is over. He says he is not part of this world, that he was set on this world as a stranger. He sets himself apart from woman and nature.
And so it is Goldilocks who goes to the home of the three bears, Little Red Riding Hood who converses with the wolf, Dorothy who befriends a lion, Snow White who talks to the birds, Cinderella with mice as her allies, the Mermaid who is half fish, Thumbelina courted by a mole.

When: Read this when you want to be lulled by words out of your own body and into the material forms of tree and earth and shell.

Where and how: Read this near a window, where you can look out at trees or sky or mountains or water.


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About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She is currently working on Exiles of Tabat, the third book of the Tabat Quartet. A new story collection, Neither Here Nor There, appears from Hydra House this fall.
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