I entered Chant of a Million Women in the 27th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards last year. It didn’t win but I got this commentary by the Judge.
The variations of form in this collection are wonderful. I loved how the voice of the poet is clear through all of the forms the poems take and that nothing is lost there. It’s a very evocative tone, with each poem’s structure assisting the voice and meaning seamlessly. I loved the poem The Violinist, p. 13, which is able to transport me to the moment so well. The title poem is a wonderful and timely expression (maybe a manifesto?) of womanhood that is empowering to read. I really appreciated the honesty, boldness, and clarity of the words used by the poet. They’re not frothy or extra, they just speak to the truth being expressed and it was very refreshing to read that. Loneliness, p. 31, and Accountable to No One, p. 49, were a couple other favorites. I was impressed with how well the collection as a whole opened my experience, perspective, and viewpoint of the world and the experiences of other women, while also speaking to my own unique viewpoint. That’s not an easy balance to strike and I think it was really spot on. Several of these poems that deal with the difficult realities of womanhood and femininity give words to feelings I’ve had before, and it is my favorite thing when a writer can accomplish that. I really liked this collection and hope the writer continues to express and explore these feelings and experiences.