women inspiring woahs

woah number 1:

Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014

A Dialogue of Watching
by Kenneth Rexroth

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Let me celebrate you. I
Have never known anyone
More beautiful than you. I
Walking beside you, watching
You move beside me, watching
That still grace of hand and thigh,
Watching your face change with words
You do not say, watching your
Solemn eyes as they turn to me,
Or turn inward, full of knowing,
Slow or quick, watching your full
Lips part and smile or turn grave,
Watching your narrow waist, your
Proud buttocks in their grace, like
A sailing swan, an animal,
Free, your own, and never
To be subjugated, but
Abandoned, as I am to you,
Overhearing your perfect
Speech of motion, of love and
Trust and security as
You feed or play with our children.
I have never known any
One more beautiful than you.

woah number 2:

It’s the birthday of a writer described by Time magazine as “indisputably theworld’s number one woman writer“: Rebecca West (books by this author), born Cicely Isabel Fairfield in London (1892). As a teenager, she began writing for a radical feminist journal. She didn’t want to embarrass her mother, so she used a pseudonym, taking the name of the heroine in Henrik Ibsen’s playRosmersholm.

Her journalism soon extended to reviews. She described T.S. Eliot as “a poseur,” Tolstoy as “overrated,” George Bernard Shaw as “a eunuch perpetually inflamed by flirtation,” and said of Somerset Maugham: “He couldn’t write for toffee, bless his heart.” She wrote: “Writers on the subject of August Strindberg have hitherto omitted to mention that he could not write.” At the age of 19, she wrote of H.G. Wells: “Of course he is the old maid among novelists; even the sex obsession that lay clotted on Ann Veronica and The New Machiavelli like cold white sauce was merely an old maid’s mania.” After he read the review, Wells asked to meet West, and the two became lovers, and had a son. West was frustrated that so much attention was given to this scandal and her laissez-faire parenting.

woah number 3:

It’s the birthday of Irish revolutionary Maud Gonne, born in Tongham, England (1866). She is famous as the muse of poet W.B. Yeats – he said that when he met her, “The troubling of my life began.” They remained close friends throughout their lives, and Gonne inspired many of his greatest poems.

Gonne grew up in a wealthy family. Her father was a military attaché who traveled all over Europe. She went to boarding school in France, and she was well-traveled, cosmopolitan, confident, and beautiful – six feet tall with red hair. One contemporary described her: “She has a beauty that surprises one – like the sun when it leaps above the horizon. She is tall and like a queen out of a saga.” She returned to Ireland to keep house for her sick father, and after his death she returned to France. There she fell in love with a married right-wing politician, a French nationalist who hated England and encouraged Gonne to join the Irish nationalist cause. The cause soon became her passion, as she traveled the countryside witnessing the persecution of the Irish by the English landowners. She started a newspaper to support the Irish cause, campaigned tirelessly for the release of political prisoners, and organized the Daughters of Ireland, a group of revolutionary women.


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