The Moment of Change
Ed. Rose Lemberg, 2012
Reviewed by Belle DiMonté
This anthology is, quite simply, beautiful and transcendent in every sense.
This collection of feminist speculative poetry featuring work by many talented poets is a long and juicy read like a bush of ripe berries, each poem a delicious bite of bright imaginings, telling of worlds full of flowers, fish-eyes, cauldrons, broken slippers, and much, much more.
The work contained in this volume is incredibly diverse, both in genre and subject matter, though all the works are undeniably feminist, upholding the power—poetical and mundane—of women and their enchanting stories. With poems ranging in flavour from Lisa Bradley’s darkly thought-provoking “The Haunted Girl” to Rachel Manija Brown’s fine-woven offering “River of Silk” to Delia Sherman’s moving “Snow White to the Prince” and, at last, to Mary Alexandra Agner’s modern-day “Tertiary”, this anthology is a fantastical sampling of femininity, delving into many different traditions and genres to produce a patchwork quilt of literary greatness. In this tome, the reader will find poems inspired by Bengali fairytales, classic fables, dreams, memories, forest wanderings, and flashes of inspiration in the night. But all are united by the common theme of shared femininity and feyness. Each poem is a world and message all its own, a brilliant glimpse into the minds and lives of girls, women, and witches. Each line, each word, sings with life and strength, the song of women through the eons.
Most notable are, perhaps, the contributions of these poets: Theodora Goss’ entrancing poem “The Witch”, an eloquent and elegant portrait of a witch and her life, her magic, her strength; Cassandra Phillips-Sears’ “The Last Yangtze River Dolphin”, a melodious and sonorous poem on princesses, love, and rebirth; and Catherynne M. Valente’s invigorating poem “The Girl with Two Skins”, a ravaging and vibrant tale that delves into kitsune lore, feral desires, and personal integrity.
Diverse, divulging, and raw, The Moment of Change is an anthology whose images and messages will stay with readers for a long time after the final poem has been enjoyed, and will likely be a favourite for reading on rainy days when some magic and spice are needed to colour the world. Girls, women, and witches—as well as their friends, consorts, and familiars!—will find this anthology an irresistible and necessary addition to their personal library.