Letters from Our Readers

I just finished reading issue 1 of LIBER cover-to-cover. What a wonderful contribution to the conversation! Half of it seemed to have been written directly to me. Thank you!

I was especially pleased & surprised to find Charis Caputo—who wrote one of my favorite reviews of Women’s Liberation!, the anthology I edited with Honor Moore—discussing in “Just Go” some of the same subjects I wrote about in my 1993 essay “Women Writers of the Beat Generation.”

Now looking forward to issue 2 . . .

Alix Kates Shulman
New York, NY

LIBER responds:

Dear Alix,

Thank you so much for reaching out! I’m thrilled to hear the first issue resonated. I just read your essay “Women Writers of the Beat Generation,” which is fascinating and fills out so beautifully my understanding of what I was writing about. I agree that misogyny is something integral to Beat culture, not just a default attitude. I keep thinking about a letter quoted in Carolyn Cassady’s Off the Road in which Ginsberg bemoans the oppressiveness of American “matriarchal culture.” Such a bonkers statement, but you explain it perfectly when you say the Beats identified “the woman with the family and saw them not as prisoners but as prison guards.” Even now I find a lot of my peers of all genders idealize the Beats, which has always confused me, so it was validating to read this.

Best wishes,
Charis Caputo,
senior editor

From the spine as the “I” that reminds me of the need to stand up for myself (and my mother telling to sit up straight and my VeraMeat spine hoop earrings) to the “Audre” digital collage on the cover by Elise Peterson, to Claire Potter on Patricia Highsmith’s diaries, to McKenzie Wark’s musings on the work of Grace Lavery: LIBER is the feminist review I didn’t know I needed!

I especially loved Laurie Stone’s “What We Remember is Not the Past” (March/April 2022), on feminism and how we look back at our choices. The column goes from packing up her New York City apartment for good and finding her old notebooks, to watching a doc about the murdered filmmaker Adrienne Shelly, to why women can’t be seen as artists and mothers, to what she thinks she knows about the filmmaker’s intentions, to how she rewrote her own memory, to a meditation of rejection and failure and sexism and misogyny, to joy in the quotidian with her partner, to assigning meaning to the past, to cater-waitering and the night sky, to exhaustion, to sex, to her mother— around and around like a spiral that zeroes on the essence of what it is to be human.

Stone’s writing (rangy like a horse running up a hill, and a little wild, like a first kiss) gives me a pang in my heart— and hope, though I don’t think that was her intention.

Christen Clifford
Queens, NY

LIBER responds:

Wow, Christen. You really get Laurie, and the magic of the “Streaming Now” column. Laurie Stone describes her narrator, otherwise known as Laurie, like this:

She is thinking in front of you, changing her mind when another bit of evidence emerges. Evidence about what? How the world works sometimes. How women operate in a world in which their identity is always mistaken. How the notion of identity for anyone is also, ineluctably, a matter of mistaken identity. Sometimes she thinks about the comic voice as a means of talking to you about the most painful aspects of memory and the present moment. You read Laurie in order to spend time with a person who is speaking directly to you and will tell you everything you will need to know about the reflection she is having in the moment. It could be about her life, her past, the way the world used to be when she was young and writing for The Village Voice, the way people she loved died, the way she is comically and relentlessly diminished by her anger.

Laurie’s latest book, Streaming Now, is now available from Dottir Press.

LIBER welcomes letters from readers. We reserve the right to edit letters for publication. Please send them to editor@liberreview.com.

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