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Word For Word: A  Writer's Life by Laurie Lisle

Word for Word is the dramatic story of my determination to become a published author, from my early days in journalism to writing my groundbreaking biographies of legendary artists Georgia O'Keeffe and Louise Nevelson. In the book, I discuss the demands of writing honestly about others and myself while unflinchingly sharing successes, stumbling blocks, and relationships that threatened to silence my written voice.

"Word for Word pulses with intellectual discussions, lived feminist history and its resultant tensions, and the fascinating literary milieu Laurie Lisle encounters at writing retreats… It's great for fans of Vivian Gornick's Fierce Attachments, Rebecca Solnit's Recollections of My Nonexistence." BookLife




Born on a Wisconsin farm, O'Keeffe was a young Texas art teacher before her romance with the older photographer Alfred Stieglitz, a leader of the New York avant-garde. Over her long life, she created an astonishing visual vocabulary of large sensuous flowers, foreboding Manhattan skyscrapers, white animal skulls, and the red hills of her beloved New Mexico.


"Portrait of an Artist is a superb piece of work in every respect… Clearly, journalist Lisle has scooped the art world with an impressive literary debut." ~ James Idema, Smithsonian

This sculptor's life was remarkable for its intensity and commitment to her work. From her birth in Russia, her girlhood in Maine, to her years as an artist in Manhattan, her life was difficult and dramatic. After years of struggle her iconography, expressed in large black, white, and gold wood assemblages has made an indelible stamp on American art.

"Lisle's admiration and respect for Nevelson's long struggle and enchanted cabinets and walls are always evident, but she lets the evidence speak. [It]"is a levelheaded biography. It is neither hagiographic nor snide. It is not sensational, even though the life recorded here had its tabloid moments." ~ Michael Brenson, The New York Times Book Review



This book explores the childless woman’s relationship to mothers, to femininity, to men, to creativity, and to her body. Weaving a variety of rich materials from history, literature, religion, sociology, as well as the author's own story, it does what no other book as done before--presents those without children from the past and present in a positive light.


"This is not only an excellent book, but a true act of courage." ~ Stephanie Dickison, Canadian Women's Studies 

Part garden book and part memoir, this book touches upon issues in women's lives—love and loss, work and play, roots and restlessness, risk and refuge—as the author experienced them after becoming a gardener. Her long, narrow half-acre became the terra firma that enabled her to endure emotional storms while providing ongoing pleasure and a reason for optimism.


"Lisle's cogent meditations on the rewards of working the land and nurturing the soul are elegant, eloquent reminders of the importance of listening to the inner muse." ~ Booklist  



This girls' high school has evolved from a finishing school for the Protestant elite to a meritocracy for pupils of many religions and races. Founded by an idealistic minister's daughter in 1909, it was turned into a college preparatory school by her intellectual successor in the 1930s, and it was saved by a quiet headmaster in the turbulent 1970s.


"The story of Westover is an engagingly one charmingly told, and it gives a good overview of the shifting notions of what makes a well-educated woman throughout the twentieth century. \Well-researched and beautifully designed...pick it up if you're interested in the history of American education and possibly its future." ~ Catherine Nicotera, Feminist Review