Sleeping with One Eye Open
Women Writers and the Art of Survival

Edited by Marilyn Kallet and Judith Ortiz Cofer

Women writers offer inspiration and advice about artistic and personal survival


"A terrific collection of essays that women writers should buy. This is a book of our time. . . . An excellent tool for our turn-of-the-century writing toolbox."
—Frances Payne Adler

"What I find particulary satisfying about Sleeping With One Eye Open is the way the different women's voices and dialects and souls sing together in a powerful symphony of language. This anthology should be read by both women beginning to write as well as by those who are more established and want to feel connected to a larger community."
—Sue William Silverman, author of Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You, winner of AWP Award for Creative Nonfiction

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How do women writers cope with changes and juggle the demands in their already full lives to make time for their lives as artists? In this anthology, noted female novelists, journalists, essayists, poets, and nonfiction writers address the old and new challenges of "doing it all" that face women writers as the twenty-first century approaches. With eloquence, sensitivity, and more than a touch of wry humor, Sleeping with One Eye Open relates positive stories from women who lead effective lives as artists, emphasizing how sources of inspiration, discipline, resourcefulness, and determination help them succeed despite the obstacle of "no time."

The title essay, Judith Ortiz Cofer's "The Woman Who Slept with One Eye Open," defines the collection. Cofer relates the ways in which a mythological story from her Puerto Rican culture gave her confidence and courage, encouraging her creative success and emphasizing the rewards of "women's power" and personal strength. Denise Levertov's "The Vital Necessity" urges poets to make time for daydreams—essential, empowering creative food. Tillie Olsen offers a frank discussion of the pressures of work and expectations that too often sap creative energy. Tess Gallagher connects her mother's creative gardening with her own inspiration as a poet and the need for growth in her writing. Marilyn Kallet's interview with Lucille Clifton relates the personal strength that helped Clifton raise six children and publish her first book at the same time. This affirming collection offers a wealth of writing advice, given through honest accounts of perseverance and accomplishment.

Page count: 248 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $26.95

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Marilyn Kallet is a professor of English and director of the creative writing program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is the author of eight books, including How to Get Heat without Fire, and coeditor of Worlds in Our Words: Contemporary American Women WritersJudith Ortiz Cofer (1952–2016) was the Regents’ and Franklin Professor of English and  Creative Writing Emerita at the University of Georgia. She is also the  author of The Latin Deli: Telling the Lives of Barrio WomenAn Island Like You: Stories of the BarrioWoman in Front of the Sun: On Becoming a Writer; and many other books. The University of Georgia Press published her first novel, The Line of the Sun, in 1989.