The Breast

Marin Gazzaniga, Editor, Susan Thames, Editor, Heather Ramsdell, With
Marin Gazzaniga, Editor, Susan Thames, Editor, Heather Ramsdell, With Global City Press $14 (296p) ISBN 978-0-9641292-8-3
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In the introduction to this top-flight collection of breast-related fiction, essays and poetry, the editors note that the submissions they received touched on a much wider range of themes than they had initially envisioned, and a reader approaching these pages will have much the same experience. Even the writing on the most obvious topics (topless dancing, breast-feeding) comes couched in moving and original presentations. Marlene Miller's narrator observes her factory co-worker, who fears two things: her son's arrest and another fight with breast cancer. Karen de Balbian Verster's fluid, moving story about a woman's chemotherapy begins ``Every morning at nine o'clock I get my tits fried.'' Davi Walders's poem examines the various ways that women use their breasts, while Susan Eisenberg's poem about breastfeeding hints at the inconvenience women undergo. Gordon Johnston's short-short story tells of a construction worker yelling to a passing woman, only to have her pull out her prosthetic breast and throw it at him; while Barbara Ehrenreich's hilarious and biting essay congratulates the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive surgeons for recognizing small breasts as a disease and implants as the cure. There are also some formal documents, such as the text of the act granting women the right to breastfeed in public in New York State and tips on breast-implant removal. Not to be missed is the editors' postscript, a paragraph-long list of all the nicknames for breasts that they heard while working on this project. (Oct.)
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