cover image Long Walks and Intimate Talks: Stories, Poems and Paintings

Long Walks and Intimate Talks: Stories, Poems and Paintings

Grace Paley. Feminist Press, $12.95 (80pp) ISBN 978-1-55861-044-6

With the hope that their work will, ``by its happiness and sadness, demonstrate against militarists, racists, earth poisoners, and women haters,'' Paley ( Later the Same Day ) and Williams ( A Chair for My Mother ) have created a book that speaks of the injustices of a world spinning out of control. Paley's poems and prose pieces tell of her crusades against the draft during the Vietnam War, against a nuclear power plant in Seabrook, N.H., and against our patriarchal goverment's ``deep proprietary interest'' in ``the womb, the cervix, the belly, the vagina, the entire female body.'' The prose pieces can hardly be called stories. Some are vignettes of Paley's experiences at various protest rallies; others are conversations between opposing political mouthpieces. As impressive as Paley's lifelong devotion to social causes is, the reader still desires more in the way of enlivening characters and wordplay. The poems, particularly those depicting the tragedy of the Mothers of the Disappeared in Latin America, have an aching, bittersweet quality, yet their themes are underdeveloped. Williams's bright and cheery paintings, of the type found in a children's book, seem strangely out of place in such a serious milieu. (Aug.)