In the letter I received to announce that my book, Ina Coolbrith: The Bittersweet Song of California's First Poet Laureate, won a bronze medal from the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) in the biography category, the Jenkins Group noted how this year's medalists "reveal the importance of women in our industry, with a strong showing of female authors and publishers throughout the contest."
I would add that with so many female authors there is a greater tendency to highlight women as subjects, and that is equally as important. The tagline for the National Women's History Project is "writing women back into history," a directive that matches the spirit of my reason for writing a biography about Ina Coolbrith. Coolbrith lived an epic life and was California's most beloved poet for fifty years, and yet who today remembers her name or her story? More importantly, what young girl who is interested in literature knows that California's first poet laureate was a woman who first published at age fifteen?
|Coolbrith in Mario Chiodo's sculpture, Champions for Humanity|
A woman's point of view is important. Her experience is unique, and her stories are ones that I want to hear. When Ina Coolbrith accepted the laurel crown as California's first poet laureate in 1915 she accepted it on behalf of her "sister women." I'm thrilled to be a medalist along with my sister women for the 20th Annual IPPY Awards, in what the Jenkins Group is calling "The Year of the Woman."