Nebraska Center for Writers

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About Judith Sornberger

ALL MY GRANDMOTHERS COULD SING
OPEN HEART



All My Grandmothers Could Sing
Copyright © 1984
by Judith Sornberger
Free Rein P

Judith Sornberger, who teaches English at the University of Nebraska — Lincoln, is a lover of poetry. As she read the writings of Nebraska poets, she became deeply impressed by the number of talented women poets in the state. Wanting to make their works more accessible, Sornberger solicited poems from poets throughout the state and also selected some of her personal favorites that had appeared in poetry magazines. The result is an anthology of poetry by twenty-six Nebraska women poets. While the poems have many different settings, when locales such as Kearney, Alma, Milligan, and others catch the reader's eye, it does not take long to realize that this is a collection of Nebraksa poets. It is also interesting to note the number of poems that use a mother or grandmother as an image or theme. This makes the volume all the more entertaining to the reader, who can compare how different poets treat similar themes. Judith Sornberger is to be commended for making available in one book the writings of so many excellent poets. 3 James Gulick, Nebraska Library Association Quarterly, Summer 1984


Open Heart
Copyright © 1993
by Judith Mickel Sornberger
Calyx Books

This collection, which takes its title from a poem about surgery undergone by the author's grandmother, deals largely with relationships within a close-knit Nebraska plains family, especially among its women. "Visiting Our Nation's Capitol" brings together the nurturing aspects of motherhood and the mothering of our nation and planet; images of hands — those of madonnas, of mothers and daughters, of congressmen — persist throughout this fine, sensitive poem, which closes by asking us to "control the careless flailing/ of our arms, to use the hands of mothers/ when our hands touch anything." At her best, Sornberger uses words with fine sensitivity. ... this warmly loving book is hard to put down and hard to forget. Sornberger is a poet to watch. — Library Journal

Judith Sornberger's marvelous first collection, Open Heart, is ... an extended examination of female experience, particularly as it is informed by the details of daily existence. ... Whatever her topic, Sornberger rubs hard against the grain of it, questioning, asserting, reinterpreting in a voice that is always clear, accessible and distilled. ... {This is} wise, compassionate and beautifully articulated work. — Women's Review of Books


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