The book emphasizes the therapeutic value of narrative disclosure and its ability to yield a deeper understanding of the impact of childhood trauma and adversity on women writers, and how their creative response shaped modern culture. As such, it contextualizes trauma as lived experience for each writer, along with current research on early loss and mourning, childhood abuse, and family systems theory, in order to appreciate more fully how writing as ritual may help transform mental and emotional debility.
This reader—which provides a representative sample of the poetry, prose, fiction, and experimental autobiographical writing that Anzaldúa produced during her thirty-year career—demonstrates the breadth and philosophical depth of her work. While the reader contains much of Anzaldúa’s published writing (including several pieces now out of print), more than half the material has never before been published. This newly available work offers fresh insights into crucial aspects of Anzaldúa’s life and career, including her upbringing, education, teaching experiences, writing practice and aesthetics, lifelong health struggles, and interest in visual art, as well as her theories of disability, multiculturalism, pedagogy, and spiritual activism. The pieces are arranged chronologically; each one is preceded by a brief introduction. The collection includes a glossary of Anzaldúa’s key terms and concepts, a timeline of her life, primary and secondary bibliographies, and a detailed index.