When we agreed to put together an anthology of our work, we were 21 women poets with varying degrees of writing experience and publishing experience. Our common thread was the collective approach we had agreed on, over time, in our Loosely Identified writing workshops. We wanted to apply that shared sense of feminist collective thought and process to the making of our publication.
To that end, we agreed to organize ourselves into groups -- "clumps" for want of a fresh and descriptive term that was not restrictive. One clump focused on production issues, one on sales and marketing, one on distribution, one on editorial processes, and so on. We also divided into equal sized "clumps" for the mini-workshops we felt were needed to select and edit our work for the anthology. Each of those groups read and listened to each other's work, provided feedback, and finally came to agreement on which works of each poet would be included.
As the final work began to form, we realized that we had, through this shared focus, become so much more visible to one another, and even more than before we had become fine advocates of each other's work. We had remembered also to extend the circle to include all the various groups and individuals who had supported our work -- as a group and as individuals -- and listing these gratitudes in the acknowledgments section of the chapbook was a task with particular intent and care.
In 2004 the chapbook was published. We did poetry readings as individuals, small groups, and large groups throughout the community. We sold out. We republished. We sold out again.
Now, years later, and still working together in community, we provide some of the documents of our process in the hope it will spark another group of writers. The documents and images are available here.
A more complete set of our archives can be found at the State Historical Society Research Center-St. Louis (formerly the Western Historical Manuscript Collection), located at the Thomas Jefferson Library, University of Missouri-St. Louis.