Who We Are
Eloise Bruce, Juditha Dowd, Lois Marie Harrod, Betty Lies, Joyce Lott, Judy Michaels, Sharon Olson, Penelope Scambly Schott, Maxine Susman, Gretna Wilkinson.
Cool Women, a poetry critique group founded in 1997 by Carolyn Foote Edelmann and Betty Lies, has been performing since Valentine’s Day, 2000. Known for their sassy poetry readings from Princeton, New Jersey, to Portland, Oregon, they have been called “bold, insightful and provocative” as well as “zesty, protean and prodigious.” Terry Blackhawk writes “the weaving of poetic voices is remarkable, raising a single luminous canopy” above its separate authors. Although each poet has her own strong voice, Cool Women think of themselves as a group in which the communal enriches the individual.
Dear Cool Women – you have no idea how happy I was to stumble across your website! I, too, am a member of a critique group of women. We are four friends and have been meeting for over 10 years at biannual retreats at a member’s family farm in Chestertown, MD. From that has come a collaborative, prize-winning, poetry book, Walking the Sunken Boards, and now we are editors of our online poetry journal that features the work of women over 50. quartetjournal.com. (which would be a fit, I think for your members.) But my reason for contacting you relates to how you do readings all across the country. In an attempt to spread the word for both the book and the journal, we would like to do more of that. Keeping in mind the limitations Covid has forced on us for now, do you feel up to giving us some advice for the future on how you’ve managed to do this so successfully? I look forward to hearing from you and am simply delighted to find that there is another group of women poets supporting the art, publishing, and enjoying the process.
Hello Linda Blaskey,
I’m sorry that we took so long to answer your questions. I think the easiest thing to say is that the group is really centered in the Princeton, NJ, area, so all of our contacts, publicity, really are focused there. When we say we read in Oregon, for example, that is because one of our members, Penelope, who used to live in NJ, moved to Oregon, so occasionally we have jetted out there to be with her, and she arranges readings there for us. We are just about to put out a new anthology, which I need to put up on the website, it is coming out in October. So Penelope will come from Oregon, and I will take the train up to Princeton, for several readings we are doing over a weekend. So we don’t have too many unusual ways to publicize. One thing I do for them is send out a MailChimp email to over 100 local writers that we know, that helps a bit! I’m going to read again about your group, as my husband and I moved to Annapolis last year, so I am not so far away from you. I realize you are in Delaware, but also get together in Chestertown, which is one of the loveliest places on earth! Hope this helps a bit.