Ursula Le Guin for International Women’s Day
This is a copy of a post form my 2018 A-Z of Extraordinary Women, in celebration of JanDean, whose poem this is, and who is retiring this year.
Ursula Le Guin image by Gorthian, by CC Licence.
This special entry is again by one of my fellow authors of my new book Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls – the wonderful and talented Jan Dean! The Wizard of Earthsea was one of my favourite books.
Ursula Kroeber Le Guin was born in 1929 in Berkeley, and lives in Portland, Oregon. As of 2015, she has published twenty-one novels, eleven volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry and four of translation, and has received many honours and awards including Hugo, Nebula, National Book Award, PEN-Malamud, and the National Book Foundation Medal. In 2003 she was made a Grandmaster of Science Fiction, one of only a handful of women writers to take the top honour in a genre that has come to be dominated by male writers.
This poem springs from UKL’s ideas in her book ‘The Wave In the Mind’. Its title refers to her famous children’s trilogy ‘A Wizard of Earthsea’ where magic works through the power of understanding the real names of things and speaking them purposefully.
she makes worlds
from words and mindspit
knows that what she speaks
first rises in the soft machinery
of brain cells
flows through rivers of nerves
to become clicks sighs of speech
understands the science of sound
the bash of air molecules
thumping against an eardrum
the pulse of eardrum
flicking noise back up
into another brain
which reads those quick electric ticks
all that stuff – the way sound moves
the way it is one thing
that joins the speaker to the listener –
she knows that
and so she makes worlds
with words and the sudden explosions
of ideas in her head
(let’s call it mindspit)
she does it because it matters
that we join together
it matters that together we imagine
how things could be
if we were kinder
if we were more human
more like family ought to be
© Jan Dean
Ursula Le Guin is extraordinary. So is Jan Dean.
If you’d like to read about more extraordinary women, why not buy the book Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls, by me, Jan Dean and Michaela Morgan – link below, press on book!
- Posted in: Animal Magic - the book