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Experiencing Nita Penfold’s The Woman With The Wild-Grown Hair, I was both informed and transformed by her intelligence, humor and dark commentary on the inherited masks a woman has to don and shed on her road to self-becoming. In this intriguing offering Penfold gives us spiritual and psychological poetic profiles of the woman who is both many women and is wholly herself— sometimes wanton, sometimes wicked, and always wise. Penfold’s formidable poetry surprises like a paper-cut-finger you can’t help but place in your mouth though you know it will hurt more because of the salt on your tongue. Each of the 3rd person portraits give The Woman With The Wild-Grown Hair an intellectual almost art gallery-like aesthetic—but, make no mistake, there is no pretension here! Penfold’s The Woman With The Wild-Grown Hair is a book that is visceral, breathing, human, humane and fiercely, fiercely alive.
--Regie O’Hare Gibson
Poet, Literary Performer, Educator and Author
Read these poems from beginning to end like A Creation Story out of the Oral Tradition: a tall tale out of one contemporary American Feminist Poet‘s Pilgrim’s Progress. Here: the reader will find Emergence/ crazy dark humor/ exciting and dangerous blooms/ suffering on the way to change/ combat with delusion and decay/ the desire for singing and sex/the strength and strategies to go forward into play and purpose.
Nita Penfold (whom I have been reading since her student days at Lesley University ) asks and urges her readers to tell their own stories, sing their songs, and above all write the poems which name their life and times.
--Elizabeth Gordon McKim: Poet
Nita Penfold is the Woman With the Wild-Grown Hair. Inside of every hair is a beautiful word. Inside of every word is a poem made of Barbie Dolls and and roller coasters, all mixed with sorrow and regret and joy. If you want a book of poems so crisp they should be sold at a Farmer's Market these are the poems for you. Food for the heart!
--Tony Toledo, Storyteller, Speak Up Spoken Word Open Mic EMCEE Emeritus.
One of the army of Whitman’s democratic poets, a decorated veteran—this is Nita Penfold and her poetry. Chances are, if you’ve been following poetry over the last two decades, you’ve already encountered her fierce, funny, bone-deep honest verse. This book-length collection, boiled down to the essentials from over 300 published works, is a chronicle of the late 20th century life of America’s do-right, feisty, laboring sisters/mothers/daughters.
In what seems like innumerable anthologies from CRIES OF THE SPIRIT, to CATHOLIC GIRLS, to IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER I WOULD PICK MORE DAISIES, Nita’s unflinching, mischievous verse has soldiered up next to works by Lucille Clifton, Denise Levertov, Marge Piercy, Margaret Atwood, Sharon Olds and other modern luminaries. Here, in this collection, holding its own, testifying, singing of "poem-polyps," of the "toilet paper treatise," of "cockthunderers," it carries on, affirming the unheralded histories that are mostly un-HIS-toried. Her direct, powerful, delicious verse stands witness to "the anonymous survivors of daily battles, that never seem to win the war."
This collection, shot through with her bravery, inhabiting a known and contested world, filled with recognizable warriors, their practical dilemmas, and the unending struggle for grace, is a rare gift. Nita Penfold is a diamond of a poet and this is a gem of a collection.
—David Earle Williams, writer, director, editor author of "Superman Dreams"