Reviews for: 
It Happens As We Speak: A Feminist Poetics

Review by Moira Richards,  January 2009

It Happens As We Speak is a book I will return to again and again. Its opening line reads, “Adrienne Rich offers me a piece of chocolate from the Hershey bar she has just unwrapped” and immediately, I feel transported to a chair at the kitchen table of the feminist literary tradition. Well, perhaps to just a stool in an unnoticed corner of that busy, busy kitchen where I sit spellbound, page after page...

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Review by Julie R. Enszer --CALYX: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women, Volume 24 Number 2, Winter 2008

Feminist poets, writing in the ars poetica tradition, have to establish and assert new space when they engage. Pat Falk does that in It Happens As We Speak: A Feminist Poetics.

It Happens As We Speak is a pastiche of journal entries, essays, discursive prose and verse. The timeframe extends over forty years of Falk’s life as a poet and a student of poetry. The book provides an intimate portrait of the emergence of a feminist poet and scholar of feminist poetry during a significant era in feminist poetry and scholarship. Falk uses this juxtaposition to great effect through the book. ...

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Review By Helane Levine-Keating --The American Book Review, Spring 2007

Reading Pat Falk’s engaging nonlinear memoir, It Happens As We Speak: A Feminist Poetics, is a reminder that the personal is still political, though the phrase may now feel dated for those who lived through the early days of the Second Wave of the Women’s Movement. While moving both backward into the fifties to reveal the privileged yet unhappy suburban world from which she sprang and forward into the twenty-first century to the violent present she inhabits, Falk writes from the perspective of one whose work has been largely defined by the seventies and eighties...

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Review By George Held --Book/Mark, Spring 2007

Born in 1950, Pat Falk has produced a short and pithy book that reveals how her life reflects her generation’s coming-of-age coeval with the rise of contemporary feminism. It draws on the realms of autobiography, poetry, literary criticism, psychology, and philosophy, among others. And it exists as a probe and a guide for readers, especially women, who wish to understand themselves against the background of feminist studies, from the Sixties through the present.

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Review By Elaine Preston --March 2007

Pat Falk’s It Happens As We Speak , a collage of research, journal entries, and poetry, will resonate with those who have journeyed into deep ocean to find subtexts of personality and creativity. Passages from scholars, writers, and mentors are thematically on point, yet aesthetically pleasing. Rich swatches of imagery color the pages, the most powerful using water as a framing device and catalyst for change.

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Review By Maxwell Coyden Wheat, Jr., --Paumanok Poets' News Bulletin,
October 2006

If Prof. Falk’s book sounds like an academically textual thesis about the technical side of poetry – well, it is partly that. But there are anecdotal accounts of relationships; a tough marriage, pregnancy and a teacher telling her not to use the word, “feminist” which lead her to “speak” as she does in the book.

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Review By Ian Wilder --Long Island Pulse, March 2006

Amityville resident Pat Falk’s, It Happens As We Speak: A Feminist Poetics (Plain View Press) is easier to read than to describe. It is a mixture of non-linear biography, poetry, literary criticism and symbiotics to explore what it means for women to express themselves. This combination is not surprising since Falk is a professor of women’s studies, literature and writing at Nassau Community College.

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Review by Daniela Gioseffi -- February 2006

It Happens As We Speak: A Feminist Poetics is written in an interestingly hybrid form. It’s a non-sequential memoir imbued with a literary journey in search of spiritual meaning. Narratives in the form of a journal that skips around in time of the author’s life story are fit into an analytical approach to literature. Composed of personal memories of childhood and womanhood, Falk’s feminist approach takes her through a coming of age story, laced with the experience of reading literature that defines her journey and augments it with metaphorical understanding.

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Review by Pramila Venkateswaran

I read the book in one sitting, I was so moved by it. Pat Falk has managed to show the interweaving of her life as a mother, wife, daughter, writer, teacher--each role bringing her closer to an understanding of poetry. Images of Falk’s life recur in different circumstances and find their way on the page. There are parallel discoveries happening—on one hand her personal life and the growing knowledge of what it means to be a woman in the family and the world, and on the other, the world of academia and poetry where she goes through the process of realizing she’s been left out—and finding her way back.

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