May 3, 2020
Hello. This is Jane.
“Judith Arcana’s remarkable feat in Hello. This is Jane. is to paint, tile by tile, a complex mosaic of compelling linked stories— children’s playgrounds and adult tattoo parlors, ill-advised lovers and underground abortion activists. In the mainstream and on the edges, you’ll feel the urgency of the struggle for reproductive justice as you turn these pages.” – Cindy Cooper, Founding Director of Words of Choice and The Reproductive Freedom Festival
Judith Arcana has taught and written about motherhood and reproductive justice for decades. The prose and poetry of Our Mothers’ Daughters, Every Mother’s Son, and What if your mother are feminist classics. The interlinked stories in this new collection, rooted in her experience as a Jane in Chicago’s pre-Roe v. Wade underground abortion service, were written as the United States has moved relentlessly into constraining motherhood and denying reproductive justice. By necessity, these stories reach from the past into the future, offering history and hope.
“I’m profoundly grateful to Judith Arcana for writing these vital, electrifying stories. With abortion rights in America being stripped away—state by state, clinic by clinic—we need to hear from those who’ve fought this battle before. Arcana is a Jane; her work in the pre-Roe abortion underground has provide the seeds for her fiction, stories rooted in essential history to spark action in our terrifying present.” – Leni Zumas, Author of Red Clocks
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Interwoven with the central theme of reproductive health and justice, tattoos & tattooing appear in these stories, another instance of choice about how we live in our bodies. Left Fork is thankful to Don Deaton of Sea Tramp Tattoo, Oregon’s longest-running tattoo shop, for the use of the cover rose design. (Temporary tattoos and stickers of the cover rose image will be available at Judith’s readings in support of the book.)
If you’d like to see and hear some thoughts on the book, direct from, author Judith Arcana, check out this tiny movie (made during a time when live book release events have been difficult/impossible to hold).
Also of note to readers may be the release date for the book: May 3 is the anniversary of Judith’s 1972 arrest as one of the “Abortion 7.” (If you’re interested in more of the true story of what happened that day, check out this article from Portland Monthly)
“In a witty and searching voice, Arcana writes of resistance and revolutionary compassion, past, present, and future. Here is fiction rooted in the actual history of the Chicago underground abortion service known as JANE, which operated in the days before a woman’s right to the procedure was legalized. Arcana herself was one of the young “Janes” providing abortions, and her tales of women helping women— the daring and secrecy, the risks and rewards— are essential reading, a warning and an inspiration for our time.” – Kate Manning, Author of My Notorious Life, a novel
“…just like at the movies, they’re ‘based on a true story’ – they were seeded by, and are rooted in, Jane work…”
Author Judith Arcana discusses the book at the
Words of Choice blog
(a public service of Repro Freedom Arts – Celebrating Reproductive Health, Rights, Freedom and Justice with Creativity, Words and Art)
“…Her text, therefore, becomes a voice not just to the history of a landmark movement, but also to those who still don’t have a voice and are denied reproductive justice…”
Review by Gokul Prabhu at the
Sundress Publications Blog
About the Author
Judith Arcana is a Jane, a member of Chicago’s pre-Roe underground abortion service. She writes poems, stories, essays and books, including a much-loved biography of Grace Paley (Grace Paley’s Life Stories) and several poetry collections: What if your mother, 4th Period English, The Parachute Jump Effect, Announcements from the Planetarium, and Here From Somewhere Else, which received the Editor’s Choice Chapbook Award from Turtle Island Quarterly. She hosts a poetry show on KBOO in Oregon and online. Born and raised in the Great Lakes region, Judith has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 1995. For more about, and examples of, her work, visit JudithArcana.com.