Women of Substance
Poems About Women That Inspire and Admire

Erline Dessie Goodell teaches women’s studies in Santa Barbara, California, and over the years has met and noticed women from all walks of life. She’s noticed the dignity and honor with which they live their lives and do their work, and for the past five years Goodell has written and collected the poems that now appear in Seeking Substance—Poems About Ordinary and Extraordinary Women.
n the introduction to Seeking Substance Goodell writes about her intention and motivation for this new collection of poems, her third book of poetry with Fithian Press. She wants to pay tribute to all women who every day do their jobs with personal integrity, energy, and pride. Some of these women realize the larger roles they play in society and some don’t, but Goodell admires them equally.

Here are poems about women in traditional roles—housekeeper, checker, nurse, kitchen worker—and women in unexpected jobs—auto mechanic, taxi driver, street dancer, chef—but each is delicately scrutinized and respected, elevated to her rightful place by the poem dedicated to her.

There is also a poignant section titled “Death and Other Endings,” which covers a wide range of ends—physical, emotional, spiritual, mental—each with its own story. Though these poems are sad in nature, they each are elevated by verse. Some of the poems here are euphoric, some relieved, others triumphant, some content, but all are given due respect and reveal a woman’s life well lived.

Erline Dessie Goodell is an instructor in the Adult Education division of Santa Barbara City College, teaching Religious Studies and Women’s Studies. She is cofounder and past director of MidLife Zest, Inc., and facilitator of workshops in women’s spirituality. She is the author of Journey Toward Bold and Gossamer Ribbons, both published by Fithian Press. She lives and writes in Santa Barbara, California.

Seeking Substance
Poems About Ordinary and Extraordinary Women
Erline Dessie Goodell
ISBN 1-56474-430-2
80 pages, paperback, $9.95
Publication Date: February 2004

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