"Before writing Sisters and Courtesans, it occurred to me that, until Anne Bradstreet, the only women writing poetry were outside of society in some way—some royals, but mainly cloistered women and women of easy virtue. Everyone else was busy having babies and raising chickens. I felt it would be interesting to explore women's lives throughout history using that lens and the sonnet as a form, and to attempt to see what else such women might have in common."
Read the Sisters & Courtesans Self-Interview.
Sisters & Courtesans
Published by White Violet Press, May 20 2014, $14.00
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Anna M. Evans has been called one of the best contemporary female sonnet writers, and is often compared to Edna St. Vincent Millay.
"Anna M. Evans does not redress centuries of anonymity in Sisters and Courtesans. Instead, she presents lively, imagined lives." ~ Patricia Contino, New Pages. Read full review
"In her book Sisters & Courtesans, Anna M. Evans marries the concept of a common humanity for sex workers to the dramatic monologue, metonymy, and for the most part, the sonnet....Evans's eminently speakable, nearly metaphor-free portraits capture the subject's response to the sex-defined role she is given" ~ Judy Swann, Portage Magazine. Read full review"
"The meter is sure but also rhythmically various and witty, the diction of the speakers' voices is beautifully modulated between high and low, aspiring and despairing, self-consciously educated and aggressively colloquial; the poems make serious points lightly and memorably, often with telling wit. Sisters and Courtesans is a really fine achievement by a poet with a droll, clever, interesting and—for all the witty deflationary hi-jinx, I sense fundamentally serious—mind. Her book is a delight and an education." ~ Dick Davis
"If sonnet means "little song," what Anna Evans has crafted here is a sassy selection of female singers, a spirited chorus that takes the figures of different women throughout history, giving life to their stories with frank audacity and lively craft. This book is full of surprise after delightful surprise, deft rhymes and scandalous turns. This is a book to pass from sister to sister, from woman to woman, from friend to friend. But don't worry, fellows, you too will be equally charmed and delighted by this poet who has all the necessary lines and lives to make the sonnet sing with voices you never will think of again in quite the same way." ~ Allison Joseph
"Historical poetry often makes me shudder, being either narrowly polemical or a means of piggybacking on someone else's life when one's own creativity is wanting. Anna M. Evans's Sisters and Courtesans, in its sweep from the well-documented to the at least semi-mythical, from the (relatively) privileged to the humble, anonymous camp followers and drawers-of-water, is, by contrast, a work of generous and expansive imagination. It neither denies suffering nor wallows in it, and Evans is far too clever to let the demands of a unified sequence of sonnets obscure the specificity of the individuals she portrays. This is a poet who should have had a first book years ago. It's good to see White Violet Press remedy that deficiency." ~ Quincy R. Lehr
"A brilliant concept, beautifully executed." ~ Rose Kelleher