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Conversation Pieces

Vol. 30 — The Bone Spindle, 2nd ed

by Anne Sheldon

$12 $10.00 (paperback)
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Read a sample from the book.

Anne Sheldon's heroines have lowered eyes and seditious smiles. They are people of folklore and fairy tales: Penelope, the Crane Maiden, the Fates. Her heroes are outsiders in their own stories—Rumplestiltskin and Arachne's father.

These fourteen story-poems and stories focus on the work that women do with spinning wheel, spindle, and knitting needles. They are accompanied by evocative images of these instruments and the cloth they yield

In addition to reworking well-known fairy tales, she has several shining tales of her own making. Under the fluid sign of danger and domesticity—Anne Sheldon explores earthly and ethereal regions of the feminine.


"Anne Sheldon's The Bone Spindle collects fourteen short pieces, mostly poetry, on the subject of women and the cloth-making arts: spinning, weaving, and knitting. Each piece responds to a story—usually a fairy tale, though Sheldon also engages with Dickens, a history of textiles, and an overheard story from the University of Chicago. The result is a book whose form expresses its content: it feels woven, with various story-threads combined into whole cloth. Through her focus on the art of weaving, Sheldon comments on the intricate art of storytelling. The Bone Spindle performs the etymological connection between textile and text....The Bone Spindle includes images as well as words: the illustrations are based on photographs of looms, spinning wheels, yarn and hands busy with knitting or embroidery. They complement the written words and add another thread to Sheldon's tapestry of old, new and reinterpreted stories. This collection would make a beautiful gift for a knitter or weaver, but it's also a storyteller's book, so full of voices that it seems to beg to be read aloud."
—Sofia Samatar, Strange Horizons, February 2012

ISBN: 978-1-933500-91-1 (13 digit)
Publication Date: Nov 2011
paperback 84 pages