Arktoi Books: Literature by lesbian authors

 The Alphabet

- Rita Mae Reese

   - Book Description
   - Author Bio
   - Book Excerpt
   - Author Interview
   - Facebook Page

For questions about the press or to obtain a review copy, contact Eloise Klein Healy at


Interview with Rita Mae Reese (pdf)
Author Photo Photo Credit: Shelley Eades (jpg)


• 2011, 80 pages, $17.95
• ISBN: 978-0-9800407-3-9
Buy Now from Red Hen

Distributed to the trade by:
Chicago Distribution Center
(800) 621-2736


About the Author

Photo: Shelley Eades

After changing majors every semester, Rita Mae Reese dropped out of college and went to work for a lesbian press. After working there for nearly seven years, a visiting author inspired her to go back to school full-time. She earned a BA in American Studies and an MA in Creative Writing at Florida State University and then an MFA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

While pursuing her MFA, she worked at the Dictionary of American Regional English and immersed herself in the online edition of the Oxford English Dictionary where she began to find poetry in etymology. She began writing many of the poems that eventually formed The Alphabet Conspiracy.

Rita Mae has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award, a Stegner fellowship, and a "Discovery"/The Nation award. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared or is forthcoming in journals and anthologies including The Normal School, Imaginative Writing, From Where You Dream, Blackbird, New England Review, The Southern Review, and The Nation.

She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her family.

On Arktoi

In my office, I have a poster from a 1970s women writers' conference that asks women where our Shakespeare is and the women reply, 'She was a lesbian and you burned her books.' At first it seemed to me like a bit of hyperbole, but then I thought of the fragments that survive of Sappho. Women's writing in general and lesbian writing in particular has always been in danger of erasure, or worse, of not being written at all. That's why Arktoi Books with its commitment to bringing lesbian writers into print and keeping them there is so important. They have the experience and skill to select, edit and design quality books and the means to put them in front of potential readers, both gay and straight. The quality that Arktoi is capable of is evidenced by Elizabeth Bradfield's debut collection Interpretive Work. I feel honored and excited to work with Eloise Klein Healy and to enter into the conversation of poetry alongside writers whose work I admire. :