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A Termination

ISBN: 9798985976922
Publication Date: August 6, 2024
Pages: 112

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In 1969, Honor Moore was twenty-three, a theater student yearning for love and working for radical change, but studying administration and keeping secret, even from herself, her wish to imagine the world by becoming a poet. There was an older lover, a professor, and, with another man, an unwanted sexual encounter. That spring, she had an abortion.

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Available August 6, 2024

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Not my lover, not my parents, and they said I couldn't tell a friend. . .

In 1969, Honor Moore was twenty-three, a theater student yearning for love and working for radical change, but studying administration and keeping secret, even from herself, her wish to imagine the world by becoming a poet. There was an older lover, a professor, and, with another man, an unwanted sexual encounter. That spring, she had an abortion.

A Termination is the story of the young woman who made that decision, and of how that act of resistance, then shrouded in fear and silence, has reverberated throughout her life since. Angry, nostalgic, questioning, and romantic, the memoir pursues the associations of memory, moving from the New Haven of Yale Drama School, the Living Theatre and the Black Panthers; to the New York City of theater, jazz, and the Chelsea Hotel; the Berkshires of rock and roll at Tanglewood, and Chicago in the wake of the 1968 Democratic Convention.

Framing the story is a self-portrait of the author fifty-five years later, a woman with a sexual past, a poet who has made her own way. A lyric, searching memoir, A Termination asks what it means to write with full honesty about one's life—to explore who we were, and how our choices shape and allow who we become.

Honor Moore

is the author of seven books, including the memoirs The Bishop's Daughter and Our Revolution, a Mother and Daughter at Midcentury and three collections of poems. For the Library of America, she edited Poems from the Women's Movement and Women's Liberation: Feminist Writings that Inspired a Revolution and Still Can! She lives in New York City, where she teaches in the MFA program at the New School.

Praise

This book is a masterly account of what it meant, in the 1960s, to be a woman of spirit and intelligence plunged into the particular hell that is unwanted pregnancy. Both haunted and haunting, A Termination will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.


Vivian Gornick, author of Taking a Long Look

This book is a meditation, back and forth in time, on art, life, and what truly constitutes freedom of choice. How does a solo female make a destiny for herself instead of submitting to one? Moore uses feminism, lyricism, and the hard-won wisdom of aging. She turns the fraught political issue of abortion into a resonant echo chamber for each of our lives.


Margo Jefferson, author of Constructing a Nervous System

Fierce, riveting and true, A Termination is Honor Moore's memoir not only of her abortion (in the time before Roe v. Wade), but of the legacies of that choice. A lyric palimpsest of her years and various lives, real and imaginary, it forms a rich account of self-determination. We need this book now.


Claire Messud, author of This Strange Eventful History

Amid a glut of parenting memoirs, here is what might be called a non-parenting memoir: the work of a woman—herself one of nine children—who decided to pursue an artistic life without children. Terminating a pregnancy in a pre-Roe v. Wade America was a private decision that was full of political consequence, a painful but necessary act of self-assertion and self-invention that cleared the way for the career of one of our most essential feminist writers.


Benjamin Moser, author of Sontag: Her Life and Work

The author’s candid, prose poem-like explorations of the ghosts of relationships past and the complexities surrounding love and sex for women make for compelling reading. But what makes her work especially affecting is the quiet way it suggests the possible shape of things to come in a post-Roe v. Wade era. Haunting and lyrical.


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