A Memior of the Berkeley Revolution


Outside Voices: Election Day 1972. I arrived in Berkeley, an inaugural issue of Ms tucked into my backpack, my first vote cast for George McGovern and settled into an apartment on Telegraph and Durant. That night, in the middle of a rainstorm, I joined the protest against Nixon’s re-election on Sproul Plaza. My adventure in The Berkeley Revolution begun! Within two years, I was living with members of the Berkeley Women’s Music Collective, becoming a published poet, was Poetry Editor for Plexus and was a part of the collective that opened “Loaves and Dishes” with Suze Orman, Nancy Henderson, Jake Lampert, Debbie Lempke and Nancy Vogl …..For the next years I was enmeshed in the second wave feminism as we Berkeleyites interpreted it. The women’s movement was exploding: Women’s presses, women’s theaters, women’s restaurants, women’s music label and more were flourishing. Think Paris in the 20’s, Greenwich Village in the 60’s. We were the center of the feminist universe….


"A vivid portrait of 1970s Berkeley and San Francisco, Outside Voices charts a young woman ascent in a world as thrilling as it was volatile. A true gem of a memoir."

Jasmin Darznik, New York Times-bestselling author of The Bohemians

"Outside Voices is a mesmerizing, lyrical account of the heady days of the women’s movement in Berkeley in the 1970s. It’s a blast to follow Joan Gelfand, newly arrived from New York and still reeling from the untimely death of her father, as she visits communes, cooks vegetarian food, listens to musicians in coffee shops, and poses nude for a painter who seduces her - just one of many wild experiences during the days of sex, drugs and rock and roll. The heart of the book, however, is Gelfand’s search for her poet’s voice, something she discovers through the embrace of the women's community around her."

Frances Dinklespiel, Author of Tangled Vines and Towers of Gold

"Joan Gelfand documents her thrilling coming-of-age ride through one of America’s most explosive and exciting moments of history. The book travels between the trauma of her traditional Jewish immigrant New York City childhood to the daring experiments of Berkeley, California in the 1970s. It’s not San Francisco’s Summer of Love, it’s the whirling aftermath. Gelfand’s prose buzzes with the beats and pulses of a young woman finding and coming to terms with herself and her past as a poet amidst a vibrant community of musicians, anti-war and women’s rights activists, and queers. It is a brave and joyous read, a timely reminder of how fragile free speech, democracy, the arts, and deliberate acts of love remain. Timely, delicious, and deeply honest, it reminds us how urgent the women’s movement and Berkeley’s imprint are in current-day conversations about democracy."

—Elizabeth Block,Christopher Isherwood Foundation Award-Winning fiction writer, poet, and

“Joan Gelfand has written a compelling book about coming of age in Berkeley in the second wave of feminism circa 1970s. Her depth of discovering herself and her world is intense and reveals all the passion and confusion of a sensitive soul grasping at life through politics, sex, and the long road to becoming a writer.”

Geri Spieler, Author of Housewife Assassin: The Woman Who Tried to Kill Gerald Ford, a Bookfest award winner

"Grieving the death of her father, trying to find herself as a poet, Gelfand takes the reader on a nostalgic through-the-looking- glass tour of the radical people and wild places in Berkeley that informed her career as a critic, teacher, and writer. “[I]n Berkeley,” the poet enthuses, “spring is stretched out like a delicious piece of saltwater taffy, all sweetness and joy. Joan Gelfand’s memoir, Outside Voices, is a trip down Memory Lane for anyone who lived in Berkeley in the mid-sixties through mid-seventies, at the dawn of the Women’s Movement, told from the as-yet-unexplored point of view of a young Jewish Lesbian from New York."

Barbara Quick, Author of “What Disappears,” “Vivaldi’s Virgins”

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