Sister of Moses

By Elaine Galen
New York: Haybarn Press, 2001. Edition of 100.

8.5 x 11" hand-sewn and wrapped in Papel di Amati fig tree bark with Canson end leaves. Typography composed by Spring Salvin. Title page calligraphy drawn by Jerry Kelly. Frontispiece is full-color on Rives. Drawings were printed by Omega as lithography on Arches aquarelle. Text and drawings by Elaine Galen. Design by Ed Colker.

Told in simple, spare language and illustrated by wash-like gray lithographs, this rendering of Miriam's story foregrounds the general subordination of women in this Hebrew tribe, and of Miriam in particular.

The basic source is Exodus and Numbers. Miriam was the older sister of Aaron and Moses. It was she who placed the infant Moses in the river, and she who watched over him until the Pharaoh's daughter drew him from the water. Miriam baldly states: "It was I who saved the infant Moses….Yet only he was called / to receive the commandments at Mount Sinai." Galen's Miriam speaks out against the subordination of women "cut off from the sacred rites." She and Aaron spoke to God against Moses, who had married a Cushite: "For my outspoken ways / the Lord struck me with leprosy. For my questions, I was silenced." Moses interceded, but Miriam was "no longer permitted to speak for justice / or to lead my people."

This is the second in Galen's series devoted to the women of antiquity.
$80 ((Last 3 copies))