Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Judith Arcana  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Non-Fiction Poetry

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1943 in Cleveland, Ohio

-- Website --
-- Judith Arcana on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Arcana lived in Illinois nearly forty years, mostly in Chicago (also in Champaign and Skokie). She has strong memories of the northwestern part of the state (especially the Mississippi Palisades and Pecatonica) and of pre-interstate highway travel, heading north to Wisconsin on Route 41. Her father was born and raised in Chicago and downstate, in the tri-state region by the river; her son, born in the same Chicago hospital as his grandfather, was also raised there. All of Judith's graduations were in Illinois: 8th grade from Sharp Corner School, high school from Niles Township HS-East (the original beautiful building), BA from Northwestern University, MA from Goddard College's Chicago outpost, Phd from Loyola University of Chicago (she also attended the University of Illinois and Depaul).

Biographical and Professional Information

Judith Arcana's biographical, professional information, can be found on her website as can information about her writing that appears in anthologies and journals. * [ Bio]* [ Writing]* [ Anthologies] * [ Journals]Along with the books listed below, she has also written the chapbook, ''Soon to be a Major Motion Picture'' and Zine ''Janebill: Keesha, Joanie and JANE.''

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Every mother's son
ISBN: 0931188393

Seal Press. 1986

Book by Arcana, Judith

Our Mothers' Daughters
ISBN: 0704338645

Womens Pr Ltd. 1993

Describes the "stormiest love affairs: the one all daughters have with their mothers..." Uses interviews to understand the various problems involved between the two.

Grace Paley's Life Stories: A Literary Biography
ISBN: 025206447X

University of Illinois Press. 1994

Is Faith Darwin Asbury really Grace Paley? Or is it coincidental that the personal history, politics, and relationships of the fictional Asbury seem to mirror those of the well-known author? And do other characters in Paley's stories represent individuals she has known, in scenes and entire episodes she has experienced? A writer who translates her life into art not only "saves" her own life, according to Paley, but offers others the revelation of its meaning. That idea is at the core of Judith Arcana's biographical reading of this strongly autobiographical writer. Grace Paley's Life Stories interweaves details about Paley with critical discussions of her works, examining her as a woman, mother, activist, and Jew. Arcana visited and interviewed Paley at her homes in Vermont and New York over a period of several years. She also interviewed Paley's family, friends, and colleagues. Such extensive research is unmatched in Paley scholarship Arcana's focus on the political crucible of Paley's consciousness is rare in contemporary literary criticism.

What If Your Mother
ISBN: 188734411X

Chicory Blue Press. 2005

Poetry. Judith Arcana, a reproductive rights activist formerly involved in Chicago's pre-Rose v. Wade underground abortion service, imbues her poetry, fiction and essays with the same ferocity, humor and passion that informs her activism. "It's a passionate rush of language, hope in a hard time, truth in the middle of lies. This poetry sparks and burns with the hidden language and stories of women"-Minnie Bruce Pratt.

4th Period English
ISBN: 0615281834

. 2009

She Said

Radix Media. 2011

Here From Somewhere Else
ISBN: 069258952X

Left Fork. 2015

Winner, 2015 Turtle Island Editor’s Choice Chapbook Award. According to Jennifer Richter, author of the poetry collections Threshold and No Acute Distress, "Here From Somewhere Else, Judith Arcana’s gorgeous new collection, has movement at its core. Many of these poems are fueled by questions—questions that generate a powerful urgency and contribute to the book’s compelling internal momentum. A curious voice and generous heart guide us through Arcana’s geographical and emotional landscapes I was delighted but not surprised that here, love gets the very last word."



Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

Judith's Speaking Engagements can be accessed under the "NEWS" section of her website homepage. She can be reached via email through the "CONTACT" button on her website.