Elana Dykewomon

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Elana Dykewomon
Born (1949-10-11) 11 October 1949 (age 67)
Nationality American
Occupation Author, professor, activist
Employer San Francisco State University
Known for Lesbian feminist activism

Elana Dykewomon (born Elana Nachman, October 11, 1949) is a Jewish lesbian activist, award-winning author, editor and teacher.


Dykewomon was born in New York City, to middle class Jewish parents. She and her family moved to Puerto Rico when she was eight.[1]


She studied fine art at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, received a B.F.A. in creative writing from the California Institute of Arts, later and her M.F.A. from San Francisco State University.


Dykewomon lives in Oakland, California and taught at her alma mater San Francisco State.[2]


In 1974, Dykewomon published her first novel, Riverfinger Women, under her name of birth, Elana Nachman.[3]

Her second book, They Will Know Me By My Teeth, released in 1976, was published under the name Elana Dykewoman, "at once an expression of her strong commitment to the lesbian community and a way to keep herself 'honest,' since anyone reading the book would know the author was a lesbian."[3]

The book of poetry, Fragments From Lesbos printed in 1981 "for lesbians only," was published under the author's current last name, "Dykewomon," in order "to avoid etymological connection with men."[3]

In the 1989 anthology of writing by Jewish Women, The Tribe of Dina, Dykewomon describes herself as "a Lesbian Separatist, descendant of the Baal Shem Tov, typesetter, ...poet"[4]


From 1987–1995, Dykewomon edited Sinister Wisdom, an international lesbian feminist journal of literature, art and politics, as well as contributing regularly to several other lesbian periodicals, including Common Lives/Lesbian Lives. She has also been a regular contributor to Bridges a magazine of writing by Jewish Women.


Selected publications[edit]


  • Riverfinger Women: a novel (under Elana Nachman). Daughters, Inc., 1974
  • They Will Know Me By My Teeth, short stories and poetry Megaera Press, 1976.
  • Fragments from Lesbos: poetry Diaspora Distribution, 1981
  • Nothing Will Be As Sweet As The Taste, selected poems Onlywomen Press, 1995
  • Beyond the Pale Press Gang Publishers, 1997
  • Moon Creek Road Spinster's ink books, 2003
  • "Risk" Bywater Books 2009[2]


  • The Body Politic — Meditations on Identity in This Bridge We Call Home – Radical Visions for Transformation, edited by Gloria Anzaldúa and Analouise Keating, Routledge, 2002.
  • Manna from Heaven - from The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women's Anthology, Beacon Press, 1989, ISBN 0-8070-3605-6
  • The Fourth Daughter’s Four Hundred Questions, Nice Jewish Girls: A Lesbian Anthology. Boston: Beacon, 1989.
  • Various Poetry, in What I Want From You – Voices of East Bay Lesbian Poets, edited: Linda Zeiser and Trena Machado, Raw Art Press, 2006
  • Seeking Welcome, in Love, Castro Street, edited: Katherine V. Forrest and Jim Van Buskirk, Alyson Press, 2007
  • Traveling Fat, Out the Other Side — Contemporary Lesbian Writing, Virago Press, London, England, 1989.


  • My Mother and the Wars in Bridges – A Journal for Jewish Feminists and Our Friends edited by Clare Kinberg, Vol. 9, No. 2, Eugene, Oregon, 2002
  • Changing the World in Journal of Lesbian Studies, Volume 5, Number 3, edited by Nanette Gartrell, M.D. and Ester Rothblum, PhD, Harrington Park Press, December, 2001
  • Are We Ready to Throw Our Weight Around? – Fat Women and Political Activism, (co-authored with Esther Rothblum) in The Fat Studies Reader, edited: Esther Rothblum and Sondra Solovay, University of California Press, 2007
  • Lesbian Quarters: On Building Space, Identity, Institutional Memory and Resources, Journal of Lesbian Studies (Vol. 9, Numbers 1 & 2, 2005)
  • Butch resisting the pressure to change gender, Sojourner, Boston, April 2000.


  1. ^ Gabriele Griffin, Who's Who in Lesbian and Gay and Writing, Routledge, London, 2002
  2. ^ a b http://museumca.org/theoaklandstandard/elana-dykewomon-oral-history
  3. ^ a b c Livia, Anna (2002), "Dykewomon, Elana", glbtq.com, retrieved 2007-08-27 .
  4. ^ Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz, Irena Klepfisz. The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women's Anthology, Beacon Press, 1989, ISBN 0-8070-3605-6