Berkeley, 1972: a hotbed of creativity where painters, filmmakers, musicians, and writers inspire a young poet.

Second-wave feminism, inspired by Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, and Betty Friedan is swelling into a tsunami. Women are joining together to change power dynamics in politics, the home, and the workplace.

On election day, Joan Gelfand casts her vote for George McGovern and boards a plane from New York to California. With one introduction to a woman musician, Joan’s journey to become a writer is born. Embraced by a thriving women’s community of artists, filmmakers, musicians, poets, and writers, Joan is encouraged to find her voice.

Mentored by paradigm-changing writers, Joan finds the courage to face her darkest fears through poetry and art, mining the trauma she experienced after losing her father and questioning her Jewish identity. Reminiscent of Paris in the twenties, Greenwich Village in the sixties, and Berlin in the eighties, Berkeley in the seventies was the “it” city of America.

Outside Voices reports the ups and downs of finding one’s way as an artist, living with a women’s band, forging an independent Jewish identity, founding a women’s restaurant, and becoming a published writer and songwriter while exploring the limits of sexuality and spirituality. The story includes road trips to music festivals in the woods, beaches in Mexico, concerts in Southern California, and a retreat in the Pacific Northwest.

A triumphant story of determination and will, Outside Voices is a backstage look at the women’s movement that sets the stage for decades of change. This book is a firsthand look at how the power of community emboldened innovation, social change, and self-discovery.

About the author(s)

Author of three volumes of poetry and an award-winning chapbook of short fiction, Joan Gelfand was a finalist in the International Book Awards for her novel Extreme. You Can Be a Winning Writer: The 4 C’s System to Author Success: Craft, Commitment, Community & Confidence is an Amazon #1 bestseller.

The Ferlinghetti School of Poetics, a film based on Joan’s poem about Lawrence Ferlinghetti, was featured in over twenty international film festivals and won several awards. A beloved teacher and mentor, Joan is President Emeritus of the Women’s National Book Association and a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Joan holds a BA from San Francisco State University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College.

Joan’s work appears in over 150 lit mags, journals, and magazines including Huffington Post, LA Review of Books, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Levure Littéraire. For more information about her work, visit

Joan lives in San Francisco with her husband Adam Hertz.