Author: Theresa C. Dintino

Cathy Park Hong (Korean American b.1976): Writing the Language of Change

Cathy Park Hong’s poetry is powerfully unique. In a reading I watched on YouTube, part of The Loft Mentor Series filmed in Minneapolis in 2014, Hong says that she likes to make up worlds and even languages. Her books are often stories of characters who inhabit these worlds with their own language. Her poems beg to be read or spoken aloud. Alive, they jump up off the page. For some it may be an adjustment to adapt to this form: the different language and alternate worlds. As a reader, this was a shift for me. I found I needed...

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Vera (Atkins) Rosenberg: A Romanian Jewish Woman Spy Who Fought the Nazis with Everything She Had (1908-2000)

I was unaware that women were sent behind enemy lines by the Allied powers as spies and “guerrilla” fighters in WWII. But they were. Thirty-nine out of the 400 agents who were sent to German occupied France by Britain in preparation for the D-Day invasion, were women. All 400 were sent there by a woman named Vera Atkins who worked under Lieut.-Col. Maurice Buckmaster.  In 1941 Atkins was recruited by the London office of Britain’s newest secret service: The Special Operations Executive or SOE. “SOE was to develop a secret war: building up, organizing, and arming a resistance army...

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Marie Curie: The Quest to Know, Polish/French (1867-1934)

“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.” ~Marie Curie Marie Curie discovered radioactivity. This is a simplified and reductionist sentence but still, you should have that association in your mind with this woman because her work is that important. Though many focus on the love affair between her and her husband and sometimes, the more illicit love affair with a married man later in life as a widow, the real love affair was between her and the elements she isolated—polonium and radium—and the mysterious glowing substances they produced. I think probably what she was really in...

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Holding Space for the Past and the Future: Velma Wallis and the Stories of the Gwich’in People of Alaska

Velma Wallis’ books take the reader directly and swiftly into another world, a land of ice and snow, of cold, a world of her people, the Gwich’in, and her ancestors. A world of humans enduring and living their lives north of the Arctic Circle in Alaska and the trauma they endured and survived as their land was taken from them and their ways eroded away.  Her books are a gift in that they preserve the old stories and also bear witness to what has happened to her people in more recent times.  Velma Wallis was born in 1960, in...

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Writing at its Best: The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

This book was recommended to me by Amazon. That’s right. It popped up on my kindle as, “you may be interested in,” while purchasing a different book. I found the title compelling so I clicked, then I found the description of the book interesting, so I purchased. I was not disappointed. It has been a long time since I read a collection of short stories I could not put down and wanted to read all over again once I’d finished. Philyaw’s writing is downright addictive.  Philyaw’s voice is powerful and assertive, strong and confident, and also, a bit mischievous,...

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Kamala Harris: A Nasty Woman in the White House

What I love the most about Kamala Harris is how much other women love her. When she was first nominated for vice president on the presidential ticket of Joe Biden, I watched Rachel Maddow interview other women, many of them in positions of power and politics, about it and the response was sheer glee. The Indian-American women she interviewed were over the moon. The smiles on these women’s faces were large, genuine and infectious. As time moved forward, when I would hear prominent women running non-profits or holding high office interviewed asked about her nomination, many of them confessed...

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what the patriarchy has to gain from us feeling unloved and unlovable—Communion: the female search for love by bell hooks (2002)

This book kinda sorta unexpectedly rocked my world. It has such an innocent title. Gah! I had never before read bell hooks. Her name hung around the edges of my consciousness as someone I need to read. I will certainly be reading a lot more of her now. Her writing is so unassuming and seemingly simple, it comes up on you from behind and grabs you by your secrets. I was left many nights with a lump in my throat trying to digest the emotion her words had evoked in me the previous day.  Reading Communion, I felt heard...

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Being Poor While Female in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette (1853)

Nearly eighty years after the publication of Charlotte Brontë’s novel, Villette, Virginia Woolf laments the poverty of women in her classic book, A Room Of One’s Own. In that classic piece is the famous conclusion that “a woman needs money and room of her own if she is to write fiction”(4). But how to attain it in a culture and time in that culture where women were notoriously poor?  Woolf speaks of how she came to having money of her own, five hundred pounds a year, left to her by her aunt “Mary Beton” who “died by a fall...

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Edmonia Lewis(1844-1907): An American Sculptor Trapped in Structures Harder Than Marble

Edmonia Lewis had two problems. One: that she was not white and two: that she was not male. She defies classification while at the same time has been classified over and over again. If she can’t be classified, then she is demonized and if she can’t be demonized then she is erased and if she can’t be erased then she is blamed when all this woman wanted was to pursue her art, be taken seriously, be free to compete on a level playing field with other people: meaning white people — and people who were taken seriously by the...

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