Tag: women and writing

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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Matilda Joslyn Gage: In Her Name, American (1826-1898)

A few weeks back, I came upon a term I had not heard before, the ‘Matilda Effect’. It’s defined as: a bias against acknowledging the achievements of those women scientists whose work is attributed to their male colleagues (Wikipedia). This term was coined by science historian Margaret W. Rossiter in 1993, in her essay The Matthew Matilda Effect in Science. The Matthew Effect, labeled in 1948 and credited to Robert K Merton, and later to Harriet Zuckerman as well, refers to the way that: eminent scientists will often get more credit than a comparatively unknown researcher, even if their...

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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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The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd: The Spirit in You that Rebels and Persists (published in 2020)

When my sister Theresa and I began the Nasty Women Writers project three years ago, we set out to amplify the voices of women, many of whom have been marginalized and erased. We decided to claim the word ‘nasty’ because it was being hurled at powerful women who were unafraid to speak up. Clearly ‘nasty’ was not such a bad thing to be. Sue Monk Kidd in her new novel The Book of Longings addresses the erasure of women’s voices. The main character, Ana, is a spokesperson for this cause: she is a capturer and keeper of women’s voices,...

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The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia, by Ursula K. Le Guin – “Revolution begins in the Thinking Mind”

It felt like a good time to read some Ursula K. Le Guin, wise thinker of our time, who passed recently, in 2018. A woman whose mind was always not only questioning but positing; imagining different scenarios for humans on a variety of alternate planets and creating characters within which to let them play out, to ultimately inquire what it means to be human. What mistakes will humans always make due to their inherent nature? What common human values remain in any scenario? Is it possible to get away from our egos? To truly care for one another over...

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