Eleanor Munroe on My Mother, Amply Pregnant

On this Mother's Day I ask us to think about our mothers, both real and fictive, and their role in our creative lives. Eleanor Munroe is best known for her in depth studies of the relationship between artists and their art. In 1979 she wrote Originals: American Women Artists in which she brought a new perspective …

Anne Bradstreet on Offspring of My Feeble Brain

How would you feel if someone made copies of your private poems, carried them across the ocean, and unbeknownst to you published them in a book? Anne Dudley Bradstreet arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. She was among the first Puritans to settle in Salem, New England. A well-educated woman from a well-to-do …

Rachel Carson on Agents of Death

 "The beauty of the living world I was trying to save has always been uppermost in my mind - that, and anger at the senseless, brutish things that were being done. . . . Now I can believe I have at least helped a little." Today, as we remember Rachel Carson (1907-1964) in the context …

Eva Hoffman on Allergic to Words

"I think every immigrant becomes an amateur anthropologist--you do notice things about the culture or world that you come into that people who grow up in it, who are very embedded in it, simply don't notice." Eva Hoffman Eva Hoffman was uprooted from Poland in 1959 when she was fourteen and brought to Canada by her parents who …

Judith Sargent Murray on the Female Mind

"What a censorious world says of me, cannot offend me or permanently hurt me. Was it to commend me, it would do me no real service...I'd rather have an unspotted conscience." Judith Sargent Murray (1751 to 1820) was the most prominent woman essayist of her time. She was also a poet, a playwright, and a novelist. …

Flannery O’Connor on Too Much Interpretation

Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964) is best known for her short stories set in the South. Often about religious theme ,her stories are often humorous, but with a disturbing quality underneath that leaves the reader faintly puzzled and uneasy. As a child she grew up in Savanna, Georgia, went to Catholic school, drew cartoons, and wrote stories. Later when she had …

Aphra Behn on Foppery

"All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn … for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds.” Virginia Wolf The first woman to make a living solely from her writing is Aphra Behn (1640-1689) who lived in the time of the English Restoration under Charles the 2nd. …

Toni Morrison on Ritual and Writing

Nobel and Pulitzer prize-winning author Toni Morrison is known for her novels which explore the good, the evil, and the love in human souls. She has written numerous novels including The Bluest Eye (1970), Song of Solomon (1977), Beloved (1987), and most recently Home (2010). She has also written children's books The Big Box and …

Helen J. Langer on Mindlessness

Helen J. Langer was the first woman to attain tenure in the psychology department at Harvard University. Langer is known for her edgy experiments into the power of the mind over the body and is considered a progenitor of the positive psychology movement. Langer's experiments involve studying how people's thinking and choices can physically change them. In …

Jane Piirto on Creativity

Jane Piirto is an educator, author of poetry and novels, and a photographer. She has made creativity the focus of her research studies and her life's work. Much of her research has been with talented young people where she has sought to find out what exactly sparks some people to great heights of achievement and innovation. …

Ellen Dissanayake On The Art of Making Special

Ellen Dissanayake is a self-taught scholar in a field she invented who takes an anthropological, evolutionary approach to defining art. Her work in India, Sri Lanka, Africa and New Guinea made her realize that Western definitions of what is art were culturally confined. Instead she proposes that art is a universal, biological imperative that all human beings …

Maxine Greene on a World of Possibility

Maxine Greene is best known as an indomitable fighter for the valuing of the arts and social justice in education. She has been Philosopher-in-Residence at the Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education since 1976. In 2012 she founded the Maxine Greene Center for Aesthetic Education and Social Imagination. She is the author of numerous books that challenge …

Clara Barton on Weaving with Flying Fingers

Clara Barton celebrates a birthday this week. She was born on Christmas Day 1821. She was the first woman appointed to government office at the same wage as a man, although her salary was later reduced, and then the job eliminated altogether. During the Civil War she procured food and medicine and carried it to the front …

Carolina Maria de Jesus on Rats and Cats

"A woman's tongue is a candlewick. It is always burning." Carolina Maria de Jesus (1914-1977) spent most of her life in a favela in Sao Paola Brazil. To support her three children she collected cardboard and other trash, but many days her children had little to eat. She attended school until she was eight years old where she discovered …

Rose Winslow on Hungry for the Vote

"God knows we don’t want other women ever to have to do this over again.” Rose Winslow  was brought as a baby to the United States by her Polish parents so that she could grow up in a free democratic country.  Her father labored as a coal miner and steel worker and as a child …

Sandra Steingraber on Making a Difference

Sandra Steingraber has been called a "poet with a knife". She is a renowned ecologist, a cancer survivor, award-winning author, mother, and poet. She is the Rachel Carson of our times calling us to wake up and rid our earth of the toxins that affect the development of our children. Like Rachel she has been attacked by …

Gila Green on Betrayal

Canadian Gila Green moved to Israel in 1994 where she writes, edits, teaches and publishes fiction.  Find her classes at WOW.  She has just published her first novel.                  Betrayal is a theme that threads through my entire debut novel, King of the Class. On a macro level, the setting of the novel is the post-civil war Israel of the future; …

Madeline Grumet on Reading Texts

"Our stories are the masks through which we can be seen, and with every telling we stop the flood and swirl of thought so someone can get a glimpse of us, and maybe catch us if they can" Madeleine R. Grumet Madeline Grumet is Professor of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel …

Lisa Delpit on Teaching

 "We do not really see through our eyes or hear through our ears, but through our beliefs." Lisa Delpit is Director of the Center for Urban Educational Excellence. She is the author of numerous books on educating children of poverty and color and on improving teacher education. As a child she experienced segregation growing up …