The Woman's Salon is a forum for the criticism and theory as well as for fiction, poetry and plays. The Salon was founded by five women writers in the Fall of 1975. While we make no exclusive judgements, the major commitment of our Salon is to work that seeks through its poetic and imagistic intensity and its structural innovation to alter individual consciousness and to change the social world. The Woman's Salon supports, encourages, and provides an intelligent and receptive audience for writing that generates the personal and communal transformation which are the essence of the feminist world vision. We are committed to the writing we believe in regardless of its acceptance by the contemporary literary establishment or its distribution under the current system of economic censorship. We believe the Woman's Salon can influence literary history.page 2
We believe in the power of the written word to define the evolving nonviolent human relationships that are the most profound discovery of the feminist movement. We believe in the power of the imagination to create a world in which women and men can contact and deepen our joyous connection to the life force. We believe carefully crafted feminist writing increases our capacity to relate to one another without bondage and that as the capacity to love freely increases, fear and violence are transcended.
The connection between theoretical analysis and artistic creation is a vital one. The most compelling work to come out of the feminist movement combines analysis and passion, combines intellect and feeling, in ways that profoundly challenge the existing disorder because they take away from thought the false comfort of abstraction and take ineffectuality away from passion. The new mode of passionate perception originates with women and develops through our increasing knowledge of ourselves and of each other.
The Woman's Salon supports young and emerging writers and honors older women whose writing lives have been spent forging a feminist esthetic. We take sustenance and strength from recognizing our tradition and from embracing all generations.page 3
In our first year we presented the following Salons: "The Women of Surrealism" a slide-lecture by Salon founder and critic Gloria Orenstein to celebrate publication of her book, The Theatre of the Marvelous; a reading of her short story "The Horse" from her book of short stories, Appetites, by Lynda Schor; "The Death of Claire" section from the recently completed, as yet unpublished novel by Salon founder Erika Duncan; the play Rebeccah by Salon founder Karen Malpede, read by actors Sybille Hayn, Ellen Maddow, Tina Shepard; the short stories "Fusion," "Inside/Outside" and "The Baby Tooth," written and read by Salon founder Carole Rosenthal; poetry written and read by Barbara Deming and Adrienne Rich, fiction and criticism by Catherine Stimpson and a paper on salon women by Gloria Orenstein; poems by Marge Piercy and a selection from Phyllis Chesler's recently completed book on men read by Phyllis Chesler; a tribute to Anais Nin on the occasion of publication of Volume Six of her Diaries and of her book of essays, In Favor of the Sensitive Man, participants were: Daisy Alden, Nona Balakian, Erika Duncan, Joan Goulianos, Claudia Orenstein, Gloria Orenstein, Sharon Spencer, Frances Steloff and Alice Walker.
The Woman's Salon also distributes a newsletter announcing future salons and other events of interest to women writers and audiences and makes available a book table at each salon where all women can display their recent publications. We have published a booklet, Personal Criticism from the Woman's Salon (available for $1.00) and plan to publish a short story and an essay by Salon founder Marilyn Coffey and a play by Karen Malpede. We have generated the writing and reading of serious critical essays about the fictional works presented a various Salons.
Fall plans include a celebration of the British paperback publication of her novel, Marcella, with a section read by Marilyn Coffey and a reading by Susan Yankowitz from her novel, Silent Witness.
The Woman's Salon is also meant to serve as a New York contact for out-of-town and foreign writers and for women writers in prison. We maintain a growing mailing list and announcements of all Salons plus our periodic newsletters are mailed to any woman who requests them. We give time at most Salons for any announcements any woman wishes to make about up-coming events of interest to the Salon members. The Woman's Salon wishes to encourage all efforts by women writers, critics and artists create a feminist culture.
We are asking women who feel committed to the work of our Salon to become subscribers. A ten dollar yearly subscription will include a membership card for entry to all Salons and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter, as well as any publications from the Woman's Salon Press. We plan to publish a list of contributing Salon Women in the near future. In order to defray the costs of programming, printing and mailing which have been taken on this year by the five Salon Founders, we would appreciate any contributions above the subscription cost, however, as in the past, our Salons will remain open to all women and non-subscribers will continue to be welcome for a one dollar donation, food, or wine.
Please mail subscription form (below) to The Woman's Salon, c/o Erika Duncan, 463 west Street, New York, New York, 10014.