New York Woman's Literary Salon

January 1977 Newsletter

Text of the Newsletter:
The January Woman's Salon will be three readings from novels in progress by Mary Epes, Deena Metzger and Sharon Spencer. The authors have asked for a period of audience reactions following their readings.

read from their novels.
Saturday, January 29, 1977
8:00 p.m.
463 West st., Apt. 933B, Duncan
Westbeth--Between Bank & Bethune Sts.

Mary Epes' novel is a fictionalized response to her experiences in the convent where she spent most of her adult life. The chapter which she will read from is about the forbidden particular friendship and emerging love between two novices striving to find the inner holiness and religious exaltation lacking in the anonymity of convent life, seeking to find the "sainthood" made impossible by a system which stresses the obliteration of self. It is a poignant cry for spirituality and passion and religious striving.

Deena Metzger's THE BOOK OF HAGS is a poetic political novel about the impact of silence upon women which results in death, madness and cancer and an exploration of the contexts, contemparary, historical and mythic which allow for growth and healing. The January issue of Black Box, an innovative poetry cassette magazine will be devoted to an experimental radio dramatization of THE BOOK OF HAGS. Deena has published fictiont poetry and criticism in such varied places as Rising Tides, Journal of American Psychiatry, Crysalis, A Casebook of Anais Nin. Her novel, SKIN: SHADOWS/SILENCE was published in 1976 by West Coast Poetry Review. She is the director of the writing pro- gram at the Woman's Building in Los Angeles, a public center for Woman's Culture. She has just completed a monograph on women's culture called In her Image. Deena's reading represents a first liason between our Salon and those who have been creating a women's culture on the West Coast.

Sharon Spencer, author of THE SPACE BETWEENG a novel (Harper & Row, 1973), SPACE TIME AND STRUCTURE IN THE MODERN NOVEL (Swallow, 1974) and COLLAGE OF DREAMS: THE WRITING OF ANAIS NIN which will be appearing in April, will read from her new novel, THE EYE OF A MASK which is about four women artists, a painter, a concert pianist, a writer and a film actress. It is the theme of the artist's creation of an idealized self that is the focus of this work. Sharon teaches creative writing and comparative literature at Montclair State College.

OUR NEW YEAR'S OPEN HOUSE AND OPEN READING was a high energy coming together of the women who had been regularly attending our Salon and some special visitors from out of town. Many of the guests donned flowing purple velvet and brightly flowered floor-length skirts in celebration of past mentors and past literary lives. We were very moved by the high quality and variety that our Salon spirit has evoked. The works read varied from political poetic interviews with cottonmill workers from the South (Mimi Conway) to a dramatic performance with songs by Nina Miller accompanied by Nina Silver who also performed her own songs. Lauri Holland sang the folk-songs she has written out of her own personal pain and Barbara Holland recited her impassioned poetry. Other readers of prose and poetry ere: Sally lannotti, Stephanie Golden, Claire Moore, Helen Cooper, Allison Colbert, Carole Rosenthal, Joyce Johnson, Rosalyn Jacknin, Pat Barnet, Lillian Morrison, Grace Shinell, Louise Bernikow, Joan Buretyn, Deena Metzger, Alicia Ostriker, Barbara Clark, Pamela Healey, Kate Ellis, Barbara Clark, Brenda Canoboy, Rhoda Waller, Dana Shilling, Carol Polcovar, Dorothy Friedman, Thelma Catalano, Anita Stekel.

PRISON WRITERS: Four memberships to the Salon for women writers in prison have been donated by Tracy O'Kates. Carolyn Baxter, a 23 year old poet and playwright, received the first membership. "I've felt fear 1,000 times, but I'm not afraid of myself, my perceptions, or reality--which is what breaks women In Strip Cells. I'm going to write," Carolyn, who had just been released from solitary confinement in a strip cell when our letter came, writes. The Salon is planning a spring reading of writing from women in prison. Anyone who wishes to bring the work of a woman writer in prison to the attention of the Salon please contact Karen Malpede, 333 East 5th St., NY, NY 10003.

VOICES FROM WITHIN: The Poetry of Women in Prison is an anthology by women serving long-term sentences in the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. Writer Ann McGovern taught the poetry workshops and edited the anthology which is published by Valerie Harms' Magic Circle Press 10 Hyde Ridge Rd, Weston, Conn. 06880. Profits from sale of the $2.00 booklet are used to further the aims of the Long-Termer's Committee at Bedford, New York State's only prison for women.

AN ORATORIO for women's chorus and instrumental ensemble, THE RETURN OF THE GREAT MOTHER, written by Roberta Kosse and Jeanne Meurer, is currently being cast. Women with "some choral singing experience" and women instrumentalists are being sought. Funds to cover production costs are also needed. Rehearsals begin this month for a May performance. For more information contact Roberta Kosse: 857- 8997 or Jeanne Meurer: WA9-5184.

CONNECTIONS, a one-act play by Irene Tractenberg will be read January 24 at 8 p.m. at the Off-Center Theater, 436 West 18th St., NYC. Call 929-8299 for information.

ROCHELLE OWEN'S new play EMMA INSTIGATED ME was staged January 4-9 at the American Place Theater. We are sorry we didn't receive notice of the production soon enough to list it in our previous newsletter and hope that some Salon women found their way to the performances.

CORRECTION: the titles donated to the Salon by Marian Skedgell of E.P. Dutton Company are The Curse by Delaney, Lupton and Toth, Woman Hating by Dworkin, Roots of Bitterness by Cott, Marmalde Me by Johnston, and Pregnancy After 35 by McCauley. Betty Prashker of Doubleday has donated Literary Women by Moers, All the Live Long Day by Carson, Words and Women by Muller and Swift, and Women in Management. We thank all contributing publishers and editors.

FREDA LEINWAND's photographs of the Salon have appeared in Ms, Womanart and in other places that have featured stories about us, as well as on our brochure. Freda has photographed every Salon except the Open Reading.

Erika Duncan/Karen Malpede/Carole Spearin McCauley/Gloria Feman Orenstein

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