Women's Literary Salons, 1975-1985. New York, Cerridwen, Paris, Los Angeles

New York Woman's Literary Salon

March 1977 Newsletter

Text of the Newsletter:
The Woman's Salon's first reading of the spring will be:

writings From Prison

a selection of women's work

Friday, April 1, at 8:00 P.M.

463 West St., Apt, 933B Duncan

Westbeth--Between Bank & Bethune Sts.

The prison experience has evoked many passionate courageous and life-affirming writings from women; the April Woman's Salon is in honor of all women who while enduring imprisonment refuse to have their creative spirits crushed. The reading will also serve, we hope, as an affirmation of our commitment as feminists to a future time when prisons no longer exist.

The Prison Salon is being coordinated by Jan Cohen, a performer who has done much theater work in prison; Mae Jackson, poet and writer, who has taught prison writing workshops and Karen Malpede. Among the other readers and performers will be: Carolyn Baxter and Brenda McBride, young poets recently released from prison; Ann McGovern, a writer who teaches poetry to the members of the Long Termers Committee at Bedford Hills prison; and Ann F. Price, a writer and composer who has set some of the Bedford Hills woments poetry to music. Due to the length of the program, the reading will begin promptly at 8:30 P.M. Women only are invited. Please bring $1.00 contribution or wine.

SALON NEWS: Our last two Salons dealt primarily with works in progress. In late January, we featured three novels in progress by Sharon Spencer, Mary Epes, and Deena Metzger. In February Salon coordinator Carole McCauley read both from her new novel in progress and from a book of computer assisted fiction published by Daughters Inc. For March we will be having a surprise art Salon in conjunction with the AIR Gallery. On April 30, Vivian Gornick will be reading from In Search of Ali Mahmoud: An American Woman in Egypt and in May Cynthia Griffin Wolff will read from her newly published study, A Feast of Words: The Triumph of Edith Wharton, an exploration of the interweaving of Wharton’s life and work as they evolved.

Feminists united as WOMEN AGAINST VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN are engaged in an important struggle against the movie SNUFF which was advertised as showing the real torture and killing of a woman and was said to have been filmed “in South America…where life to CHEAP.” Though the dismemberment-murder in the film was faked it was used to bring an actor to sexual climax--showing that the incitement to male sadism is real enough.

In Monticello WAVAW collected over 1,000 signatures on a petition to the District Attorney there, requesting that he seize the film. Although he had previously seized a pornographic movie about a nun-- under pressure from the Catholic Church--he refused to act against SNUFF but told WAVAW they could prosecute.

Jane Verlaine did, with WAVAW’s support. The trial, which was delayed for ten months by the exhibitor finally was scheduled for Dec. 23, 1976. The night before, the judge quashed a subpoena for the film, and then, on the 23rd, dismissed the case for insufficient evidence: no film! Leaving the courtroom, Jane Verlaine and two other women were slapped with summonses by the ‘defense.’ Among the charges were 'malicious prosecution.'

Sadism is recognized by the law as obscene, and VAWAV agrees it is obscene. The portrayal of women as subhuman beasts of prey whose very lives are to be sacrificed on the altar of the male orgasm must be stopped! Until now, one woman has footed the bill for most of the legal expenses, but her funds are rapidly dwindling, VAVAW is therefore turning to the feminist community to support this critical action. Please address your contribution to Women Against Violence Against Women, and mail it c/o Barbara Doming, RR2, box 36D, Sugarloaf Key, Florida 33044.

Members Blue Booklet: In October we asked our members to send us three page assays about women artists whose works have had an important impact upon their work. So fare from our 150 subscribers, we have had only ten submissions. After our last Salon, Frances Siegel, a painter who has been very excited by the spirit and energy of the Salon, began to speak about the exploration of how particular women became artists going an in a woman's group which is an outgrowth of her co-op gallery. As we spokes we realized the theme of our personal evolutions as artists might be another area to explore in our member's blue booklet, one which could take in not only critics and writers but other kinds of artists as well who have been looking for more active ways to participate in the Salon. We welcome, also, writing about personal creative evolution from women involved in scientific and social fields of exploration, i.e., psychologists, anthropologists, educators. These essays will be published along with the assays on the women artists who have been important to our members either through their work or in a personal way an mentor figures or fellow artists.

Again, we are asking for all submissions to be perfectly typed, ready to be offset with a maximum length of three double spaced pages. Suggested margins are: one-half inch top and bottom and three-quarters of an inch on the left and right hand sides of the page. Because we do not have time or woman-power to retype submissions, we will be unable to accept contributions which do not conform to these requirements. Please pack submissions in heavy cardboard. Remember to use a dark typewriter ribbon. Our new deadline is May 1, 1977. Now members are welcom to join.

THE WOMAN'S INTERART CENTER is sponsoring a series of readings on Sundays at 3:00 P.M. Past readings have included Myrna Lamb, Vivian Gornick, Ingrid Bengis, Muriel Rukeyser, Elaine Edelman and Elizabeth Coe. On Sunday, March 13, Salon member Rochelle Ovens and Jane Augustine will read and on April 3 the program will present Honor Moore, Divida Singer and Kate Ellis. For May 7-- Daughters lnc., Bertha Harris, June Arnold, Lois Gould; on June 12-- Kate Millet. Silvianna Goldsmith coordinated the 1977 Experimental Film Festival at the Center which ran from Feb. 18 to 27 and featured over 30 films by women.

Sharon Spencer gave the introductory speech for the birthday celebration for Anais Nin on Feb, 22. Also included in the program were: Ian Hugo, Anna Balakian, Viveca Lindfors, Kate Millet, Vincent Fraioli, Daisy Alden, Frances Steloff, Tazwell Thompson, Marguerite Young, Harriet Zinnes, Glenway Westcott and Joaquin Nin-Culmell. As each speaker responded to the particular chord evoked by Anais, each reawakening a different aspect of her life or work, the audience was left with a sense of a resynthesis of all her selves and the feeling that the parts of her spirit that had touched them also would live on.

Carolyn Kempner, a twenty-year old student at Livingston College of Rutgers University has decided to make the Womanla Salon the subject of an independent study. She will be working closely with the coordinators and wishes to have as many opportunities as possible to speak with the writers involved.

Two Magazines of Special Interest are seeking manuscript submissions. They are Generation, P.O. Box 110, Princeton, New Jersey, o8540, Sara Finnie, editor. Generation is a new national quarterly that publishes images, ideas, profiles - photos, fiction, essays, cartoons, interviews, and art work. Subscription $8 per year. Modus Operandi, P.O. Box 136, Brookeville, Md 20729, Sheila Vensen, editor. Modus Operandi is a monthly literary magazine for writers-- it features writing contests on different themes, fiction, including science fiction, 500 to 1000 words, satire, short essays. Six dollars per year, sample $1.

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

Do not reproduce information from this site without acknowledgement.
For questions, email to Ruth Wallach, USC Libraries

Back to Women's Literary Salons' Newsletters