New York Woman's Literary Salon

March & April 1980 Newsletter

Text of the Newsletter:
(Please save this Newsletter, as it covers two salons)

Saturday, March 22, 7 pm; Chez Erika Duncan 463 West Street, NYC Apt. 933B (Between Bank and Bethune Streets)


CHERYL A. WALL, Professor of English at Douglass College and literary critic specializing in the works of black women writers will give a historial and feminist overview of black women's literature. Her introduction will be followed by readings by the following writers: CHERYL CLARKE, THULANI NKABINDE DAVIS, and TOI DERRICOTTE. At the conclusion of the readings black women writers who are present at the salon will be invited to share their works with us in a short Open Reading.

Friday, April 25, 1980, 7 pm. New Location.

BARGEMUSIC LIMITED; Fulton Ferry Landing. Brooklyn, N.Y. 11201.624-4061. Take a train to High Street and walk downhill to the river.


ROBERTA KOSSE, feminist composer, will present a music salon at Olga Bloom's music barge-salon. ROBERTA KOSSE, composer of the Oratoria THE RETURN OF THE GREAT MOTHER and of the Song-Cycle PORTRAITS IN CONCERT, will give a concert including Vocal and Chamber works and will speak about her own artistic creation from the perspective of a woman writing contemporary music whose hopes and dreams resonate deeply with the aspirations of the Feminist Movement.

Saturday, March 22, 1980. 7 PM.
The Comparative Arts Program of The Woman's Salon takes great pleasure in presenting a salon devoted to Black Women Writers as a part of our desire to extend our salon programming to include an on going series of regularly scheduled salons of works by minority women, third world women, and women representing a variety of ethnic backgrounds on the American land. Each of these salons will feature a short open reading at the conclusion of the planned program so that other women writers of similar backgrounds and affinities may present their works as a part of the evening's salon event. If you wish to participate in the open reading, Call Cloria Orenstein (212-865-1685), Erika Duncan (212-691-0539) or Sallie Reynolds (516-750-9624 in advance. Otherwise come early and sign up for the remaining time.

We are also proud to celebrate the publication of CONDITIONS V: THE BLACK WOMEN'S ISSUE and HERESIES: THIRD WORLD WOMEN'S ISSUE at this salon. Both publications will be on sale at our Book Table.

CHERYL A. WALL, who will give a critical introduction to the history of Black Women Writers and the exciting transformations that are occurring today in their contemporary works as the urgencies of Women's Liberation and Black Liberation fuse in a revolutionary outburst of creativity, is an Assistant Professor of English at Douglass College. A graduate of Howard University, she wrote her doctoral dissertation at Harvard on "Three Novelists: Jessie Fauset, Nella Larson, and Zora Neale Hurston". At Douglass she has taught courses on The Afro-American Experience in Literature, The Legacy of the Negro Renaissance, a seminar in Afro-American Literature, and a Graduate Seminar in The Harlem Renaissance. She is a past recipient of a Fulbright award, a Ford Foundation Fellowship, a Woodrow Wilson Internship, and a Southern Fellowship award. Her publications include: "Ancient Spirits in a New Land: An Aspect of Hoodooism in African-American Literature"; "Jessie Fauset, Zora Neale Hurston" in Notable American Women Supplement, "Paris and Harlem: Two Culture Capitals" in PHYLON (March 1975), and "Poets and Versifiers; Singers and Signifiers: The Women of the Harlem Renaissance (New Brunswick, Transaction Books, forthcoming). Her entries on Gwendolyn Brooks, Frances Watkins Harper, Nella Larsen and Anne Spencer will be published in American Women Writers. Last year, as a recipient of a Fulbright award, she was a lecturer in Aachen, West Germany. She gave conferences on Afro-American Literature and The Harlem Renaissance and Black Women Writers in Germany and Italy.

I am particularly happy to present my colleague, Cheryl Wall, to salon audiences because her scholarly work on black women writers is exemplary of feminist literary research at its best in that it combines a heightened political consciousness with a mastery of critical techniques and personal insight in ways that restore women to their true artistic heritage and to their lost creative matrilineage throughout time.

CHERYL CLARKE, who has published in CONDITIONS V and LADY UNIQUE INCLINATION OF THE NIGHT, will begin the reading. Cheryl believes that poetry is and can be an instrument of struggle and liberation, particularly poetry which reflects rebellion and triumph. Her themes revolve around her perceptions of the environment as a black woman, a lesbian, and a feminist. Cheryl enriches the thematic development of her poems with a strong narrative force. She has also been a lecturer at Rutgers University, and for the past 2 years she has been engaged in writing a series of narrative poems which reflect the varied experiences of black women in America.

THULANI NKABINDE DAVIS has been published in numerous anthologies and in periodicals, among them: New American Poetry, Third World Women, Jambalaya, The Next World, Poems by Third World Americans, Rollingstone, Chrysalis, Yardbird Reader, Nimrod, Obsidian, Umbra, Margins, Musicians .... Her first book is on Anemone Press (Wash. D.C.) and is entitled ALL THE RENEGADE GHOSTS RISE. Thulani, a graduate of Barnard, is a recipient of the Lenore Marshall Prize for Literature. While a student at the Univ. of Penn. she was cited for the Academy of American Poets 1975 prizes. In 1978 Thulani performed her work in WHERE THE MISSISSIPPI MEETS THE AMAZ0N, a theater piece with Ntozake Shange and Jessica Hagedorn at The Public Theater. In 1979 she performed ONE DAY THE DIALOGUE WILL BE ENDLESS with Laurie Carlos, also under the auspices of The New York Shakespeare Festival, and appeared in her one-woman show SWEET TALK AND STRAY DESIRES at the Chelsea Westside Theatre. Most recently she has been performing in concert with The Cecil Taylor Unit.

TOI DERRICOTTE was the winner of the first prize of the Academy of American Poets competition at NYU in 1974 and 1978. Her poems have appeared in New York Ouarterly, Chrysalis, Hanging Loose, Conditions V, and other journals. She teaches in The Artists-in-the School Program for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and is currently leading a workshop for Bergen poets. Her book, THE EMPRESS OF THE DEATH HOUSE, was published by Lotus Press in 1978.

Although the Woman's Salon has welcomed black women writers in the past, among them Alice Walker and Michele Wallace, The Comparative Arts series will now be a permanent feature of the salon's growth and birthing process. Since it comes about in the ripeness of our fifth year, we join Thulani in celebration,

in the tenth month birth comes easy Thulani

in the tenth month we celebrate births
that took longer
that had their own
insemination/their own sense of gestation
in the tenth month we celebrate
the overdue/the self-induced
the flowering of hybrid fruits
from unparticular seeds we celebrate the time it takes
to be a vision you had yourself.......

Friday April 25, 1980. 7 PM. at BARGEMUSIC LIMITED; Fulton Ferry landing; Brooklyn, New York 11201. Phone 624-4061. Take the A Train to High Street and walk downhill to the river.

The Comparative Arts Series is proud to present a Salon for Composer, ROBERTA KOSSE at OLGA BLOOM'S music barge in Brooklyn. ROBERTA KOSSE, feminist and composer of the Oratorio THE RETURN OF THE GREAT MOTHER and of the Song Cycle PORTRAITS IN CONCERT, will present a concert including vocal and chamber works, and will give a narrative introducing her own artistic creation. In recognition of the fact that different art forms require different spaces and settings, and that in particular Roberta Kossels unique music salon will require, above all, a grand piano, we are delighted to announce that our April 25th music salon will be held on Olga Bloom's Music Barge-Salon. Olga Bloom whose dream it was to bring fine classical music to the people, sailed her 102-foot barge into the Brooklyn waterfront about a year and a half ago, and she has been living on it and holding Sunday afternoon concerts in her Barge-Salon ever since. Visiting Olga Bloom at Bargemusic Limited was like stepping into one of my own dreams, for long ago I had fantasized a salon on a riverboat--a floating salon that would cruise along the East Coast or up and down the Hudson River giving performances on the waterfront at various landings. I had been inspired by the haunting image of Anais Nin's literary life on board her houseboat on the Seine, and when I entered the magical barge-world of Olga Bloom I immediately realized that the dream of an artistic life closely linked to the water and nourished by the natural rhythms of the gentle cresting of the waves was a universal dream of women.

OLGA BLOOM radiates a love of people and a love of music that permeates the atmosphere of the barge, even when it is completely empty, except for the lone piano and the couch on which she sleeps-when she gets a chance to sleep. The huge open space is literally infused by a special energy and warmth that is unique to someone who thinks of repaying the friendly longshoremen who give her a hand in the physical maintenance of the barge by offering them a whole concert of sonatas by Beethoven, Mozart and Handel. As I talked with Olga Bloom in front of a blazing fire and rocked back and forth beneath the Brooklyn Bridge observing the busy maritime life in New York's harbor, I heard the story of how Olga's husband, a violinist with Toscaninni, used to invite friends over to play chamber music in their living room and how Olga, herself a professional musician, used to wish that audiences had been present, how she bemoaned the fact that such beautiful music was being played in private instead of going out into the world in the form of vibrant, healing melodic forces. The first concerts that were held in the barge were given by Olga, herself. But Olga Bloom is more concerned about the fate of talented young musicians than about her own concert career, and so she has taken on a group of Julliard musicians for regular Sunday afternoon concerts. She feels that every generation must be given visibility and must be supported by the efforts of those who have preceded them and who know how hard it is to live the life of a musician in the modern world. Olga Bloom's spontaneous generosity and humanitarian consciousness were abundantly evident when she enthusiastically welcomed The Woman's Salon for Roberta Kosse to the waterfront world of music at her salon-barge.

ROBERTA KOSSE received her music degrees in composition at The Mannes College of Music and The Manhattan School of Music. She has written numerous works in all media, including orchestral and chamber works, choral works and music for films and theater. She composed the music for salon co-founder Karen Malpede's recent production of MAKING PEACE. Roberta Kosse has been concerned with integrating feminism with her music in an expressive, non-polemical way. From 1974--78 she led the WOMEN LIKE ME ensemble, one of the first women's choruses of the movement. She composed many songs using the texts of women poets such as Denise Levertov, Dorothy Parker, Anne Sexton, Susan Sherman and Gertrude Stein.

In 1976 she began exploring this aesthetic through large-scale form and wrote with Jenny Malmquist THE RETURN OF THE GREAT MOTHER, an Oratorio for women's chorus and chamber ensemble. The work is based on figures from women's mythologies. This was the first large-scale classical feminist work to come out of the women's movement. The oratorio was premiered in New York in the Spring of 1977 and was later performed in Boston, Mass., Bridgeport, Conn., St. Louis, Missouri, Los Angeles, California and Champaign, Illinois at the 1978 National Women's Music Festival.

Continuing her exploration of women's mythology and her interest in large-scale form she wrote and produced with ARS PRO FEMINA "PORTRAITS IN CONCERT", a song-cycle with dance for women's chorus, soloists, and chamber and dance ensembles, based on the poetry of Olga Broumas, entitled TWELVE ASPECTS OF GOD which explores the continuing relevance of Greek female deities to our own time.

Roberta Kosse has written music for other groups concerned with feminist sensibilities, including WOMEN MAKE MOVIES, THE WOMEN'S INTERART CENTER and THE NEW CYCLE THEATER whose Resident Playwright is Karen Malpede. She has also been clarinetist with MOTHER CHORD, a women's chamber ensemble.

Roberta Kosse's concert will include vocal and chamber works from the past 5 years, including excerpts from PORTRAITS IN CONCERT. For women who have been waiting for an occasion to invite male guests to a salon, this would be the ideal time to do so. In expanding our salon programming to embrace the other creative media, we hope to bring women from literature together with women from music, the visual arts, dance, theater, sculpture etc., so that future collaborations along the lines of Roberta Kosse's work with women writers will be made possible. We thank Olga Bloom for her hospitality and suggest that you add something to your salon door-fee so that we can repay Bargemusic Limited for the use of this exciting new salon space.

Gloria Orenstein and the participants in the Comparative Arts Series of the Woman's Salon.
Gloria Orenstein will be lecturing on The Reemerging of the Great Goddess in Art by Contemporary Woman at Soho 20; 99 Spring St. NYC. on Feb. 19 8 P.M. in conjunction with the show HUIT MONTREALAISES


The First International Festival of Women Artists will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark during July, 1980, coinciding with The World Conference of the UN Decade for Women. An ad hoc committee, formed to coordinate the project, is planning a program of readings, performance, panel discussions and films to demonstrate the achievements of women in art. WOMEN ARE INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SLIDE PRESENTATION, PUBLICATIONS DISPLAY AND INTERNATIONAL POSTCARD EXHIBITION.

1. PUBLICATIONS (for display and distribution only):

An opportunity for international sharing of the exciting and diverse work of women artists, writers, and Women's Press. Newsletters, magazines, books, catalogues, posters, and other printed material FOR DISPLAY ONLY should be sent via air mail NO LATER THAN MAY 1. SEA MAIL DEADLINE IS APRIL 1. Consult your P.O. for mailing information. Order blanks may be included for sales, but no sales will be transacted at the Festival. Material will be donated at the close of the Festival to Copenhagen women's archives. REMEMBER, MAILING DEADLINE IS MAY 1. Send all Material to: Hedda Matthesen, Kingosgade 15, DK 1818 Copenhagen V, Denmark.

For Information, send S.A.S.E. to Sylvia Moore, 2102 Bronx Park East; New York, N.Y. 10462


Demonstrate your originality in small scale. Women's postcard art from every part of the globe will be sent to Copenhagen. The exhibition is expected to take place at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Museum and other gallery space. Following the Festival the exhibition will travel. Send your message (visual, written, musical, or whatever) on a standard postcard size to HEDDA MATTHESEN (address above). No limit on the number of entries. Postcards will not be returned. MAILING DEADLINE IS MAY 1, 1980.

If you wish to volunteer to work on the project, help with funding or need information, send a S.A.S.E. To: Susan Schwalb, Project Director 233 East 21 Street; New York, N.Y. 10010


In a # 10 Business-size envelope, send:

1. a title slide with name, city, state and country.

2. 3 labeled slides (NOT GLASS).

3. a 3x5 card with name, address and list of slides.

4. a one page resume.

5. a $2 check to cover handling made out to Ad Hoc Committee for the Int'l Festival of Women Artists/Mid-March Associates. U.S. Artists Only: Send to: International Festival of Women Artists, c/o Pasha Bari, 45 Beekman Street, NYC 10038. No Slides will be returned. SLIDES MUST BE RECEIVED BY APRIL 1, 1980. Red dot in lower left-hand corner. Artist, title and date written on upper border. Medium, Dimensions written on lower border. (Height precedes width).

Spring "Writing Project Launching" day-long marathon, at Sea Cliff, at Sallie Reynolds' house on the shore of Long Island Sound. As the two writing workshops in the Salon space grow and receive visitors from other parts of the country and abroad, we realize the hunger of women to give their deepest works their first crucial breaths within a caring and supportive atmosphere. Many of the visitors, who have sat in on the workshops have spoken of their own desire to find the "subject" they must write about in order to unlock the passions and ideas within them. But this is difficult, almost impossible to do alone. By allowing an opportunity for women (who may live too far from places with chances to meet regularly with other writers) to do intensive work during a day in finding themes with enough momentum in them to carry on, by helping them reach the source of their deepest obsessions, it is our hope that they will leave the day with a tangible sturdy project with its own unfolding built into it and potential to continue without getting stuck.

The marathon will begin at 11 AM on Sat. May 3, and last until 10:30 PM with time to wander on the beach and cliff alternated with intensive group work session and meals. Erika Duncan and Sallie Reynolds who do constant fiction writing work together will conduct the workshops. The fee for the day is $50.00. Since space in the group must necessarily be limited by the kind of work we plan to do, we are suggesting that you register well in advance. To register or receive additional information write or call Sallie Reynolds at 24 Bay Ave. Sea Cliff, N.Y. 11579 (516-759-9624) or Erika Duncan at 463 West St. NYC 10014 (212-691-0539).

The Salon congratulates Jovette Marchessault on the publication of her second novel LA MERE DES HERBES in Montreal, Canada. Preface to the book is written by Salon Co-Founder Gloria Orenstein.

OUR SPACE, a Feminist Alternative offering a new women's space will have a grand celebration on Sat. Feb. 9th 11-6. 658 Amsterdam Ave. (92nd). Come and see full line of non-sexist t-shirts, totes etc. and watch for opening of coffee shop and other events.

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

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