New York Woman's Literary Salon

May & June 1980 Newsletter

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

Photo: From the left: Frances Steloff, Erika Duncan, Joan Goulianos, Nono Balakian, Gloria Orenstein, Daisy Aldan, Karen Malpede. This Salon, in May 1975, honoring Anais Nin, was the closing Salon of our first season. Photo by Frieda Leinwand

May 17, Saturday, 7 pm. Andrea Dworkin reading from THE NEW WOMAN'S BROKEN HEART, introduced by Julie Melrose.

June 1, Sunday, 2 pm. Our Traditional Year's End Open Reading and Party, and an honoring of Muriel Rukeyser. (Women wanting to read poems by Muriel Rukeyser or pieces about her are invited to do so.)

These Salons will take place at the home of Erika Duncan: 463 West St. (Westbeth, between Bank and Bethune Streets) Apt. 933B. There will be a social hour from 7 to 8 for evening programs. Readings start at 8.

May 17: Andrea Dworkin reading from The New Womans Broken Heart, introduced by Julie Melrose, a young feminist writer and activist.

From its beginning the Salon has been committed to providing a safe forum for sharing the more vulnerable portions of our work. From the first "Mothers Day" celebration of our mentors reading at which well known critic Katherine Stimpson read the very first short story she ever shared with an audience, many other writers, known and unknown, have shared work that they feel tender about in the world.

About six months ago Andrea Dworkin, whose polemic work has played such an important part in feminist thinking, asked us if she could come to the Salon and read from her new book of short stories.

Andrea writes:

I began writing before I was a teenager. My first writings were poetry and fiction. I don't write poetry any more, but I have not stopped writing fiction, which is my first and greatest love both as a writer and as a reader. I have lots of unpublished fiction, including a novel that I have been working on for five years. I also have lots of unpublished nonfiction and at least one old collection of poems that I still like.

The stories in The New Womans Broken Heart (Frog In The Well, 430 Oakdale Road, East Palo Alto, California 94303) were written over the last several years. Woman Hating was published in 1974, Our Blood in 1976. But published work is always the tip of the iceberg. Continuing to write is a driving passion and also an enormous hardship. The stories in The New Womans Broken Heart show passionate women determined to endure, not always able to do so. But the raw emotion of the stories, I think, is probably my own, especially connection with my desires to keep writing. I am very happy to have been able to publish this collection, which is also the first book of a now feminist press.

I will read from The New Womans Broken Heart, perhaps a few poems, and some short nonfiction.

June 1 (Sunday afternoon): Our traditional year's end Open Reading and party. We will begin at 2 PM and go on for several hours, followed by a feast and party. Bring poetry, music, theater, novels, stories, non-fiction. Bring things to eat and drink if you like. As our Salon goes on, these gatherings become more informal and intimate while they become equally more exciting, as our audiences begin to feel ever freer to read their most favorite works. The open readings have always given us as coordinators a chance to know you better and a chance for a special kind of exchange of works and Interests. So come to read and to listen and to stay awhile.


This June's Open Reading will mark the end of our fifth season. We have many exciting plans for next year, among them an evening devoted to American Indian women poets, political thinkers and activists in conjunction with the publication of Book Forum's American Indian Issue.

Our workshops continue to be going strong and will continue through the summer as will our accessibility to foreign women writers passing through. We are hearing of many passionate new books combining important philosophic, psychological and anthropological contributions with intensely personal writing. We are interested in expanding our focus and eager to begin programming for the coming fall.

A few weeks ago in the bank, a young woman, Nancy Zirinsky, introduced herself to Erika Duncan. Nancy used to come to the Salons five years ago, she said, when she was a student, with her whole womens group. The Salon gave her a great deal in those days, she explained, and now she would like to give something back to it. She almost has her law degree and has offered to try to get us nonprofit status learning as she does the work. She has also volunteered to start a file for us on grant getting, something none of the Salon's organizers has ever had time or expertise for. She would love to work with other women who are also interested in learning skills in their own field as they work for something they believe in--lawyers, proposal writers, fund raisers, etc. Talking to her made us realize how sorely we need this kind of support which because our energies have always been directed elsewhere, we have not sought grants or other practical help. Now as this season rolls to an end, we are once again having to take money from our own pockets to meet rising printing costs. We are unsure of how we will begin the next September season. As anyone who has tried to reach us knows, we are sorely in need of an answering machine. The only way to continue our lives and work so far has been keeping the telephone off the hook, not the most efficient or hospitable way to run an organization. We continue to add to our members list but cannot afford to send out renewal notices regularly. Therefore we beg members who've had their cards more than a year to renew membership, now $15.00 a year. We also ask anyone who is able to to make us a more sizeable contribution. We would like anyone with an old answering machine to contribute it to us. And we are offering anyone with expertise a percentage if they can find a grant for us. Over and over, we are told that we are highly eligible, but it is a vicious cycle at the moment until we find someone who is able to pursue it. Anyone able to help, please call Sallie at 516-759-9624

We wish you all a happy summer and look forward to picking up contact in the fall.

THE POLITICS OF sexuality--A CALL FOR PAPERS. The Sarah Eisenstein Series is planning a book of essays on THE POLITICS OF SEXUALITY, to be edited by Ann Snitow, Christine Stansell, and Sharon Thompson. Topics for contributed essays include historical overviews that emphasize sexuality as a changing social form; the ways that sexual orientation, gender, class, race, and age work with each other in each person's sexual life and in the social definition of sexuality; how popular culture, media, the arts imagine the sexual self; and current political struggles and debates. For more information, please write: The Sarah Eisenstein Series, c/o Sharon Thompson, PO Box 1161, Stuyvesant Station, New York, 10009

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