New York Woman's Literary Salon

November-December 1977 Newsletter

Text of the Newsletter:
The Woman's Salon Newsletter
Reading from BASEMENT
(A Work-In-Progress)
Saturday Dec. 17, 1977
7:OO P.M.
463 West Street Apt. 933B
Westbeth: Between Bank & Bethune

Kate Millett's BASEMENT is a series of meditations on a case of human sacrifice. In Indianapolis in 1965 a 16 year old girl was tortured to death in a basement. Engraved on her stomach were the words: "I am a prostitute and proud of it". Her name was Sylvia Likens. She was murdered by a group of people, teenagers led by a woman named Gertrude Baniszewski. This incident has obsessed Kate for some 12 years, and has been a dominant influence in her cage sculptures. Slides of these sculptures will be shown with the reading of her new book-in-progress. Kate Millett is the author of SEXUAL POLITICS, FLYING, and SITA. A novelist, literary critic, and artist, Kate is known to all of us as one of the most articulate voices of the Feminist Movement.

Sunday, January 1, 1977
2:OO P.M. Address above.

Last year's New Year's Open Reading brought together Salon Members who read poetry, novels, performed dramatic works and played original guitar compositions and folk songs. Once more we welcome you to celebrate the New Year with us in the style of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, whose recipes we sampled last Spring.

When I was in Paris this Summer, Berthe Cleyrergue, who assisted Natalie Barney for over 40 years of Salon history, shared with me the secret that Alice B. Toklas' sugar-stuffed eggplant had never been popular with Parisian Salonieres. We might add that her wine-colored mashed potatoes were not much of a hit with New York Salonieres either. This year we will feature our own recipes, and we invite your suggestions for future flamboyant, low-budget Salon specialities.

The Woman's Salon is proud to announce that we presented a Salon program of speeches and readings at The National Women's Conference on Sunday, November 20, 1977. Gloria Orenstein opened the program with a talk about the history of salons as catalysts of culture. She spoke about the importance of the telling of the tale and of the Oral Tradition as a means of women's repossession of the processes of literary creation and as a technique of consciousness-raising and liberation. Erika Duncan spoke about the role of literary criticism as a means of entry into works of art and feminist ways of breaking barriers between the previously divided aesthetics. She read from her Plea For Impassioned Reviewing. Olga Broumas, a poet from Eugene, Oregon, and winner of the Yale Younger Poets' Prize, and Valerie Miner, a writer of working-class fiction from San Francisco who is active in The Feminist Writers' Guild, read from their current works of poetry and fiction, linking the themes of mothers and daughters in contrasting and complementary ways. Kate Millett joined us and closed the program with a reading of BASEMENT. The coming together of writers from the two coasts for this momentous national event created an intense feeling of solidarity and a commonality of vision whose energy still infuses our spirit. Through the Houston Conference, the Woman's Salon extended its network to writers in Texas, Wisconsin and Anchorage, Alaska, to cite just a few states whose personal response to our program was warmly appreciated by all of us present. We welcome our new members from all regions, territories, and states of our country. Our purpose in coming to Houston, in addition to our desire to extend our network and reclaim our voice in this nation's literary history by asking for equality of representation in all bodies that govern, judge and review literature, was to request the founding of an International Women's House of Culture(with museum, gallery, archive and performance spaces, with residencies in the arts for women and regular salon functions)so that American women in the arts will have a permanent space for documentation and celebration of their tradition, and so that they may form a link with women in the arts from around the world.

Enclosed is a brochure with our Members' List and with a subscription form for membership in 1978-79. We urge you all to resubscribe, for this is our major means of support. We thank you for your participation and support in the past and look forward to seeing you on December 17th and January 1st.

Dolores Brandon/Erika Duncan/Karen Malpede/Carole Spearin McCauley/ Gloria Feman Orenstein (alias G. O'Stein)

National Women's Conference, Seneca Falls South Stage

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