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Eileen Tabios: From Barnard to hay(na)ku

Early Life and Barnard

Born in Baguio City, Philippines in 1960, Eileen Tabios ’82 spent her early childhood there before moving to California at ten years old. According to her mother Beatriz Tilan Tabios, Tabios was a writer from the age of five, when she made her first book (which she would recreate many years later after switching career paths to become a full-time writer). Her mother was a writer as well, and admired how Tabios’ passion for writing developed and flourished as she grew up: she edited her high school’s newspaper, entered essay contests, and when she came to Barnard she wrote for and was on the production staff of the Bulletin. She also was on the literary staff of the 1982 edition of Mortarboard.

From Barnard to Banking

After receiving her bachelors degree in Political Science from Barnard, Tabios spent a short time working at the New York Times before switching her career path to focus on business. She got a job on Wall Street, and then went back to school to get an M.B.A. in Economics and International Business from New York University’s Stern School of Business. She worked as a banker, stock market analyst, and economist until, at age thirty-five, she decided to resign from her position as vice-president of Union Bank in Switzerland and shift gears back to her lifelong love: writing.

Transcoloniality and hay(na)ku: Becoming a Prolific Writer and Artist

Tabios dove into the literary scene in 1995, publishing one chapbook and three books (one poetry collection and two prose anthologies) by 1999. Since then, she has published over 60 collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental biographies. For a full list of her publications, see her website. In addition to her books, she founded and is the editor for GALATEA RESURRECTS (A POETRY ENGAGEMENT), an online poetry review journal, as well as THE HALO-HALO REVIEW/Mangozine. She also runs Meritage Press (and its miniature imprint: Minitage Editions) and is the gallery director of North Folk Arts Projects.

THE HALO-HALO REVIEW/Mangozine and North Folk Arts Projects in particular focus on Filipino artists and authors. Tabios discusses the implications of language and her Filipino-American identity in an interview with Jeffrey Side:

I was born in the Philippines which was colonized by the United States. Through that colonization, English became the widespread language across the archipelago, becoming the language of education, business, politics and so on. As someone educated in English in the Philippines, as well as an emigrant to the U.S. at age 10, English is the only language in which I’m fluent. For me, it’s impossible to write poetry in English without addressing its colonial past. This translates to me wanting to write English poems in non-traditional or non-normative ways, to not limit my poems to English’s role as communication because it was through communication that colonization occurred. This lends itself to my poems turning surrealistic, fragmented, elliptical, visual, abstract, and other ways that transcend the dictionary definition of words. I’ve been called an “experimental poet”, as a result. But I’m really being my own version of transcolonial—not quite the same as postcolonial in that I don’t wish to be bound by the post-ness of colonialism; I also want to transcend or go beyond that past. I believe, and this would be logical if so, I coined that word “transcolonial” for this descriptive purpose.

Tabios’ uses technology to create and translate her transcolonial work. For example, she created the MDR Poetry Generator, which uses a database containing lines of her poetry to create new poems (many of which Tabios has gone on to publish). The inspiration for this project comes from what Tabios calls “‘Babaylan Poetics’—a poetics based on indigenous Filipino practices.” She notes in an essay about the generator:

I wanted to deepen my interrogation (and disruption) of English which had facilitated twentieth-century US colonialism in my birthland, the Philippines. Finally, I wanted to develop a consciously closer link to the Filipino indigenous value of “Kapwa.” “Kapwa” refers to “shared self” or “shared identity” whereby everyone and everything is connected.

Aside from Tabios’ self-started projects, she also curates, edits, and contributes to other journals and projects. Collaboration is a large part of her work, and her influence on the world of writing and art is significant. She even invented her own form of poetry: the hay(na)ku. In an interview on the blog Writing like an Asian, Tabios explains the origins of the name: “The form’s name is a pun off of the Filipino exclamation ‘Hay naku’ which is used in a variety of situations in the same way as the English ‘Oh.'” The hay(na)ku consists of a tercet, in which the first line is one word, the second line is two words, and the third line is three words. Sometimes poets will write “reverse hay(na)ku”s where the order is switched (three words, two words, one word).

However, writing is not Tabios’ only art form. She also has created many visual art pieces, including collages, photographs, and visual poetry installations. She mixes genre and form to create pieces such as ALPHABET: HAY(NA)KU DRAWINGS W/ POEM FOR RIMBAUD, a miniature book with drawings and poetry inside. She also created the poetry exchange Moi Community Bookshelf in 2016, encouraging connection through poetry across the internet.

Honors, awards, and how to read more!

Tabios has received recognition for her talent and creativity, in the form of the PEN Open Book Award, the Potrero Nuevo Fund Prize, the PEN Oakland–Josephine Miles National Literary Award, the Philippines’ Manila Critics Circle National Book Award for Poetry, and a Witter Bynner Poetry Grant.

For more on Tabios’ writing, projects, and/or her interest in miniature books, check out her blog and website.

-Sarah Barlow-Ochshorn ’20 and Jenna Jaquez ’20

Sources

Barnard Bulletin. Barnard College Archives. http://digitalcollections.barnard.edu/collections/barnard-bulletin?cq=catch_all_fields_mt%3A%28%22tabios%22%29&display=grid&islandora_solr_search_navigation=0. Accessed 23 May 2020.

Barnard College. Mortarboard. New York, NY, 1995. Barnard College Archives. http://digitalcollections.barnard.edu/islandora/object/bc:yearbook-1982#page/1/mode/2up. Accessed 23 May 2020.

“Eileen Tabios – Eileen Tabios Biography.” Poem Hunter. http://www.poemhunter.com/eileen-tabios/biography/. Accessed 9 April 2020.

“Eileen Tabios.” Gale Literature: Contemporary Authors, Gale, 2006. Gale In Context: Biography, https://link-gale-com.ezproxy.cul.columbia.edu/apps/doc/H1000167880/BIC?u=columbiau&sid=BIC&xid=4eadf853. Accessed 23 May 2020.

“Eileen R. Tabios.” Poetry Foundation. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/eileen-r-tabios. Accessed 23 May 2020.
Tabios, Beatriz Tilan. “My Daughter Eileen: A Story of Respect.” Our Own Voice: Beyond Homeland. January 2015. http://www.oovrag.com/oovnew/daughter-eileen-story-respect/.
Tabios, Eileen R. Eileen R. Tabios. https://eileenrtabios.com/. Accessed 23 May 2020.
Tabios, Eileen R. Interview by Jeffrey Side. The Argotist Online. https://www.argotistonline.co.uk/Tabios%20interview.htm. Accessed 9 April 2020.
Tabios, Eileen R. Interview “Feature: Five Qs with Eileen R. Tabios.”  Writing like an Asian. January 2014. http://writinglikeanasian.blogspot.com/2014/01/five-qs-with-eileen-tabios.html. Accessed 23 May 2020. 
Tabios, Eileen R. “My First Book.” Marsh Hawk Press. https://marshhawkpress.org/eileen-r-tabios-my-first-book/. Accessed 23 May 2020.
Tabios, Eileen R. “Murder death resurrection: Another way for poetry.” Jacket 2. 20 June 2019, http://jacket2.org/poems/murder-death-resurrection. Accessed 23 May 2019.
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Alums Biography

Asali Solomon: Returning to Home in her Writing

Early Life

Asali Solomon was born in the 1970s; she jokes that, “like the Fresh Prince of Bel Air I am West Philadelphia born and raised.” Her family members were very involved with activism in the community and also within a greater Black nationalism movement. This led to a different experience in her childhood than her peers had. Her parents did not believe in what Solomon describes in an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer staff writer Samantha Melamed as “certain types of American rhetoric, the idea of the American dream as something that was available to everyone.” Instead, they resisted the expected assimilation into Euro-American whiteness. 

Solomon ended up attending a private school in Bryn Mawr, PA named the Baldwin School. She would later write on the staunch divide that existed between the perspective she had grown up in and that of her white classmates. In her essay titled “Black History,” she writes: “none of my white classmates emerged from fifth-grade English aware that I was an alien invader on their shiny, cold planet, a planet where I would feel marginal-to-invisible for five hard years—or that they were greedy one-eyed giants who’d enslaved the Africans and massacred the Indians, and sat down every Thanksgiving to feast about it.”

Solomon moved to New York City after graduating from the Baldwin School to attend Barnard College. While at Barnard, she wrote articles for Soul Sister and the Barnard Bulletin on topics involving black culture, womanhood, and artistic expression. She was also a copy editor for the Bulletin. She was also involved in organizing a cafe, named “Strangefruit” after Billie Holiday’s reverential song, on campus featuring art by Black, Latinx, Caribbean, and Asian students.

Beyond Barnard

After graduating from Barnard College in 1995 with a major in Pan-African studies, Solomon attended the University of California Berkeley where she received her doctoral degree in English. She then continued her education by earning a master’s degree in fiction from the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa. 

Solomon published her first book, Get Down, in 2006. The collection of short stories is centered on the main two understandings of “get down”—getting down when there is a shooter and getting down at a party—through the stories of young African Americans in West Philadelphia. Danielle Evans from NPR’s “All Things Considered” notes that Solomon’s book “understand[s] the degree to which race and racial identity are so often about performance… Race is one thematic link of the collection.”

Four years after publishing Get Down, Solomon returned to West Philadelphia with her husband. She became a visiting professor at Haverford College in 2010, where she currently teaches fiction writing, Caribbean literature, and African American literature as Associate Professor and Chair of English. She is also Director of Creative Writing there. 

In 2015 Solomon published her second book (and first novel) Disgruntled. The novel, set in Philadelphia, deals with themes of family, place, and incarceration.

-Jenna Jaquez ‘20

Sources

“Asali Solomon.” 2018. In Contemporary Black Biography. Vol. 145. Detroit, MI: Gale.  http://link.gale.com/apps/doc/K1606008244/BIC?u=columbiau&sid=zotero&xid=33e3f5aa.

“Asali Solomon | Haverford College.” n.d. Accessed May 13, 2020.  https://www.haverford.edu/users/asolomon.

Barnard Bulletin. Barnard College Archives. Accessed May 19, 2020.  https://digitalcollections.barnard.edu/bulletin

Barnard College. Barnard. Spring 1983. Barnard College Archives. Accessed April 9, 2020. http://digitalcollections.barnard.edu/object/10405/barnard-alumnae-spring-1983#page/6/mode/2up

Barnard College. Mortarboard. New York, NY: 1995. Barnard College Archives. Accessed May 19, 2020. http://digitalcollections.barnard.edu/islandora/object/bc:yearbook-1995#page/1/mode/2up

Byrd, Ayana. “Strangefruit inaugurated with music and poetry.” Barnard Bulletin. April 19, 1993: 8. Barnard College Archives. Accessed May 19, 2020. http://digitalcollections.barnard.edu/islandora/object/bc:bulletin-19930419-8

“Class Notes.” Barnard. Fall 1992: 27-54. Barnard College Archives. Accessed April 8, 2020. http://digitalcollections.barnard.edu/object/12128/barnard-alumnae-magazine-fall-1992#page/38/mode/2up/search/%22Asali+Solomon%22

Johnson-Valenzuela, Marissa. “A Superior Remix of That Divide: An Interview with Asali Solomon.” Apiary. December 10, 2015. http://www.apiarymagazine.com/the-hive/apiary-news/a-superior-remix-of-that-divide-an-interview-with-asali-solomon.

Melamed, Samantha. “Her West Philly childhood is stranger than fiction.” The Philadelphia Inquirer. March 17, 2015. https://www.inquirer.com/philly/living/20150318_Her_West_Philly_childhood_is_stranger_than_fiction.html

Solomon, Asali. “Asali Solomon.” Accessed May 19, 2020. http://www.asalisolomon.com/.

Solomon, Asali. “Black History.” The Paris Review. November 24, 2015. Accessed April 9, 2020. https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2015/11/24/black-history/

Solomon, Asali. “Renowned Research Center on Women Available to All.” Soul SisterMarch-April 1992: 7. Barnard College Archives. Accessed May 19, 2020. http://digitalcollections.barnard.edu/islandora/object/bc:soul-sister-1992-03#page/1/mode/2up

 

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Maria Hinojosa ’84

Hinojosa’s Early Years: From Barnard to CNN

Born in Mexico City in 1961, Maria de Lourdes Hinojosa was the youngest of four children. When she was one year old, her father moved her family to the United States, and Hinojosa spent her childhood in the south side of Chicago. While attending Barnard as an undergraduate, Hinojosa lived in Washington Heights. 

During her freshman year, Hinojosa participated in the Barnard dance department’s Program of Dance Works in Progress, in which she choreographed and danced in a piece called “Intrusion” with one of her peers. Hinojosa first became seriously invested in journalism while part of Barnard’s community. During her sophomore year, she spent her slot at WKCR celebrating her roots through having conversations with Spanish-speaking activists and sharing Latin American protest music in her show Nueva canción y De Más, which gained popularity as one of two national radio broadcasts highlighting the music genre la nuevo canión. Hinojosa spent six months traveling through Latin America, collecting music and conversations. In her junior year Fall, Hinojosa traveled to Cuba to record the Nueva Trova music festival on a trip funded by Columbia. The next summer, Hinojosa spent two weeks in Nicaragua and reflected on the experience in her article “Nicaragua: Reflections of A War-Torn Country,” which was published in the Barnard Bulletin. Hinojosa earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin American studies with minors in Political Science and Women’s Studies, graduating magna cum laude with the class of 1984.

Hinojosa’s career in broadcast journalism began immediately after college, when she took a position as a production assistant for National Public Radio in Washington, D.C. In 1987, she joined the staff of WCBS Radio and produced shows such as “Where We Stand” with Walter Cronkite, “The Osgood File,” and “Newsbreak.” From 1988 to 1989, she was a producer and researcher for CBS’s “This Morning.” Then, from 1990 to 1997, she worked for NPR and WNYC Radio as a general assignment correspondent, covering issues in the New York area and throughout the country. During this period, she also hosted WNYC-TV’s “New York Hotline,” a live, prime-time call-in show that addressed current and public affairs, as well as Visiones, a Latinx-oriented public-affairs talk show on WNBC-TV in New York. In May 1997, she joined the Cable News Network as a New York-based urban affairs correspondent. Throughout her career, she has maintained her affiliation with NPR as the founding anchor for Latino USA. Latino USA is a weekly national program that reports on news and culture in the Latinx community, for which she is now executive producer. Latino USA was one of the first public radio programs dedicated to covering content relevant to the American Latinx community and is now the longest-running radio show with such a focus. 

Among the major events that Hinojosa has covered on-location are the Crown Heights conflicts of 1991 and the 1995 trial of ten accused conspirators in the first attack on the World Trade Center. While covering the latter trial for NPR, Hinojosa received a request from an American literary group to cover the first American book fair ever held in Havana, Cuba. On her last day in Cuba, she traveled to the countryside to visit one of the rural sanatoriums where the Cuban government was quarantining AIDS patients. There, she met a teenage husband and wife named Javier and Mireya, members of the anti-establishment rockero subculture who had deliberately injected themselves with AIDS-tainted blood, hoping to secure a life of comfortable confinement inside a sanatorium. In the fourth chapter of her memoir Raising Raul: Adventures Raising Myself and My Son, Hinojosa describes her interview with the pair:

“We talked for two hours hidden under a tree in the middle of someone’s farm. Javier was afraid that if the police saw him talking to a reporter he might be harassed. They had self-injected, he told me as I listened sadly, because they were tired of being hassled by the police for being antisocial ‘rockeros.’ They explained that they had decided to get AIDS so they could get into the sanatoriums, where they knew they would be allowed to dress how they wanted, listen to the music they wanted, and have air-conditioning and food seven days a week.”

Hinojosa’s intrepid spirit continued to guide her where few other American journalists were prepared to venture, a path that only increased her professional reputation.

Hinojosa has received numerous awards and honors over the course of her career. In 1991, she won the Top Story of the Year Award as well as a Unity Award from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists for her NPR story about gang members, titled “Crews.” That same year, she won an Associated Press award for her coverage of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison for WNYC Radio. In 1993, she received both the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Radio Award and the New York Society of Professional Journalists Deadline Award for her NPR report “Kids and Guns.” In 1999, she received the Ruben Salazar Award from the National Council of La Raza. Named in honor of a journalist killed by a policeman’s tear gas projectile in 1970 while covering a Chicano march in East Los Angeles, the Salazar Award is given each year to an individual who has dedicated his or her life to promoting a positive portrayal of Latinx historical, political, economic, and cultural contributors to American society. The same year, she was named one of the 25 most influential working mothers in America by Working Mother magazine. In 1995, Hispanic Business magazine named her one of the 100 most influential Latinos in the United States, an award which she has since earned twice more, and she received the Robert F. Kennedy Award for “Manhood Behind Bars,” an NPR story that documented how jail time has become a rite of passage for men of all races.

1995 also saw the publication of Hinojosa’s first book, Crews: Gang Members Talk with Maria Hinojosa, which was based on her award-winning NPR report. Her critically acclaimed memoir, Raising Raul, which includes her reflections on life, career, and motherhood, was published in 1999.

In 2005, Hinojosa joined PBS’s NOW as a Senior Correspondent after spending eight years as the Urban Affairs Correspondent for CNN. She then went on to host her own show on PBS, Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One, which garnered two New England Emmy awards as well as an Imagen award for its empowering Latinx representation.

Hinojosa’s New Chapter: Harlem and Barnard Once Again

In 2010, Hinojosa founded the Futuro Media Group based in Harlem, Manhattan. Futuro Media Group’s focus is on sharing marginalized media stories. Their mission statement affirms this goal:

“Futuro Media is an independent nonprofit organization committed to producing ethical journalism from a POC perspective and representing the new American mainstream. Based in Harlem and founded in 2010 by award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa, our multimedia journalism explores and gives a critical voice to the diversity of the American experience. We are dedicated to telling stories from perspectives often overlooked.”

Futuro Media Group produces NPR’s Latino USA, as well as PBS’s docuseries America By The Numbers with Maria Hinojosa and Humanizing America, and the political podcast In The Thick. Futuro has received five grants from the prestigious MacArthur Foundation. In 2015, Futuro’s Latino USA won a Peabody Award for its episode “Gangs, Murder and Migration in Honduras” which aired in 2014. 

Maria Hinojosa currently resides in Harlem, New York, with her family. She is a contributor to CBS Sunday Morning and rotating anchor for NPR Need to Know, as well as a recurring guest on MSNBC.

Throughout her wildly impressive and nearly three-decade-long career, Hinojosa has remained close to the Barnard community that so profoundly shaped her. In 1994, she was published in a Barnard College Collection, The Source of the Spring: Mothers Through the Eyes of Women Writers, an anthology that included her work in the company of other notable alumni such as Anna Quindelen and Mary Gordon. Hinojosa has returned to campus to speak on panels numerous times, most recently this past January. In 2008, Hinojosa received a Distinguished Alumna Award from Barnard College to recognize her outstanding achievements as a journalist and public figure. A decade later, in 2018, Hinojosa was the keynote speaker at Barnard’s Convocation ceremony. In August 2019, Maria Hinojosa was named Barnard College’s Inaugural Journalist-in-Residence. She is currently one year into her three year residency as a visiting professor, teaching and empowering current Barnard students through creative and journalistic writing. 

 

— Donald Glassman, updated by Olivia Treynor ‘23

 

Sources

“About.” The Futuro Media Group, 2020, www.futuromediagroup.org/about/.

A Program of Dance Works in Progress (1980); The Mortarboard 1985; and Barnard Honors Supplement 1985 (Barnard College Archives).

“Award-Winning Nonprofit Media Executive and Anchor Maria Hinojosa ’84 Joins Barnard College as Inaugural Journalist-in-Residence.” Barnard College, 28 Aug. 2019, barnard.edu/news/award-winning-nonprofit-media-executive-and-anchor-maria-hinojosa-84-joins-barnard-college.

Baker, Matthew Reed. “Barnard, Winter 2007.” Barnard, Winter 2007 , Barnard Digital Collections, 2007, digitalcollections.barnard.edu/object/16061/barnard-winter-2007#page/16/mode/2up.

Barnard College. “Cuban Travel Ban Lifted; Student Records Festival.” New York, NY: 1984. Barnard College Archives. http://digitalcollections.barnard.edu/islandora/object/bc:bulletin-19821208-1. Accessed 1 May 2020.

Barnard College. “Nicaragua: Observations of A War-Torn Country” New York, NY: 1984. Barnard College Archives. http://digitalcollections.barnard.edu/islandora/object/bc:bulletin-19840926-3. Accessed 1 May 2020.

Barnard College. “Barnard Magazine, Summer 1998.” New York, NY: 1998. Barnard College Archives. http://digitalcollections.barnard.edu/object/13563/barnard-summer-1998#page/32/mode/2up. Accessed 1 May 2020.

Barnard College. “Barnard Magazine, Summer 2009.” New York, NY: 2009. Barnard College Archives, 2009, digitalcollections.barnard.edu/object/16837/barnard-magazine-summer-2009#page/13/mode/2up/search/Hinojosa.

Byrne, Rick, and Carrie v. “Award-Winning Journalist and Author Maria Hinojosa Joins PBS Newsmagazine ‘NOW’ as Senior Correspondent.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 7 Aug. 2005, http://www.pbs.org/about/blogs/news/award-winning-journalist-and-author-maria-hinojosa-joins-pbs-newsmagazine-now-as-senior-correspondent-august-8-2005/.

“Futuro Media Group Grants.” RSS, 2018, http://www.macfound.org/grantees/1656/.

Hinojosa, Maria. Raising Raul: Adventures Raising Myself and My Son. New York: Viking, 1999.

“Latino USA Host Maria Hinojosa Wins NCLR’s Ruben Salazar Award.” Latino USA: Press Release, July 7, 1999. Retrieved October 17, 2001 from the World Wide Web: <http://www.latinousa.org/pressrelease/mhinojosa.html>.

“Maria Hinojosa.” CNN.com: Anchors & Correspondents. Retrieved October 17, 2001 from the World Wide Web: <http://www.cnn.com/CNN/anchors_reporters/hinojosa.maria.html>.

“Maria Hinojosa.” The Futuro Media Group, 2020, http://www.futuromediagroup.org/maria-hinojosa/.

“The Series: Maria Hinojosa NOW on PBS.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 2010, http://www.pbs.org/now/series/hinojosa.html.

 

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Edwidge Danticat, Risk Taker and Writer

Edwidge Danticat ’90 is a celebrated and internationally renowned author known for her fearlessness and innovation in writing. A jack of all trades, Danticat’s career spans success in criticism, translation, literature, and film. Danticat has published six novels to date, as well as numerous articles and the acclaimed memoir, Brother, I’m Dying (2007). Her short stories have graced the pages of the New Yorker and the Washington Post, and she has worked as a writer for two films, Poto Mitan (2009) and Girl Rising (Haiti) (2003). A MacArthur Genius Grant winner and three-time National Book Critics Circle Award nominee, Danticat has emerged over the past two decades of her career as a well-established voice amongst that of the most groundbreaking and recognized contemporary authors.

Born in 1969 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Danticat was raised by her aunt while her parents lived in New York City. The early period in her life instilled in Danticat a love and regard for Haitian culture which she has carried with her throughout her career. At the age of nine, she wrote her first story in her native Creole. 

At twelve years of age, Danticat moved to New York and was enrolled in a magnet school in Brooklyn that prepared students for medical careers. Wishing his daughter to become self-sufficient and successful, her father encouraged her to be a nurse, but Danticat’s love for literature remained unfazed. Writing was a source of solace and means of expression during her high school years, a period in which she was extremely shy and found it difficult to assimilate to the fast-paced Americanness with which she was confronted. In her last two years of high school, some of her writing was published in local newspapers. The idea for Danticat’s first novel began to emerge through a piece published in New Youth Connections which evolved into a short story and basis for Breath, Eyes, Memory. 

In the fall of 1986, Danticat entered Barnard College, where her skills as a writer were nurtured and refined. Her father’s goal for Danticat to become a nurse was overcome with the passion she developed for writing while studying in Morningside Heights. While balancing a full-time course load and an on-campus job at the Office of Admissions, Danticat still found time for her most beloved activity. She presented the first part of Breath, Eyes, Memory in a creative writing class at Barnard as an essay about her life. By the end of her senior year, Danticat had completed the first seventy pages of what would become her debut novel. Danticat graduated from Barnard magna cum laude in May 1990 with a B.A. in French, counting among her honors the Helen Prince Memorial Prize, the Howard M. Teichmann Writing Prize, and membership in Phi Beta Kappa.

Danticat went on to graduate school at Brown University, where she continued to improve her craft. Her senior thesis at Brown ended up becoming the basis for her first novel. The manuscript was promptly discovered by Soho Press, and her graduation from Brown with an M.F.A. in creative writing coincided with the publication of Breath, Eyes, Memory in 1994. Danticat’s innovative first novel, which draws on the lives and stories of four generations of Haitian women, was well received and hailed as a landmark representation of Haitian culture from a new and dynamic perspective. Jordana Hart wrote of Danticat’s work in the Boston Globe, “Her story gives voice, depth, and anguish to the loving, bittersweet ties that bind her to her circle of women … Breath, Eyes, Memory paints a rich portrait of a lush countryside, cane fields, rainwater baths … and illuminates the beauty and family life of Haiti.”

In 1995, Danticat’s second book was published by Soho Press. Titled Krik? Krak!, the collection of short stories, some of which were conceived and written during her year working in Barnard’s financial aid office after graduating, painted a portrait of the lives of Haitians and Haitian-Americans during times of political unrest and upheaval. Danticat had a special focus on women’s lives across divisions of age and class, the relationships among whom are at the core of Danticat’s fiction. Danticat spoke of her personal urgency to articulate women’s issues, as she is quoted in one of her interviews, stating, “In Haitian culture, women are taught to be silent, but I must write.” In the epilogue to Krik? Krak!, Danticat wrote:

“The women in your family have never lost touch with one another. Death is a path we all take to meet on the other side. What goddesses have joined, let no one cast asunder. With every step you take, there is an army of women watching over you. We are never any farther than the sweat on your brows, the dust on your toes.”

Praise for Krik? Krak! matched, if not exceeded, that earned by her first novel. In 1995, Danticat received the Pushcart Short Story Prize for “Between the Pool and the Gardenias,” a part of the collection Krik? Krak!. Her book was also a finalist for the National Book Award, making Danticat the youngest writer ever nominated for the honor. In addition, Danticat was also given the 1995 Woman of Achievement Award from Barnard and selected as one of the twenty best young American novelists in 1996 by Granta.

Off the heels of the extraordinary recognition earned by her first two works, Danticat’s third book, The Farming of Bones, was published in 1997. Her novel explores the economic, political, and social situations leading up to the 1937 massacres in Haiti on the orders of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo.

In 1998, one year after the publication of The Farming of Bones, Danticat appeared as a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss Breath, Eyes, Memory, which had been selected for Oprah’s Book Club. Danticat’s appearance on Oprah simultaneously brought her celebrity status and a much broader audience than her works had previously enjoyed. Meanwhile, her literary stature was reaffirmed by the 1999 American Book Award for The Farming of Bones.

In 2004, Danticat’s The Dew Breaker was published by Penguin Random House, becoming a national bestseller and Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. A series of interconnected short stories, The Dew Breaker was a stylistically innovative and remarkable novel that spans Port-au-Prince and Brooklyn and numerous lives. Three years after its publication, Danticat wrote Brother, I’m Dying!, an autobiographical memoir of family that discusses her adolescence in Haiti, her transition to life in New York, and the book’s present with Danticat in Miami with her dying father. Nominee for the National Book Award and Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, Danticat’s memoir garnered great critical enthusiasm and firmly established Danticat’s prestige amongst contemporary authors. Since the success of her memoir, Danticat has published two more works of nonfiction, Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work (2011), and The Art of Death (2017). The former reflects on her identity as an artist and immigrant from a country embroiled in conflict, while the latter is a more abstract reflection on death and the literature that has attempted to articulate it.

Since the success of 2004’s The Dew Breaker, Danticat has authored two more fiction works. Her novel Claire of the Sea Light was published in 2013 and named a Notable Book of the Year by both The New York Times Book Review and The Washington Post, as well as being honored as an NPR “Great Read” and named a finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Most recently, Everything Inside was published in 2019, garnering Danticat her third National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction nominee and second win. 

In addition to Danticat’s decorated career as an author and novelist, Danticat has taught creative writing at New York University and worked with Jonathan Demme (creator of the film versions of Beloved and The Silence of the Lambs) on Courage and Pain (1994), a documentary about her native country of Haiti.

Danticat remains closely connected with Barnard, having returned as a distinguished guest speaker on multiple occasions, including the 1997 Helen Rogers Reid Lecture on the topic of “Migration and the Literary Imagination.” In 2011, Danticat was the first speaker of Barnard’s Africana Studies Program’s Distinguished Alumnae Series. In 2019, Danticat returned to campus as the keynote speaker for the Barnard Organization of Soul Sister’s Annual “Family Dinner.” This past February, Danticat spoke on a panel of first-generation Barnard authors alongside other novelists Mary Gordon ‘71, Mary Beth Keane ‘99 and Cecily Wong ‘10 for the event “Coming to Barnard: First-Generation Writers Talk about Learning Their Art.” 

 

In 2000, Danticat received the high honor of being asked to write the foreword to the new HarperCollins edition of Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston ’28. A year later, one of Danticat’s short stories was selected for inclusion in Mothers Through the Eyes of Women Writers: A Barnard College Collection. This anthology of stories, all of which are written by Barnard alumnae and compiled by former Barnard President Judith R. Shapiro, focuses on intergenerational relationships among women of many cultures. In 2009, Danticat was honored with the MacArthur Genius Grant. This year, Danticat was honored with the 2020 Vilcek Prize in Literature. Danticat continues to inspire readers through her ability to illuminate both the harmony and the conflict between different cultures in the same land. At the root of Danticat’s art will always be her passion for the fearless craft of writing, for as she observes in Create Dangerously, “Create dangerously, for people who read dangerously. This is what I’ve always thought it meant to be a writer. Writing, knowing in part that no matter how trivial your words may seem, someday, somewhere, someone may risk his or her life to read them.” 

— Stephanie Pahler ’05, updated by Olivia Treynor ‘23

Sources

Atanasoski, Neda. “Edwidge Danticat.” Voices from the Gaps: Women Writers of Color. Last updated February 23, 1998. Retrieved November 9, 2001 from the World Wide Web: <http://voices.cla.umn.edu/authors.EdwidgeDanticat.html>.

Barnard College Graduates Honors and Awards, October 25, 1989, February 14, 1990, and May 16, 1990; and The Mortarboard 1990 (Barnard College Archives).

Danticat, Edwidge. Breath, Eyes, Memory.  New York: Soho Press, 1994.

Danticat, Edwidge. Brother, I’m Dying. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007.

Danticat, Edwidge. Krik? Krak! New York: Soho Press, 1995.

Danticat, Edwidge. The Farming of Bones. New York: Soho Press, 1998.

Danticat, Edwidge. “The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat – Reading Guide: 9781400034291 – PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books.” PenguinRandomhouse.com, Knopf, http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/36742/the-dew-breaker-by-edwidge-danticat/9781400034291/readers-guide/.

“Edwidge Danticat.” Edwidge Danticat, 2020, edwidgedanticat.com/.

“Edwidge Danticat ’90.” Barnard College, 16 July 2019, barnard.edu/news/edwidge-danticat-90.

“Edwidge Danticat.” Authors and Artists for Young Adults, Vol. 29. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, 1999. Retrieved November 5, 2001 from the World Wide Web: <http://www.galegroup.com/freresrc/blkhstry.danticat.htm>.

“Edwidge Danticat.” The New York Immigrant Achievement Awards: 2000 Honorees. Retrieved November 9, 2001 from the World Wide Web: <http://www.ailf.org/notable/iaa/ny2000/danticat.htm>.

Hart, Jordanna. “Debut Novel Reveals Haiti’s Heart.” Boston Globe, August 12, 1994, p. 53.

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: HarperCollins, 2000.

Kerlee, Ime. “Edwidge Danticat.” Emory University: Postcolonial Studies. Last updated December 20, 2000. Retrieved November 9, 2001 from the World Wide Web: <http://www.emory.edu/ENGLISH/Bahri/Danticat.html>.

“Oprah’s Book Club: Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat.” Oprah.com. Retrieved November 9, 2001 from the World Wide Web: <http://www.oprah.com/obc/pastbooks/edwidge_danticat>.

Shapiro, Judith R., ed. Mothers Through the Eyes of Women Writers: A Barnard College Collection. Berkeley, CA: Conari Press, 2001.

Suchodolski, Veronica. “Way Back Wednesday: Edwidge Danticat ’90.” Barnard College, 19 Feb. 2019, barnard.edu/news/way-back-wednesday-edwidge-danticat-90.

 

Categories
Alums Biography Uncategorized

Alyssa Mt. Pleasant: Haudenosaunee Historian

“I don’t think we can understand how we got to where we are as a nation without an understanding of American Indian history.”

-Alyssa Mt. Pleasant, ’97

Early Life and Barnard

Alyssa Mt. Pleasant grew up in Syracuse, NY. She’s Tuscarora (one of the six Haudenosaunee nations) from her father’s side, and has had a vested interested in Indigenous issues from a young age. As Sarah Sweeney notes in a Radcliffe Magazine interview, Mt. Pleasant “was always cognizant of her hometown’s location within the traditional homelands of the Onondaga Nation.”

Mt. Pleasant came to Barnard in the mid 1990s for her undergraduate degree. During her time there, she was chair of the newly founded Native American Council. She helped raise awareness at Barnard about Native American history, culture, and presence at the school and across the country. She graduated in 1997 cum laude with a major in history.

Taking Charge in her Discipline

In an interview with Tanya H. Lee of Indian Country Today, Mt. Pleasant notes that while pursuing her interest in history and Native American and Indigenous studies, she:

“realized that one of the most productive ways I could address my frustrations regarding the absence of Native history courses and the shortage of Native perspectives in the classroom was by becoming a professor myself.”

So, after a brief time as a legal assistant, Mt. Pleasant went to get her PhD in History and Indian American Studies at Cornell University. She graduated in 2005 with her dissertation “After the Whirlwind: Maintaining a Haudenosaunee Place at Buffalo Creek, 1780-1825.” Mt. Pleasant’s PhD work allowed her to attain various professorships and fellowships in the following years, so that she could do the work of expanding and raising awareness around the fields of Native American and Indigenous studies in academia and beyond.

Post-PhD

In an interview with Mary Annette Pember for Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, Mt. Pleasant comments on education around Indigenous histories in the United States:

“Our school system has done a disservice to American citizens by not sharing more information about American Indian history,” she says. “My challenge is to offer them a basic understanding of the contours of that history.”

Mt. Pleasant has accepted that challenge and taken it even further. One year after she graduated from Cornell (during that year she was a Post-Graduate Associate at the Howard R. Lamar Center for the Study of Frontiers and Borders), she started to help build up the Native American Studies program at Yale as an Assistant Professor in the American Studies Program of the History Department. In addition to her pedagogical work at Yale, Mt. Pleasant was a Research Associate at the The McNeil Center for Early American Studies, and published two papers: “Indians Playing Lacrosse on Ice”​ (2008) and “Debating Missionary Presence at Buffalo Creek: Haudenosaunee Perspectives on land cessions, government relations, and Christianity” (2008).

Mt. Pleasant left Yale for her current position as an Assistant Professor of Native American Studies at the University at Buffalo (SUNY), where she coordinates the Haudenosaunee-Native American Studies Research Group within the University at Buffalo’s Humanities Institute. In 2015-2016, she was selected to be a Research Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, where she participated in their Initiative on Native and Indigenous Peoples. During her time at the University at Buffalo, Mt. Pleasant has published numerous papers, including her most recent “Materials and Methods in Native American and Indigenous Studies: Completing the Turn,” with Caroline Wigginton and Kelly Wisecup, and “Emotional Labor and Precarity in Native American and Indigenous Studies.” For a more complete list of publications, check out her page on the University at Buffalo’s website.

She has also acted as a council member of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, where, among other roles and responsibilities, she co-chaired the 2012 NAISA conference.

Looking Ahead

Mt. Pleasant continues to present her research at scholarly conferences and talks around the country, and she helps museums by using her expertise to consult on their exhibits. She is revising her manuscript “After the Whirlwind: Haudenosaunee People and the Emergence of U.S. Settler-coloniailsm, 1780-1825,” and continues to teach, conduct research, and write. Her primary focus is on Haudenosaunee history during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but expands beyond that into early American history, settler colonialism, public history, and more. You can keep up to date on her work by following her on Twitter @BettyRbl! Be sure to check out her #roadsidemarker series.

Honors and Awards

While at Cornell, Mt. Pleasant received numerous awards and fellowships, including the Cunningham Fellowship, the David L. Call Achievement Award, the Maisel Research Grant, the Gilmore Fellowship, and the Frances Allen Fellowship.

During her time at Yale, she received the Association of Native Americans at Yale Community Award, Morse Faculty Fellowship, and the School for Advanced Research Short Seminar.

Since she’s taken a position as an Assistant Professor at the University at Buffalo, Mt. Pleasant has received the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship, Harvard University; a Grant-in-aid from Great Lakes Research Alliance for the Study of Aboriginal Arts and Culture (an SSHRC Partnership Development Grant) to participate in “Negotiating Schooling and Literacies in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, 1750-1900” research group; a Grant-in-aid from Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, University of British Columbia to participate in International Research Seminar “Smiling to their Faces: Race, Emotional Labour, and the University,”; and a Grant-in-aid from Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University to participate in Accelerator Workshop “Structural Tenderness: Race, Emotional Labour, and the University.”

-Sarah Barlow-Ochshorn ’20

Sources

Alyssa Mt. Pleasant, et al. “Materials and Methods in Native American and Indigenous Studies: Completing the Turn.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 75, no. 2, 2018, pp. 207–236. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5309/willmaryquar.75.2.0207. Accessed 9 April  2020.
“Alyssa Mt. Pleasant.” Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Harvard University. https://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/people/alyssa-mt-pleasant. Accessed 15 April 2020.
“Alyssa Mt. Pleasant.” University at Buffalo Department of Transnational Studies. https://arts-sciences.buffalo.edu/transnational-studies/faculty/faculty-directory.host.html/content/shared/arts-sciences/transnational-studies/faculty-staff/faculty-profiles/mt-pleasant-alyssa.html. Accessed 9 April 2020.

Barnard College. Mortarboard. New York, NY: 1996. Barnard College Archives. http://digitalcollections.barnard.edu/islandora/object/bc:yearbook-1996#page/210/mode/2up. Accessed 9 April  2020.

Barnard College. Mortarboard. New York, NY: 1997. Barnard College Archives. http://digitalcollections.barnard.edu/islandora/object/bc:yearbook-1997#page/98/mode/2up. Accessed 15 April  2020.

Costantini, Cristina. “Why Some Native Americans Can Laugh About Thanksgiving.” ABC News. 21 November 2012 .https://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/native-americans-laugh-thanksgiving/story?id=17780374. Accessed 9 April 2020.

Lee, Tanya H. “5 More Native Women Who Know Their History.” Indian Country Today 30 March 2016. https://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/news/in-news/5-more-native-women-who-know-their-history. Accessed 9 April  2020.

Mt. Pleasant, Alyssa. “Emotional Labor and Precarity in Native American and Indigenous Studies.” English Language Notes, vol. 54 no. 2, 2016, p. 175-181. Project MUSE muse.jhu.edu/article/711452. Accessed 9 April 2020.

Mt. Pleasant, Alyssa. “Alyssa Mt. Pleasant.” Linkedin. https://www.linkedin.com/in/alyssamtpleasant/. Accessed 9 April 2020.

Pember, Mary Annette. “Getting to Know: Alyssa Mt. Pleasant.” Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. 29 November 2007. https://diverseeducation.com/article/10288/. Accessed 9 April 2020.

Staab, Deborah M. “Class Notes.” Barnard: Spring 2005: 32-63. Barnard College Archives. http://digitalcollections.barnard.edu/islandora/object/BC11-08:15540#page/62/mode/2up. Accessed 9 April 2020.

Sweeney, Sarah. “On the Trail of the Haudenosaunee: RADCLIFFE FELLOW ALYSSA MT. PLEASANT IS UNCOVERING THE HISTORY OF BUFFALO CREEK.” Radcliffe Magazine. Summer 2016. https://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/news/radcliffe-magazine/trail-haudenosaunee. Accessed 15 April 2020.

 

Categories
Special Collections Uncategorized

Sabra Moore at the MoMA

In December 2019, I visited the newly-reopened MoMA. Gallery 205 – “Print, Fold, Send” features the Reconstructed Codex (photocopier edition), a work created by Sabra Moore and nineteen collaborators (including Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, Emma Amos, Camille Billops, Nancy Spero, Virginia Jaramillo, and Helen Oji, among others). This work was created for Reconstruction Project, a January 1984 show at Artists’ Space curated by Moore. Reconstruction Project was a part of Artists Call Against U.S. Intervention in Central America (Artists Call), a 1984 series of shows, performances, and actions in response to the Reagan administration’s funding of the counterinsurgent Contras in Nicaragua and genocide of indigenous Maya peoples in Guatemala.

Case of small paper artworks

Moore discusses her curatorial and creative process in her memoir, Openings:

I was in the midst of reading books written during the Spanish conquest of the Americas. One was by the third bishop of the Yucatan, Diego de Landa, the seminal scholar for Maya studies and also the person who destroyed the codices in 1562. He described that auto-da-fe plainly and without apology: ‘We found a great number these books…and since they contained nothing but superstitions and falsehoods of the devil, we burned them all, which they [the Maya] took most grievously, and which gave them great pain.’ Only four Maya codices survived this conflagration.

How could a person who appreciated a culture choose destroy it? This historical event felt current to me … We could symbolically renew a codex, and, in the process, educate ourselves … I chose the Dresden Codex, named after the European city where it now resides, as the book to reconstruct. The accordion-shaped codex unfolds to thirteen feet; ours had the same dimensions. (Moore, Openings, 99)

In addition to the large-scale Reconstructed Codex, the Reconstruction Project show included large wall-hung works by participating artists. The photocopier edition now on view at the MoMA was created after the show and was first exhibited at MoMA in 1988, in Committed to Print: Social & Political Themes in Recent American Art, curated by Deborah Wye.

Sabra Moore was also involved in another MoMA re-opening, just months after Reconstruction Project, in June 1984, when she co-organized the Women Artists Visibility Event (W.A.V.E.) / Let MOMA Know protest. This action protested the re-opening of MoMA after a year of renovations with An International Survey of Recent Painting and Sculpture, which featured 14 women artists among 165 artists total, almost all of them white. This was not the first protest at MoMA, nor was it Moore’s first time planning a protest.

Two people holding a banner reading MOMA – Do Only White Men Make Art?”
Susan Miller (left) and Maria Elena Gonzalez (right) holding banner “MOMA – Do Only White Men Make Art?” Photographer: Clarissa Sligh
Two people talking in front of a crowd
Sabra Moore (left) talking to Lucy Lippard (right). Photographer: Clarissa Sligh
Person wearing a sash in front of a crowd
Emma Amos wearing “Nancy Spero” sash (left). Photographer: Clarissa Sligh

You can learn more about Reconstruction Project; see a model MoMA with names and show cards of women artists from the Let MoMA Know project; learn more about feminist art worlds of New York City in the later 20th century; and get acquainted with Sabra Moore’s curatorial work, her period as a counselor at Women’s Services (the first legal abortion clinic in NY), and her time producing Heresies as a member of the Heresies Collective from 1970-1991 in the Sabra Moore NYC Women’s Art Movement Collection, 1969-1996 at the Barnard Archives and Special Collections. Her memoir is also available through CLIO.

WORDY, a solo show of works by Sabra Moore from the same period as her archival collection at Barnard, will be open at the Barnard Archives Hope L. and John L. Furth Reading Room from March 23 – April 30, 2020. There will be an opening on March 25 and an artist talk on March 26th; more information will be shared on the Barnard Library website.

The full-size Reconstructed Codex will be on display in 2021 at the Tufts University Art Galleries, Boston in an exhibit on Artists Call titled Art for the Future: Artists Call and Central American Solidarity in the 1980s, co-organized by Erina Duganne and Abigail Satinsky.

— Martha Tenney

Further reading

Wikipedia articles on Sabra Moore and Let MoMA Know created at Barnard Library Wikipedia edit-a-thons

Moore, Sabra. Openings : A Memoir from the Women’s Art Movement, New York City 1970-1992. New York, NY: New Village Press, 2016. (catalog record in CLIO)

Sabra Moore NYC Women’s Art Movement Collection, 1969-1996; Barnard Archives and Special Collections, Barnard Library, Barnard College. Online finding aid.

Clarissa Sligh Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Online finding aid.

Artists Call Against U.S. Intervention in Central America : PAD/D pamphlet file : miscellaneous uncataloged material, Political Art Documentation & Distribution Archive, Museum of Modern Art Library. Catalog record.

Categories
Alums Biography

Senior Journalist: Herawati Diah

Meet the face of our newest alum pin, Herawati Diah ’41. To pick up a pin, stop by the Barnard Library!

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EARLY LIFE

Siti Latifah Herawati Diah was born on April 3, 1917 in Tanjung Pandan, Belitung. She was born into an upper-class priyayi family, granting her the opportunity of enjoying a high education and privileged, western lifestyle. Diah attended the Europeesche Lagere School in Salemba, Central Jakarta for primary school and later attended high school at the American High School in Tokyo. Influenced by her mother, Diah decided to further her studies in America while other intellectuals had their eyes set on either the Netherlands or Western Europe. Prior to attending Barnard, where “the seeds of her Journalism career take root, ” Diah studied English with a host family for two years. In 1941, Diah graduated from Barnard and became the first Indonesian woman to be academically trained abroad in a respected American university. She also completed a journalism course at Stanford University in the midst of her principal studies of sociology at Barnard and UC Berkley.

BEYOND BARNARD

Diah finally returned home to Indonesia in 1942, which was on the brink of war, and became a freelance reporter for the United Press International (UPI) newswire before taking on a position as announcer for Hosokyoku radio. She later married the legendary journalist Burhanuddin Mohammad “BM” Diah, who was working for the Asia Raya newspaper at the time, in that same year and had three children in 1945.

In 1968, BM Diah gained the role of minister of information, for which Diah quit journalism to pursue the new role by his side and represent Indonesia to the world. In pursuit of guarding her homeland’s culture, Diah led Borobudur Temple to being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and also established foundations, such as Indonesian Cultural Partners to protect treasures and textiles, Indonesian Women’s Association and others, which raised political awareness in women. She persistently continued to shed light on women’s concerns in the 1990s.

RECOGNITION

Diah and her husband were known as the giants of Indonesian journalism of the 1945 Generation, otherwise believe to be the nation’s “Greatest Generation,” along with Rosihan Anwar and Mochtar Lubis. Diah also founded The Indonesian Observer, Indonesia’s only English newspaper (until the 1960s) providing her people with a means to report their struggles, and launched it on the eve of the 1955 Asia-Africa Conference which was held in Bandung. Furthermore, Diah founded the Movement toward Education of Women Voters (Gerakan Perempuan Sadar Pemilu), now the Women’s Voice Empowerment Movement (Gerakan Pemberdayaan Swara Perempuan)–a movement to empower the voice of women,–aiming to provide political education for women to promote the use of their rights to vote according to their consciousness. Diah also earned recognition from then education minister Anies Baswedan for her contribution to promoting United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization programs in Indonesia.

Siti Latifah Herawati Diah passed away on September 30, 2016, at the humble age of 99.

PUBLICATIONS

An Endless Journey: Reflections of an Indonesian Journalist (2005)

QUOTES

“Journalism is a profession which is not only exciting, adventurous and sometimes even dangerous, but most of all satisfying because a journalist not only informs the public what is happening on the national or international level on a daily basis, but also she or he can influence the reader to choose what is best for them.”

“Be strong, eat healthy—but not too much—live well and sleep well with no worries.” – secrets to longevity.

“At most, please regard this book as a record of events in which I was involved.”

Aziza Rahman ’20

SOURCES

Collins, Gale G. “An Endless Journey: Reflections of an Indonesian Journalist.” Indonesiaexpat, Indonesiaexpat.biz, May 20, 2014, accessed July 9, 2018, http://indonesiaexpat.biz/travel/history-culture/an-endless-journey-reflections-of-an-indonesian-journalist/.

Firmanto, Danang. “Senior Journalist Herawati Diah Passes Away at 99.” Tempo.co, Tempo Inti Media Tbk, September 30, 2016, accessed July 9, 2018, https://en.tempo.co/read/news/2016/09/30/240808510/Senior-Journalist-Herawati-Diah-Passes-Away-at-99.

News Desk. “Senior journo Herawati Diah passes away.” The Jakarta Post, PT. Niskala Media Tenggara, September 30, 2016, accessed July 9,2018, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/09/30/senior-journo-herawati-diah-passes-away.html.

Sumayku, Jeannifer Filly. “A Journey of an Inspiring Woman: Herawati Diah.” The President Post,presidentpost.com, June 21, 2010, accessed July 9, 2018, http://en.presidentpost.id/2010/06/21/a-journey-of-an-inspiring-woman-herawati-diah/.

Categories
Alums Biography

Pulitzer Prize-winning Science Columnist: Natalie Angier

Meet the face of our newest alum pin, Natalie Angier ’78. To pick up a pin, stop by the Barnard Library!

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BRIEF SCOPE OF THE PAST

Natalie Angier was born on February 16, 1958 in New York City, and was raised in the Bronx and New Buffalo, Michigan. She attended the University of Michigan for two years before transferring to Barnard, where she graduated with high honors in 1978. As an undergrad, Angier studied English, physics, and astronomy.

BEYOND BARNARD

At the age of 22, Angier was hired as a founding staff member for Time Inc.’s science magazine, Discover which was first launched in 1980. For four years, she wrote articles about biology. She had also been a senior science columnist for the Time magazine, an editor at Savvy, and a professor at the New York University’s Graduate Program in Science and Environmental Reporting. In 1990, she landed a position working for The New York Times. She later became a columnist for Science Times in January 2007.

Angier’s publications include her first book Natural Obsessions (1988), The Beauty of the Beastly (1995), Woman: An Intimate Geography (1999) and The Canon: A Whirligig Tour through the Beautiful Basics of Science (2007).

RECOGNITION

Angier’s first book, Natural Obsessions (1988) was named a notable book of the year by The New York Times and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In addition, her third book, Woman: An Intimate Geography (1999) was a National Book Award finalist and her most recent book, “The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science” (2007), won the Robert P. Balles prize for critical thinking. Her books have been translated from eight to over 24 different languages.

Angier also won the Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for beat reporting. The submission consisted of ten features she wrote on topics ranging from scorpions to sexual infidelity in the animal kingdom among others. Her numerous other awards include the AAAS award for excellence in journalism, the Lewis Thomas Award for distinguished writing in the life sciences, the General Motors International award for writing about cancer, the Barnard Distinguished Alumna award and membership in the American Philosophical Society. She had also been awarded a top rating of four stars among seven other journalists by The Forbes MediaGuide, an appraisal of 500 U.S. journalists. Her writing has also made its way into The Atlantic, Smithsonian, National Geographic, The American Scholar, Parade, O magazine, Washington Monthly, Geo, Slate and many other print and online magazines. Moreover, her essays have been published in a number of anthologies, including “The Bitch in the House,” “Sisterhood Is Forever,” “The New Science Journalists” and “The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing.” She was also the editor of the 2002 edition of “The Best American Science and Nature Writing” and the 2009 edition of “The Best American Science Writing.”

In September of 2017, Angier interviewed Barnard’s new president, Sian Beilock, published in a Barnard news article called, “Beilock Unlocked: Pulitzer Prize-Winner Natalie Angier ’78 Interviews Barnard President.”

Angier now lives in Maryland, with her husband, Rick Weiss, a science writer for the Washington Post.

RESOURCES

Angier, Natalie. “But What About the Tooth Fairy, Mom? Raising a Healthy God-free Child in a Hopelessly God-struck Nation.” Freethought Today 20, no. 9 (2003) – Emperor Has No Clothes Award Winner

Aziza Rahman ’20

SOURCES

Edge Foundation. “Natalie Angier: Pulitzer prize winning science writer for The New York Times.” Edge, Edge Foundation, July 9, 2018, accessed July 9, 2018, https://www.edge.org/memberbio/natalie_angier.

The New York Times Company. “Natalie Angier.” The New York Times, The New York Times Company, accessed July 9, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/by/natalie-angier.

World Science Foundation. “Natalie Angier.” World Science Festival, World Science Foundation, accessed July 9, 2018, https://www.worldsciencefestival.com/participants/natalie_angier/.

Categories
Alums Biography

“A HEART for HARLEM”: Elizabeth Bishop Davis

Meet the face of our newest alum pin, Elizabeth Bishop Davis ’41. To pick up a pin, stop by the Barnard Library!

ElizabethBishopDavis

DAVIS’ BEGINNINGS

Elizabeth Bishop Davis was born on April 26, 1920 in New York City, where her dad, Rev. Shelton Hale Bishop, an Episcopal clergyman, was Rector of St. Philip’s
Church in Harlem. She graduated from Barnard College in 1941 and received her M.D. from the College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University, in 1949.

HARLEM’S FIRST MENTAL HEALTH CLINIC

As a first-year medical student in 1946, Davis launched Harlem’s first mental health facility, the LaFargue Clinic. The clinic was housed in the basement of the church and was conceived by novelist Richard Wright and psychotherapist Fredric Wertham.The clinic operated two evenings a week, during which volunteer psychiatrists and social workers counseled the predominantly African American patients. Service was free unless patients were able to cover the 25 cent fee per session.

LIFE AS DR. DAVIS

After graduating from P&S with “glowing assessments from the faculty,” Dr. Davis interned at Harlem Hospital, gaining early practical experience, and completed her residency at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia’s Psychoanalytic Clinic.” She was then hired as a therapist by the Harlem’s Northside Center for Child Development in 1953. No later, in 1955, she became a certified psychoanalyst from Columbia’s Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. Davis also maintained a private practice alongside her association with an outpatient clinic at Harlem Hospital throughout the 1950s. She later joined Columbia’s Clinical Faculty in 1957 and was appointed founding director of Harlem Hospital’s new Department of Psychiatry and assistant professor of clinical psychiatry in 1962. Moreover, she was considered for tenure a decade later. The director of Bellevue’s psychiatric division, Alexander Thomas, MD wrote:

“Under her initiative and guidance this service has become one of the outstanding service, teaching, and training centers in the city, able to recruit and retain high caliber staff and to develop innovative service and training programs,”

She also became a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in 1971 and a Professor Emerita later in 1978 after retiring from work at the hospital. By then, the Harlem’s Hospital Department of Psychiatry expanded to encompass an adult inpatient unit, a day hospital, a greatly expanded outpatient clinic with specialty clinics for alcohol and substance abuse, a geriatric clinic, a large social and vocational rehabilitation service, a children’s service with inpatient beds, a children’s day hospital with a public school and recreation program, and a fully accredited psychiatric residency training program.

Alongside her contributions to the field of medicine, she was also an honorary member of the Beth Israel Board of Trustees.

Dr. Davis died in New York City on February 1 of 2010 at the humble age of 89. She died a widow of former head of Beth Israel, Ray E. Trussell, MD.

REMEMBERING DR. DAVIS

In her more than 30-year psychiatry career, Davis pursued research in the use of psychoanalysis, addressing racial and income disparities in caring for the mentally ill, and community-based care, among other topics. Her papers include “Mental Health Services for the Inner City” and “Blacks as Psychiatrists: Psychiatrists as Blacks: Options for the Future,” and footage exists of a television segment that she participated in, “Can Psychiatry Help Reduce Racial Tensions?”

RESOURCES

To learn more about Elizabeth Bishop Davis Trussell, MD., visit The New York Public Library Archives at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division and Archives and Special collections at the Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). A collection of her work, which she donated to the University, are also in the Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library at Columbia University Medical Center.

Aziza Rahman ’20

SOURCES

Anne, Leslie. “Bishop/Carey Family Photo Album – Featuring Dr. Elizabeth Bishop Davis.” Lost Family Treasures, Blogger, May 26, 2011, accessed July 9, 2018, https://lostmementos.blogspot.com/2011/05/bishopcarey-family-photo-album.html.

Davis, Elizabeth Bishop M.D. “Elizabeth Davis Papers.” Archives & Special Collections, Columbia University Health Sciences Library, accessed July 9, 2018, http://library-archives.cumc.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/finding-aids/Davis%20web%20version.pdf.

Shapiro, Gary. “Ask Alma’s Owl: Community Mental Health.” Columbia News, Office of Communications and Public Affairs, November 15, 2017, accessed July 9, 2018, http://news.columbia.edu/bishopdavis.

Tregaskies, Sharon. “A Heart for Harlem: Elizabeth Bishop Davis, MD, 1920-2010.” Columbia Medicine, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Spring/Summer 2016, accessed July 9, 2018, http://www.columbiamedicinemagazine.org/features/spring-2016/women%E2%80%94long-denied-role-ps%E2%80%94helped-shape-medicine-20th-century.

 

Categories
Alums Biography

Novelist, Poet, Translator and Editor: Babette Deutsch

Meet the face of our newest alum pin, Babette Deutsch (1917). To pick up a pin, stop by the Barnard Library!

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Deutsch’s Beginnings

Deutsch was born in New York City on September 22, 1895 to German-Jewish parents Michael and Melanie (Fisher) Deutsch. After completing high school at the Ethical Culture School, Deutsch obtained her B.A. from Barnard College in 1917 and received an honorary D. Litt. from Columbia University. As an undergrad, Deutsch began publishing her poetry in magazines and journals, such as the New Republic. For a short period of time, Deutsch worked with the Political Science Quarterly, after graduation, and also wrote several critical essays, including one on Thorstein Veblen for Reedy’s Mirror, Marion Reedy’s one-man journal of opinion. This led to her landing a position as Veblen’s secretary while he taught at the New School for Social Research in New York City. She also published her first volume of poetry, entitled Banners, shortly thereafter, in 1919. She then published a second work of verse, Honey Out of a Rock, in 1925, dealing with many biblical themes and reflecting a Jewish cultural influence. It also incorporated imagism and pieces of Japanese haiku. In 1921, Deutsch married Avraham Yarmolinsky, a Russian-Jewish writer and chief of the Slavonic Division of The New York Public Library. He was also a translator himself, as well, much like Deutsch. The two had sons named Adam and Michael.

Together, the couple published translations of several Russian works in English. Futhermore, Deutsch, fluent in German also produced an English translation of the works of Rilke.

Success Story

Until 1962, Deutsch published 9 volumes of poetry, in addition to Banners (1919) and Honey Out of a Rock (1925), four novels, six volumes of children’s literature, five criticisms, four books of prose on poetry, and numerous translations, and edited Poems of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1967). Her volumes include Epistle to Prometheus(1931)Take Them, Stranger (1944)Coming of Age (1959), and Collected Poems, 1919-1962 1963. Among her novels are A Brittle Heaven (1926), In Such a Night (1927), Mask of Silenus (1933), and Rogue’s Legacy (1942), and criticisms are Potable Gold (1929), This Modern Poetry (1935), Poetry In Our Time (1952, 1956, 1963), and Poetry Handbook (1957, 1962, 1974). Her children’s literature consists of I Often Wish (1966) and Tales of Faraway Folk (1963).

With her husband, Deutsch also critiqued and translated three other works, Modern Russian Poetry (1921)Contemporary German Poetry (1923), and Two Centuries of Russian Verse (1966).

Aside from writing, editing, and translating, Deutsch was an active member of and contributor to her committee. She served the National Book Committee as a member of the advisory board, worked as a secretary for the PEN National Institute of Arts and Letters, and was chancellor for the Academy of American Poets. From 1960 to 1966, Deutsch was also a consultant at the Library of Congress. She also used her poetry as a means to pay homage to the Jewish community. She wrote verse about war to deal with her rage against the destruction and horror of World War II and make some sense out of the evils of humankind. In one of her poems, she wrote: “A sage once said the mind of God forgets/Evil that men remember having done, as it remembers/The good that men do and forget.”

Honors and Awards

In 1962, Babette Deustch was awarded a Poetry Prize by The Nation for her poem, Thoughts at the Year’s Endpublished in her book Five for the Night (1930), and a Julia Ellsworth Ford Foundation Prize for her critical work on Walt Whitman. She later received an honorary doctorate in literature from Columbia University in 1946. Furthermore, in 1977, she was recognized as a distinguished alumna by her alma mater. Deutsch had also been Phi Beta Kappa poet at Columbia University in 1929.

Babette Deutsch died on November 13, 1982.

Resources

To learn more about Babette Deutsch, scroll through her available published pieces on The New Yorker.

Aziza Rahman ’20

Sources

Friedman, Natalie. “Babette Deutsch: 1895-1982.” Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia, Jewish Women’s Archives, March 1 2009, accessed July 2, 2018, https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/deutsch-babette.

New York Times. “Babette Deutsch, 87, Novelist, Poet, Translator and Editor.” New York Times Archives, NYT, November 15, 1982, accessed July 2, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/1982/11/15/obituaries/babette-deutsch-87-novelist-poet-translator-and-editor.html.

Poetry Foundation. “Babbette Deutsch: 1895-1982.” Poetry Magazine, Poetry Foundation, accessed July 2, 2018, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/babette-deutsch.

The New York Public Library. “Babette Deutsch papers.” The New York Public Library Archives & Manuscripts, The New York Public Library, accessed July 2, 2018, http://archives.nypl.org/mss/778.