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Alums

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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Alums Biography Uncategorized

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.

 

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 Student Publications

Award-winning Writer, Professor, and Activist: June Jordan

Meet the face of our newest pin, alum June Jordan. To pick up a pin, stop by the Barnard Library!

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Jordan’s Beginnings

June Millicent Jordan (1936-2002) was born in Harlem to Granville Ivanhoe Jordan and Mildred Maud Jordan, two West Indian immigrants. The Jordan family moved to Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn when June was five. As we learn in Soldier: A Poet’s Childhood, Jordan had a complicated family life growing up, in which her father encouraged her to embrace literature and to be strong, but also subjected her to physical abuse. Jordan started writing poetry as young as age seven. Throughout her educational experiences, she had to face overwhelmingly white institutions. Jordan was the only black student at Midwood High School in Brooklyn before she transferred, having received a scholarship to Northfield School For Girls. Northfield (now co-ed and called Northfield-Mount Hermon School), was a predominantly white prep school in Massachusetts. Jordan went on to study English at Barnard as a commuter student. While at Barnard, Jordan was featured in Focus, the college’s literary magazine. She was one of four black students during her time at Barnard (1953-1957), and was frustrated with the curriculum and competitive environment at the school. In her essay, “Notes of a Barnard Dropout,” which Jordan delivered as a talk at the BCRW‘s (then the Women’s Center) first Reid Lecture in 1975 (alongside Alice Walker), and which was later published in her 1981 book Civil Wars, Jordan states:

No one ever presented me with a single Black author, poet, historian, personage, or idea for that matter. Nor was I ever assigned a single woman to study as a thinker, or writer, or poet, or life force. Nothing that I learned, here, lessened my feeling of pain or confusion and bitterness as related to my origins: my street, my family, my friends. Nothing showed me how I might try to alter the political and economic realities underlying our Black condition in white America.

Because of her disappointment at the college, Jordan left and returned to Barnard a couple of times. One of the reasons she left was to marry Michael Meyer, who was a white student at Columbia University. After they married in 1955, she attended the University of Chicago for a year and studied anthropology before returning to Barnard again. Jordan ultimately left Barnard for good in 1957. Facing difficulties as an interracial couple, Meyer and Jordan divorced in 1966, and Jordan took care of their son Christopher Meyer.

Career and Activism

Jordan’s early career was largely influenced by the political climate of the 1960’s, as she wrote about the 1964 Harlem Riots and was concerned and involved with both the Black Power and Black Arts Movements. She worked in film, as a journalist, as a researcher and writer for Mobilization for Youth in New York, and also collaborated with the architect Buckminster Fuller on aesthetic housing for low-income members of the Harlem community. She was deeply concerned with racial, spatial, economic, gender, and sexuality justice. She also had a strong focus on children. Her first book, Who Look At Me was intended for young readers, and she taught many workshops for students of color.

Jordan soon became a college professor, first teaching English and literature at City College in 1967, and going on to work at Connecticut College, Sarah Lawrence College, Yale, and SUNY Stony Brook. She became a full professor at Stony Brook in 1982, directing the poetry center and creative writing program during her time there. In 1989 Jordan started at the University of California, Berkeley in the African-American Studies department. At Berkeley, she also started Poetry for the People, a group that brought poetry to community groups in the surrounding area as a tool for political empowerment.

Writing

Over the course of her life, Jordan wrote or edited 28 books, essays, and children’s novels, as well as the libretto for “I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky.” Some of Jordan’s works of poetry include Some Changes (1971), Living Room (1985) and Kissing God Goodbye: Poems 1991-1997 (1997). She incorporates themes such as bisexuality, blackness, and family to make her poetry personal and political. She often wrote in and advocated for the use of Black English. In addition to poetry, Jordan is well-known for her political writing. She was a columnist for the Progressive, and also wrote essays on topics ranging from education, to sexism, to terrorism. Adrienne Rich, in the foreward to Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems of June Jordan, writes of Jordan: “In a sense unusual among twentieth-century poets of the United States, she believed in and lived the urgency of the word—along with action—to resist abuses of power and violations of dignity in—and beyond—her country.” Thus, for Jordan, writing was a tool of political expression and action, as well as an autobiographical and personal outlet.

In an interview with Alternative Radio, Jordan states that the role of the poet in society:

is to deserve the trust of people who know that what you do is work with words… Always to be as honest as possible and to be as careful about the trust invested in you as you possibly can. Then the task of a poet of color, a black poet, as a people hated and despised, is to rally the spirit of your folks…I have to get myself together and figure out an angle, a perspective, that is an offering, that other folks can use to pick themselves up, to rally and to continue or, even better, to jump higher, to reach more extensively in solidarity with even more varieties of people to accomplish something. I feel that it’s a spirit task.

Jordan was honored for this task, as she earned many awards for her writing. She won the 1991 PEN Center USA West Freedom to Write Award, the 1994 Ground Breakers-Dream Makers Award from The Woman’s Foundation, and the 1995-1998 Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Writers Award. She also received a 1969-1970 Rockefeller grant for creative writing, a 1979 Yaddo residency, a 1982 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and 1984 Achievement Award for International Reporting from the National Association of Black Journalists, the Chancellor’s Distinguished Lectureship from the University of California at Berkeley, and a congressional citation for her writing and activism.

-Sarah Barlow-Ochshorn ’20

Sources

“About June.” Accessed June 28, 2018. http://www.junejordan.net/about-june.html.

“Bio.” Accessed June 28, 2018. http://www.junejordan.net/bio.html.

Halasz, Piri. “‘Focus’ Keeps High Quality But Falls Short In Execution.” Barnard Bulletin (New York), March 24, 1955. http://digitalcollections.barnard.edu/islandora/object/bc:bulletin-19550324-2.

“Jordan, June 1936-2002.” Contemporary Black Biography, Encyclopedia.com, accessed June 28, 2018. https://www.encyclopedia.com/people/history/historians-miscellaneous-biographies/june-jordan.

Jordan, June. Civil Wars. Beacon Press, 1981.

Poetry Foundation. “June Jordan.” Accessed June 28, 2018. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/june-jordan.

Rosser, Felice. “June Jordan: Black, Woman, Poet.” Barnard Bulletin (New York), March 22, 1976. http://digitalcollections.barnard.edu/islandora/object/bc:bulletin-19760322-11.

Smith, Dinita. “June Jordan, 65, Poet and Political Activist.” The New York Times, June 18, 2002. https://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/18/arts/june-jordan-65-poet-and-political-activist.html.

 

Categories
Alums Biography

Poet, Playwright, and Astrologer of a Generation: Ariana Reines

Meet the face of our newest alum pin, Ariana Reines (’03). To pick up a pin, stop by the Barnard Library!

ariana-reines (2)

Ariana Reines lives a life full of language and interpretation, crafting a path out of the diverse but interconnected fields of writing, translation, performance, and astrology. Reines has written a variety of poetry, plays, and prose, all the while teaching workshops and astrologizing (her term). Her writing immerses itself in themes of love, the body, eroticism, abjection, spirituality, technology, and the occult, among others.

Her Life

Reines, originally from Salem, MA, studied French and English when she came to Barnard. While she was here, Reines won creative writing awards, worked in the writing center, and was a selected to be a member of the Phi Beta Kappa society before graduating Summa Cum Laude. She went on to get a masters in Media & Communication from the European Graduate School (2006), and spent two years as a doctoral fellow in French and Romance Philiology at Columbia (2004-2006). After the earthquake in 2010, Reines traveled to Haiti several times to help with relief efforts in a naturopathy clinic there. Now, she continues to write, teach workshops around the word, and provide astrology readings.

A Bit on Her Craft

In a conversation with fellow writer Ben Lerner, Reines characterizes her performance art as distinct from the public nature of her writing, but goes on to draw connections between the two art forms in terms of the “hospitality” required for both:

Performance is not something to professionalize, or to aspire to. But I do receive these invitations. In a way my job is to receive and respond to invitations. My intentions with performance are much more private than with writing. But the hospitality necessitated by writing with care taught me to try to be hospitable with performance also.

Such a mindset reflects the care with which Reines approaches the multifaceted forms of creativity in her work. It also indicates the open vulnerability of Reines’s writing, as well as the complex ways in which she goes about addressing the reader. In the same piece, Lerner and Reines discuss the use of first and second person in their writing. Reines’s comments about her use of the pronouns “you” and “I” also speak to the issues of media, politics, and technology that her writing takes up:

The earlier “you,” the one in the first two books [The Cow and Coeur de Lion], was the Bush-era “you.” It’s the “you” of YouTube and advertising. It’s really brutalized. It’s what the impoverished “I” is made of. The “I” is just the object of the address of advertising, of George W. Bush, of ATMs. And the weird thing is that “you,” like the “thou,” the divine “thou,” isn’t expected to respond, only to buy in. You’re not expected to answer, just to ante-up or pay in. Even if there’s a comment box.

Reines’s concern for the “I” comes up again in her episode of NPR’s Bookworm. In the podcast, Reines articulates the importance of the “I” to the ethics of poetry, and advocates for its return to American writing. Host Michael Silverblatt identifies Reines as, “one of the crucial voices of her generation.” This label is quite fitting, as Reines’s work addresses many current issues in a complex, yet oftentimes emotionally clarifying, way.

Her Work

Reines has written a number of books of poetry and chapbooks. Her full collections of poetry include Alberta Prize winner The Cow (2006), Coeur de Lion (2007), Mercury (2011), and A Sand Book (forthcoming 2019). Other publications include The Origin of the World (2014), Thursday (2012), Beyond Relief (with Celina Su, Belladonna*, 2013), as well as Tiffany’s Poems and Ramayana (a set of chapbooks from 2015). She also judged the 2013 National Poetry Series. Her 2009 play “Telephone” won two Obie awards, and was published this year by Wonder Books.

Reines has completed several works of translation, including Charles Baudelaire’s My Heart Laid Bare (2009), Jean-Luc Hennig’s The Little Black Book of Grisélidis Réal: Days and Nights of an Anarchist Whore (2009), and Tiqqun’s Preliminary Materials Toward a Theory of the Young-Girl (2012).

She has performed at the Whitney Museum of American ArtSolomon R, Guggenheim MuseumThe HammerThe Swiss InstituteRenaissance Society, and has taught at UC Berkeley, Columbia University, The New School, Tufts, Poets HouseThe Poetry ProjectThe Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, the Fine Arts Work Center, ANCIENT EVENINGS, and more.

To read more… 

In addition to Reines’s books, you can read more of her writing on her website. Also, check out her current column on Artforum!

-Sarah Barlow-Ochshorn ’20

Sources

Lerner, Ben and Ariana Reines. “Ben Lerner & Ariana Reines.” BOMB Magazine. October 1, 2014. https://bombmagazine.org/articles/ben-lerner-ariana-reines/.

Poetry Foundation. “Ariana Reines.” Accessed June 4, 2018. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/ariana-reines.

Reines, Ariana. “About.” Accessed June 4, 2018, http://lazyeyehaver.com/.

Reines, Ariana. “Ariana Reines” Interview by Michael Silverblatt. Bookworm, NPR. April 24, 2008. Audio, http://www.kcrw.com/news-culture/shows/bookworm/ariana-reines.

Tea, Michelle. “Coming Up @ Radar: Ariana Reines!” Radar Productions. June 4, 2012. http://www.radarproductions.org/2012/06/04/coming-up-radar-ariana-reines/.

 

Categories
Biography

New Collection from Eleanore Myers Jewett on Display in Lehman Hall

Eleanore Myers '12, circa 1911. From The Mortarboard 1912, p.191. Courtesy of the Barnard College Archive

The Barnard Archives has recently received from Jane Stickler an astounding collection of materials belonging to her mother Eleanore Myers Jewett (Class of 1912).  Four scrapbooks from Mrs. Jewett’s years at Barnard were donated in addition to an annotated 1912 Mortarboard, for which Mrs. Jewett served as the Editor-in-Chief, and first edition of her children’s novel Felicity Finds a Way. An exhibit featuring photographs from these scrapbooks and her personal copy of the Mortarboard is currently on display on the first floor of Lehman Hall.

As one can usually expect of a Barnard alumnae, Mrs. Jewett lived a rewarding and richly textured life. She used her gift of language not only to satisfy her own intellect but also to encourage young children to read.Her works are engaging and range from periods and places such as 12th century England to ancient Korea.

Born April 4, 1890 in New York City, Eleanore Myers Jewett was an ambitious, witty and prolific woman who had a strong sense of self and a healthy dose of mischievous humor. She was a superb storyteller and pushed herself to excel in higher education at a time when few women had the chance. She put her undergraduate degree in Medieval English to good use, having it serve as the basis of her creative and detailed historical fiction for children. A native New Yorker who wished to be as specific and accurate a writer as possible, Mrs. Jewett wrote about faraway lands such as Tibet, Korea, and Egypt only after research and discussions.

In 1908 she enrolled in Barnard College as a commuter student. There she grew into herself, taking advantage of the many opportunities and activities the school offered. She was well-liked by her classmates, evident due to her being named “best all-around,” “famous in the future,” and “cleverest” in the 1912 Mortarboard. During these formative years she always made the time to hone her craft: writing. She worked on the Barnard Bulletin and the Mortarboard as an editor.

In addition to spending long hours working on student publications, Jewett was a member of the Young Women’s Christian Association, the fraternity Kappa Kappa Gamma, and not only the Vice President of her sophomore class but President her senior year. She played a fairy in Comus and Borachio in Much Ado about Nothing. In the class of 1912 versus the class of 1913 Greek Games, she proved her versatility by placing first in both serious lyric and hurdles. Her verse must have had merit because in the Greek Games competition between the classes of 1911 and 1912 she won 2nd place.

After graduating from Barnard in 1912, Jewett matriculated at Columbia University’s School of Philosophy to earn a Masters in Medieval Comparative Literature in 1915. She remained in the city teaching English and History to 5th through 7th graders at Miss Jacob’s School until her marriage to Dr. Harvey Jewett whom she met while he was studying for his MD at Columbia University. Together they relocated to Canandaigua, New York where Dr. Jewett’s family had practiced medicine for three generations. Mrs. Jewett bore two daughters and raised them with her husband in upstate New York. In her completed questionnaire from the Alumnae Association, Eleanore Myers Jewett selected reading as her top favored leisure activity and emphasized her preference for books over magazines by crossing out the latter. An active member of her community, Jewett served on both the Library Board and the Board of Education.

She wrote both children’s novels and poetry. Her work was published by Viking Press and appeared in magazines such The Woman’s World (“Before You Came,” March 1920) and St. Nicholas Magazine (“Binkie and Bing,” 1921). Her writings were well-researched and engaging for readers of all ages because of her delightful prose that wove together exciting tales and likeable characters. In a review of her novel Told on the King’s Highway entitled “Some History, and Lighter Fare, for Young Readers,” The New York Times declared, “These tales of the Middle Ages are retold with sympathy and affection. […] The author has emphasized the romantic quality and touched her retellings with gracious fancy.” Her highest award was a 1947 Newberry Honor for The Hidden Treasure of Glaston. By the time she died at the age of 76 on March 30th, 1967, she had written over 10 children’s books in addition to an assortment of published short stories and poems.

Her voice and vitality are present in her collection.  Her sketches, poems and daily entries in her scrapbooks give us a glimpse into her collegiate life and the history of the college. Please visit the Barnard Archives located in 23 Lehman Hall or check out the display on the first floor to learn more about this amazing woman and the legacy she has left Barnard nearly a century after graduating.

Written by Caitlin Hamrin ’12