Dear Men, Here is a New Kind of Fantasy

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Dear Men: Here is a new kind of fantasy. It is about a new kind of man. These men are born on the campus of an Ivy League college in New England. Or at a West Coast university. Or maybe at a football-happy school on the Great Plains. These men talk to each other. They […]

24 Years On: Never Forgetting the Montreal Massacre

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I live with 14 women I have never met. Each holiday season, I grade final exams, choose my Christmas tree, shovel my driveway and wrap my gifts, all the while remembering what happened on December 6, 1989. On that day in Montreal, 14 young women were in school studying to be engineers. They were doing […]

A Literary Canon of Dudes

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I’m trying to lean in, Sheryl Sandberg, I swear, but this month–ironically, Women’s History Month–football players, military men, and popes have stricken me with patriarchy fatigue. March started out on a high. I got to attend the “best literary party ever invented,” as the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Vice President and 2013 conference […]

A Rich Legacy: Adrienne’s Words Call Us To Action

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Last week we lost feminist foremother Adrienne Rich, to whom we owe boundless gratitude. Her poetry and prose guided many of us through the “anger and tenderness” of motherhood, helped us challenge countless “unexamined assumptions” and promised us that “we’re not simply trapped in the present…we can make…history with many others.” Nothing about Adrienne Rich […]

Dear Judge Hurley: Date Night Won’t Cure Spousal Abuse

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Judge John “Jay” Hurley, don’t make me come down there to Florida and go all Women’s Studies 101 on you. Seriously, domestic violence is not funny. You, sir, are not funny. When Joseph Bray, 47, and his wife Sonja, 39, of Plantation, Florida, came before your bench this week, you should have been smarter. Let’s […]

Click! My Catholic School Report Card

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At St. Charles School in the mid 1960s, Father Foley, our parish pastor, came into our classroom to hand out the report cards. He said the same thing every year: You know, children, I look at these report cards Sister prepared so carefully for you, and the very first thing I look at is what? […]

Haiti One Year Later: Edwidge Danticat Wants Us To Create Dangerously

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“Truth is trouble,” wrote Toni Morrison in the 2009 anthology she edited, Burn This Book. Trouble for a comatose public, for a corrupt justice system: Certain kinds of trauma visited on peoples are so deep, so cruel, that … only writers can translate such trauma and turn sorrow into meaning, sharpening the moral imagination. And […]

Bunion Blues

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An insistent whirring sound drew me out of anesthesia and into the barbaric light of the operating room. While I had been asleep for a “minute or two”–as is protocol for day surgery in order to get patients home sooner–I was now awake and aware, though in no pain as my foot was numbed. I closed my eyes […]

Remembering the Montreal Massacre

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Many writers talk about the story that claws its way out from your core. I have such a story. It haunts me as it haunts women all over the world. On December 6, 1989, 21 years ago today, 25-year-old Marc Lépine entered the University of Montreal engineering school, École Polytechnique, with a Sturm and Ruger […]

What Are You Thinking, Oprah?

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Oprah, Oprah, Oprah–what are you thinking, girl? Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom is your book club selection, the first book of your last season? Really? Mr. “high-art literary tradition”? Remember him–he who refused to go slumming with Oprah’s readership nine years ago? Too lowbrow, too “schmaltzy.” The man who told National Public Radio in 2001: “I had […]