Literary Musings

Playing Town: Revisiting Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy

Marcie McCauley reflects on revisiting Harriet the Spy, the 1964 classic by Louise Fitzhugh, and how the story continues to resonate and inspire her as a working writer.

See, first you take off your coat and hang it on the back of a library chair, use it to mark a comfortable seat as your place to return to with a stack of books. Then you fetch the ones you remember most fondly. You can’t have too many at one time or the librarians are annoyed. I usually have ten.* Read More→

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Keeper: Emily Brontë’s Fiercely Devoted Dog

Though Emily Brontë (1818 – 1848) only lived to the age of thirty, she produced Wuthering Heights, one of the most iconic novels in the English literary canon. An avowed introvert, Emily Brontë’s dog Keeper, a large and rather menacing dog, was among the most faithful companions of her adult life.

The sister of Charlotte and Anne Brontë, Emily didn’t care for company outside of her immediate family, and any time she ventured from her beloved Yorkshire moors, she became sick with longing to return.  Read More→

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The Enduring Power of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide by Ntozake Shange

“Through my tears I found god in myself and I loved her fiercely” is perhaps the most iconic quote from For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf  by Ntozake Shange (1948 – 2018). For Colored Girls has touched many hearts since it premiered in 1976. The 2019 production of For Colored Girls  at SUNY New Paltz was one such powerful and emotional presentation of Shange’s play.

For Colored Girls was Shange’s first work and remains her most acclaimed theatre piece, consisting of twenty captivating poetic monologues representing black sisterhood in a racist and sexist society. Shange describes her work as choreopoem, a form of dramatic expression incorporating poetry, dance, music, and song. This term was coined in 1975 by Shange herself to describe this work. Read More→

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Fascinating Facts About Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston (January 7, 1891 – January 28, 1960), was an African-American novelist, memoirist, and folklorist. Zora was a natural storyteller. As she grew up, she had listened to the stories of people she encountered. Her love of story would lead her not only to create her own, but to collect stories from the oral traditions of the African-American South and the Black cultures of the Caribbean.

With her determined intelligence and humor, she quickly became a big name in the Harlem Renaissance movement of the 1920s. She had a dual career as a writer (producing novels, short stories, plays, and essays) and as an anthropologist. Read More→

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8 Fascinating Facts About Gabriela Mistral, Latina Nobel Prize Winner

Gabriela Mistral, born Lucila Godoy Alcayaga (April 7, 1889 – January 10, 1957), was a Chilean poet, educator, diplomat, and feminist. She grew up living in poverty with her family in a small Andean village of Montegrande and developed her father’s gift for teaching despite having dropped out of school at age fifteen.

After multiple notable works including Sonetos de la muerte (1914) and Lagar (1954), Mistral received national recognition and praise as her was translated into various languages from her native Spanish. Though she is best known for being the first Latin American woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, she did so much more during her remarkable life. Here are some fascinating facts about Gabriela Mistral that may inspire you to learn more about her, and better yet, to read her work.

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