Hilda Doolittle (H.D.)

Poet H.D. - Hilda Doolittle

Hilda Doolittle (September 10, 1886 – September 27, 1961) was an American-born poet, novelist, translator, and essayist who wrote under the pen name H.D. Her work was heavily influenced by the effects of the World War I and the subsequent trends of modernism, psychoanalysis, and feminism.

Her work is often framed within the context of other important modernist writers such as T.S.Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, and William Carlos Williams. Today, she’s best remembered for her innovation and experimental approach in poetry. Read More→

Anne Spencer

Anne Spencer (born Annie Bethel Bannister; February 6, 1882 – July 27, 1975) was an American poet, teacher, librarian, gardener, and civil rights activist. She’s best known for being an important figure of the Harlem Renaissance and the second African American poet to be included in the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry.

Anne was born in Henry County, Virginia, to  Joel Cephus Bannister and Sarah Louise Scales. Both parents were part of the first generation of African Americans born into bondage whose childhood followed the end of slavery. As an only child, she was the center of her parent’s lives and they were determined to make a better life for her.
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Books by Zora Neale Hurston: Fiction, Folklore, and More

Their Eyes Were Watching God 75th Anniversary Edition

Zora Neale Hurston (1891 – 1960), the African-American author and anthropologist, was a natural storyteller. Her love of story resulted in an array of novels and short stories as well as collections gathered from the oral traditions of the Black cultures of the American South and the Caribbean. Presented here is a survey of books by Zora Neale Hurston’s — fiction,  ethnographical collections, and other writings.

Zora made a name for herself during the Harlem Renaissance movement of the 1920s, when she began producing novels, short stories, plays, essays, and a modest output of poetry. Upon graduating from Barnard College in 1928, she embarked on a parallel career as an anthropologist. Read More→

Candace Wheeler, American Design Trailblazer

Candace Wheeler, American designer

Despite having published seven books in her long lifetime, Candace Wheeler (1827–1923) might not be classified as a “literary lady,” let alone a classic author. She was one of the first American women to practice as an interior and textile designer, and opened the profession to other women who followed in her footsteps.

Born Candace Thurber, her father was a Puritan abolitionist so severe that he would not allow the family to use sugar or cotton, and he applied similarly stringent standards to his children’s reading habits, decreeing that they read nothing more fanciful than the Bible and Pilgrim’s Progress.

Yet, she evolved into a superlative aestheticist and the godmother of many female artists, writers, and designers. Often referred to as “the mother of interior design,” she was the actual mother of the accomplished artist and book illustrator Dora Wheeler Keith. Read More→

Octavia Butler’s Rules for Writers: Wisdom for Every Stage of Practice

Octavia Butler

Octavia E. Butler (1947 – 2006), the esteemed American author of science fiction, broke ground in the white male-dominated world of science fiction.  Here we’ll explore Octavia Butler’s rules for writers, with wisdom for every wordsmith no matter where you are on the journey.

Butler was one of the first women and one of the first African-Americans to succeed in the genre of sci-fi. To break through in this realm, she had to blaze her own trail, and became rigorously self-disciplined in her writing practice. She stuck to a strict schedule, sometimes rising at 2:00 am to write for several hours before heading out to whatever odd job she held before becoming a full-time author. Read More→

Margaret Ayer Barnes

Margaret Ayer Barnes

Margaret Ayer Barnes (April 8, 1886 – October 25, 1967) was an American novelist, playwright, short-story writer, best known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Years of Grace (1930).

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Margaret Ayer was the youngest of four siblings. From an early age, she was quite competitive and regularly had debates with her two older brothers and sisters. Intelligent and curious, she had an interest in theater and was an avid reader.

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Drinking from the Spring: On Rereading Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

The last day of October marks Samhain, the end of harvest season and the beginning of winter. This Gaelic festival opens the door to the darker part of the year, and it’s also the anniversary of author Natalie Babbitt’s death in 2016. What better time to consider Babbitt’s remarkable novel about mortality, Tuck Everlasting (1975), a story that rewards young and adult readers alike.

When I first reread Tuck, I was in my thirties. It was never one of my school texts: when I was a girl, it hadn’t yet achieved its iconic status. But the timing for me to rediscover this story, about how “dying’s part of the wheel, right there next to being born” was perfect. Read More→

Dawn Powell

Dawn Powell

Dawn Powell (November 28, 1896 – November 14, 1965) wrote prolifically throughout her life, producing novels, short stories, poetry, and plays.  She is sometimes considered a “writer’s writer,” though sadly, nearly all of her work was out of print by the time she died. She didn’t gain much notoriety — for better or worse — during her lifetime, but many of her works have been rediscovered and rereleased, much to the joy of devoted fans and new readers alike.

Born in Mount Gilead, Ohio, Powell started her life in a small American town, a setting that she would often use in her early writings. Her novels were replete with social satire and laced with wit.

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