FLORENCE HOWE

activist, writer, and founder of the Feminist Press




Florence in Words

Vietnam, Part One

January 16, 2012

Tags: Vietnam, visiting, Lady Borton, Sandra Levine, Nguyen Minh Ha, Feminist Press

This morning, as I thought about Martin Luther King’s Day, January 16, 2012, I remembered the way I had begun—two months earlier—to write a blog about my trip to Vietnam. At least once a day, and sometimes all day, I couldn’t stop thinking about what the Vietnamese call “the American War,” and the long years of U.S. bombing of this slender piece of land and its resilient people, and also of the U.S. peace movement’s marches, protests, arrests, frustration. I remembered one particularly astonishing moment in Mississippi, during the summer of 1965, when a woman I was interviewing said that the people in Vietnam being bombed were just like her and her folks. “How is that so?” I asked. “They’re colored, too,” she said. “It’s a war against colored.” (more…)

New Year's Day

January 1, 2012

Tags: Vietnam, family, events, visiting, depression

Lady Borton and I in Vietnam.
Apologies, apologies, apologies. I ought to fill the page, many pages, with that word. I’ve been silent since early October, perhaps mourning for the loss of that family who stayed with me for a week and then returned to their own life (see blog and photos just below). On November 1, I had to wake up to the realities of two weeks in Vietnam on a schedule that would have tired a teenager. But that’s the way my dear friends, Lady Borton and Nguyen Minh Ha, lead their lives. And I managed, though the journey back—14 hours (from Seoul to New York) sitting upright with leg cramps most of the way, after a five-hour layover and another four-hour flight—sent me to bed for a couple of weeks and the depression returned. (more…)

End of the Year Letter

December 31, 2011

Tags: family, visiting, events, A Life in Motion, Vietnam, Women Writing Africa, Feminist Press

Rebecca Seawright, Grandma Alice Jackson holding Kennedy and her new stuffed dog, and Jack Wright, Kennedy's father
Dear Friends:

Yes, I know, I am weeks late with this end-of-the-year letter. What inspired me to write today was coming across last year’s plaintively optimistic letter. I hoped that President Obama would be able to do more, and I hoped that my book would do well and that I would quickly find new forms of productivity. (more…)

The Power of Kennedy

October 7, 2011

Tags: family, Alice, Jack, Maban, Kennedy, visiting, Yoya

I’ve admitted to occasional bouts of depression, assuaged usually by a new mind-moving project, and on occasion by dog-sitting Yoya, a delightful Maltese, whose antics are irrepressibly comic, and whose cuddling warms my heart. Last week, I discovered another possibility—house guests who included a two-year old. Four visitors arrived for a week: daughter Alice, grandson Jack and his wife Maban, and their daughter Kennedy who is several months past two. Kennedy was not a nay-saying two-year-old. Her approach was “let me do it”—from feeding herself to feeding others. Fearless, she fed the largest animals in Central Park’s petting zoo, one food-pebble at a time. And fearless also, she fed Yoya small bits of cheese, and thus won her attention as well as her heart. (more…)

The Unexpected Rules the Day

May 17, 2011

Tags: events, visiting, Feminist Press, San Francisco State University

Iranian author Shahrnush Parsipur and meSan Francisco State University staff and me
Iranian author Shahrnush Parsipur and me
San Francisco State University staff and me


Long before I set out for the west coast readings, Julie Olsen Edwards, one of Tillie Olsen’s daughters, asked women’s studies faculty at San Francisco State University whether they’d like to have me read from my memoir. She asked them because I was Tillie’s publisher and friend, and because Tillie’s daughters have given women’s studies at SFSU a bequest establishing a Tillie Olsen student award. (more…)

What's in a Name?

May 12, 2011

Tags: visiting, women's studies, feminist studies, Myths of Coeducation

On my recent trip to the west coast, in part I was the guest of four “women’s studies programs,” though I must say at once that none of them are “programs,” and none of them call themselves “women’s studies.” Indeed, they are each departments, though they began life in the 1970s as programs. What is the difference? Does it matter what a university unit is called? And who cares? (more…)

The Month of April Disappears Without Blogs

May 4, 2011

Tags: events, visiting, speaking, A Life in Motion

I thought I would write blogs as I moved from place to place in California, and so I carried my little Toyota with me. But the most I could do at the end of a day of talking, talking, talking, was to write a brief journal reporting on how tired I was or how I’d spent the day and evening talking. Or, when I was more tired that that, I wrote nothing. And the next morning was no use, for I rose in time to begin another schedule. (more…)

Triangle Fire

March 28, 2011

Tags: visiting, Japan, events, Alida Brill

Many friends have written to say I should continue blogging. So, though I still feel as though I were writing into the wind, I am responding with a blog. I said I was expecting two visitors, one from Japan, the other from India, but before I was to see them, my dear friend Janet Zandy flew from Rochester to New York to spend the weekend with me to attend events around the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Factory Fire on March 25, 2011. We attended part of an academic conference on Thursday, and another on Saturday, but the two events that really meant the most to us were not these. On Friday morning at 10 a.m., hundreds of women and men gathered at Union Square, 14th Street for a March of the Shirtwaists down to the building itself from which 146 mostly young girls burned to death or chose to throw themselves from the eighth or ninth floors. (more…)

Birthday

March 17, 2011

Tags: family, visiting, Japan, Florence (granddaughter)

It’s the day of my 82nd birthday and I feel privileged to have had so many good wishes from friends and from my constructed, chosen families. What does it feel like to be 82? Not much different from a score of years preceding this one. But physically I realize that I no longer have that light step with which I once walked—and danced. I can step. I can walk long distances without pain or discomfort and usually my balance is decent. But as I look at young people walking, I try to remember what it was like not to think about the act itself, not to focus on the act itself to keep my balance from wandering. (more…)

Dogsitting Yoya

November 25, 2010

Tags: Don and Jorge, Yoya, visiting

It’s Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, November 25, 2010, and I’m smiling because I have a visitor who is consistently amusing—and demanding. She’s a small five-year old Maltese named Yoya, who belongs to Don Thomas and Jorge Cao, and who comes to live with me whenever they travel. So she’s here for a long weekend, and I am smiling, and occasionally even laughing at her antics. (more…)

Select Works

"Everyone concerned about global feminism, women’s contributions, and humanity’s future will be enhanced and enchanted by A Life in Motion.”—Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume I and Volume II
Lecture delivered by Florence Howe on January 8, 2011, at the Modern Language Association Annual Convention
“It is impossible to imagine women’s studies without Florence Howe. Myths of Coeducation shows her vision and courage, insight and dauntlessness.”–Catharine R. Stimpson, Rutgers University
A revised and expanded edition of the classic groundbreaking anthology of 20th-century American women's poetry, representing more than 100 poets from Amy Lowell to Anne Sexton to Rita Dove.

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