Monthly Archives: February 2016

Women Writers Breaking Rules

I’ve just gotten a handy gizmo (ION Tape Express) that converts tape cassettes to sharable electronic files. In 1981, I helped to found the National Council for Research on Women (now renamed RE:GENDER, a vital coalition of research, policy, and advocacy organizations, corporations and community organizations around the country, still going strong); I served as NCRW’s executive director from 1989-1996.

Here’s a lovely piece of NCRW history: Spend an Evening with Ursula LeGuin, Paule Marshall, and Grace Paley, a “Conversation at the Altar about Women Writers Breaking Rules,” featured in a clip that Margot Adler did for NPR that reports on NCRW’s Second Writer of Distinction Awards April 6, 1992 at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in New York City. Besides segments of the conversation (which also includes a sardonic aside from Carolyn Heilbrun), you can hear Marshall discuss her publishing experiences, and Paley and LeGuin reading from recent work. Enjoy!

Ursula (1)

Margo Adler’s NPR Story  Sound

Dream of a Common Language: A Women’s Thesaurus

Here’s a recording of a talk I gave at the 92nd Street Y on February 25, 1992: What Do the Words We Use Say About Women? I got to delve into the history and development of the National Council for Research on Women’s thesaurus project and my own fascination with language and gender norms. A Women’s Thesaurus: An Index of Language Used to Describe and Locate Information By and About Women (Harper & Row, 1987) was our first major NCRW project/publication: my dream job! I got to coordinate amazing groups of women librarians, researchers, policy specialists, writers, and activists and then edit lists and more lists of our language, inspired in no small part by Adrienne Rich’s Dream of a Common Language. We changed the Library of Congress Subject Headings and significantly improved online access to existing databases before the arrival of full-text searching!

Apologies about the recording: the taping did not capture some very interesting questions but did catch some longer responses, and Part 2 finishes with readings of Ursula LeGuin’s short story “She Unnames Them” and Adrienne Rich’s poem, “Transcendental Etude.”

What Do the Works We Use Say About Women? Parts 1 and 2: A 92nd Street Y talk by Mary Ellen Capek  Sound