Marianela Medrano-Marra on Taino culture and poetry : : Crescent Dragonwagon on Bean by Bean   Leave a comment

Marianela Medrano

This week on Woman-StirredRadio,visiting scholar Marianela Medrano takes time from herresidency schedule at Goddard College totalk to Merry Gangemi about Tainoculture, poetry, colonialism, and the feminine divine. Our conversationmoves from Taino cosmology, to colonialism, and on through poetry, the power oflanguage, the caveats and crevasse of racism and cultural imperialism, to thehealing power of self-knowledge and artistic expression.

Ruth Farmer,program director of Goddard’s MA in Individualized Study,explains: “In her essay, “The Ciguapa Speaks:Dominican Women in the 21st Century,” Marianela points out thatthere needs to be ‘a resurgence of both feminine and masculine consciousness.’She explains that this resurgence would lead ‘the feminine” to recover from“the dullness and fatality through which history has presented her’ and ‘theconsciousness’ would be ‘stripped of its aggressive mask,’” a perspective whichunderscores and embraces the responsibility and opportunity of both women andmen to instigate and implement social and cultural change. But changes comefrom an integrated understanding of who we are and how our origins, our rootsboth nourish and challenge us to learn about and value the inter-dependent relationshipsbetween our physical, intellectual, and spiritual selves—an integrated view oflearning and knowing.
MarianelaMedrano-Marra is a Dominicanwriter, poet, and a psychologist in private practice, and is the author of Diodesde la Yuca, (Torremozas, 2011), and Curada de Espartos (2002).Sheholds a PhD in psychology and is a Licensed Professional Counselor andCertified Poetry Therapist. She works as a consultant and has a psychotherapyprivate practice in Connecticut. Medrano-Marra has earned fellowships from the Connecticut Commissionon the Arts and the Center for The Divine Feminine at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.
The interviewwith Marianela was recorded on Sunday, February 19th, in the studio of WGDR. Youcan post your comments below or email to
Crescent Dragonwagon
Then at 5:00, I’mdelighted to welcome the inimitable CrescentDragonwagon, whose latest cookbook, Beanby Bean hit the stores just last week, on February 13th.  
Crescent Dragonwagonis the James Beard Award-winning authorof seven cookbooks, including DairyHollow House Soup & Bread Cookbook, Passionate Vegetarian, and TheCornbread Gospels.
Dragonwagon, who calls herself a Southern Yankee, is a NewYorker (the daughter of writer-editor Charlotte Zolotow and the late Maurice Zolotow, who was Marilyn Monroe’s firstbiographer). Dragonwagon spent 36 years in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where she “ladledup beans and sliced skillet-sizzled cornbread for the masses—including Secretaryof State Hillary, former president Bill Clinton, Betty Friedan, and thatsmooth-cheeked crooner Andy Williams.
Beans are serious nourishment; they are also highlyeconomical, and while often considered a poor man’s fare, are quite chicthese days, featured prominently on the menus of many of the world’s finestrestaurants.

Beans can be curry, chili, stew, soup, or salad. They can start ameal or finish it in the guise of bread, appetizers, crepes, cake, ice cream,and even candy. Beans are chockfull of protein, fiber, vitamins, omega-3 fats,calcium, potassium, zinc, and more.  They nourish the soil and have made their mark in fairy tales and folklore (good old Jackand his beanstalk!); and bean carbohydrates have been found to improve thestability of blood sugar levels in diabetics.

The monastic followers of Pythagorusthought humans traveled through the stems of bean plants to reach Hades, wherethey were transmogrified for their next lives—and don’t forget those notableRoman surnames: Cicero (chickpea), Fabius (fava), Piso (pea),
and Lentullus (lentil).

Bean by Bean is a beautiful book, filled with more than 175 recipes, as well as how to pick and preserve the little legumes. Crescent Dragonwagon rocks!

So please join us Thursday, February 23rd from 4 to 6 p.m. (eastern), for another broadcast of Woman-Stirred Radio. Want to join the conversation? Call the air studio at 802 454 7762 or email

Woman-Stirred Radio is underwritten by Sinister Wisdom, celebrating 35 years of  lesbian-feminist arts and letters. Woman-Stirred Radio broadcasts live on WGDR 91.1 fm and WGDH 91.7 fm, Goddard College‘s community radio stations located in Plainfield, Vermont.

Posted 23/02/2012 by Merry Gangemi in Uncategorized

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