Archive for the ‘Merry Gangemi’ Category

Sheila Fisher’s The Selected Canterbury Tales and Susan Hawthorne’s Cow on Woman-Stirred Radio   Leave a comment

Thismorning, as I was getting ready to write the post for this week’s show, Iwas struck once again by the fortunate fact that I get to read greatbooks and then talk to the amazing people who write them.
photo by: Sonia Brand-Fisher
Thisweek is no exception and I’m thrilled to welcome Sheila Fisher, who isgarnering some attention with her new TheSelected Canterbury Tales (Norton, 2011),  just re-issued in paperback, and poet Susan Hawthorne, whose collection, Cow, is a Lambda Literary finalist.

Sheila Fisher’s interview starts at 4:15 p.m. (eastern).
“In the tradition of Seamus Heaney’s Beowulfand Marie Borroff’s Sir Gawain and theGreen Knight, Sheila Fisher’s TheSelected Canterbury Tales is a vivid, lively, and readable translation ofthe most famous work of England’s premier medieval poet. Preserving Chaucer’srhyme and meter, Fisher makes these tales accessible to a contemporary earwhile inviting readers to the Middle English original on facing pages. Herinformative introduction highlights Chaucer’s artistic originality in hismemorable portrayals of surprisingly modern women and men from across thespectrum of medieval society” (WWN).
Chaucerhas long been known as the Father of English poetry, who had a directand significant influence on Will Shakespeare, but who does not enjoy  proportionate interest and popularity, let alone have a pop cultural resurrection. (I’mthinking Shakespeare in Love, thevarious Kenneth Branagh postmodern productions, Macbeth, King Lear, Midsummer’s Night Dream, et cetera.) 

But Chaucer is influential, and markedly so. Chaucer’s influence resonates throughout the labyrinths of literary and artistic production and Sheila Fisher is working to further underscore that. Fisher’s new translation of the Canterbury Tales is engaging and interesting, and in spite of the factthat the Church controlled every single aspect of a medieval woman’s or man’slife, Chaucer dishes up fascinating portraits into the medieval mind and character and insightsinto their life-circumstances. We also access the subtle and not so subtle social commentariesvoiced through the likes of the Prioress, the Pardoner, the Wife of Bath, theMerchant’s, Reeve’s or Nun’s Priest (sic) about their time and place in history. The Selected Canterbury Tales are really good stories and traces can be found in current culture (I’m sure to the angst of Hilton Kramer) via the endless variationsof heroes and knights against evil, dark villains, vulnerable maidens, andDisneyesque romances. Or the perfectly hilarious Knight’s Tale, with Heath Ledger.

Sheila Fisher, PhD teaches English and is associate academic dean at Trinity College. She specializes in Chaucer,fourteenth-century English literature, and medieval women writers.

That’s 4:15, Thursday March 29th, and if you want to join theconversation or have a question or comment, call 802.454.7762.
Thenat 5:00 I welcome one of favorite poets, Susan Hawthorne, whose recentlypublished collection, Cow (Spiniflex, 2011) is a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award inpoetry. 
Lastautumn, my dear friend Julie R. Enszer, sent me a copy of Cow, and several nights running, after reading another string ofHawthorne’s masterful reimaginations of a multitude of cultural myths, I would settle down to my nightlycigarette and let my own imagination out to pasture. There in the dark, grassessoft underfoot and fragrant, was Queenie, her long flanks and elegant horns,her face soft in the moonlight, her eyes waiting for me to accept herpossibilities. 

This is the effect of Cow: one wants to really go there

Hawthorne conjures such vitality and cleverness in her language that Cowbecome a cinematic emersion into a carnal, spiritual world without parametersand expectations; it’s as if the original myths of all our cultures have cometogether, reconfiguring the violence and calculated control of patriarchy intoa vast, quirky fantasia of imagination. It becomes a personal experience ofmyths exploded:
in anothertime
a later time
when godsand demons
hadforgotten to be immortal
they joinedforces to create a nectar of immortality
these boystook their time
they carriedin Mount Mandara
turned itupside down
placed it onthe back of the tortoise
demons onone side
gods on theother
and eachheld the world snake
twirled themountain top for a thousand years
again andagain
the bestthey could manage was deadly poison
So please join us at 5:00 for a live interview, all the way from Australie, for an interview with poet Susan Hawthorne. Feel free to call in with comments and questions: 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 station located in Plainfield, Vermont. 

Ellen Ullman Visits Woman-Stirred Radio on the Ides of March!   Leave a comment

Ellen Ullman

Thursday, March 15th—the Ides of March—at 5:00, Merry Gangemi welcomes  award-winning author, Ellen Ullman, to Woman-Stirred Radio.

Ellen Ullman’s new novel,  By Blood  (2012), set in 1970s San Francisco, is “absorbing” and “atmospheric,” centering on a thirty-something analysand, her German-born therapist, and a disgraced university professor who has no idea what a personal boundary is.  The wall between his office and the therapist next door is thin; one of the patients hates the white-noise machine; and so the professor listens in, learning about the life and the complicated history of his “beloved” patient’s adoption in the aftermath of World War II. This is a novel that gives new meaning to the term “triangle.”

The dilemmas that unfold in By Blood are not alien and, given present-day political and cultural extremism, the history-bound back-stories heighten the tensions and emotional connections between analysand, therapist, and voyeur professor—who is invisible, dis-embodied, if you will, trapped in the malaise of American hypocrisy and the recalibration of American society and culture in the aftermath of the Holocaust.

By Blood, explores the constructions of identity and veracity, the vagaries of fate, the contradictions of a pliable moral landscape—and how the mind and soul fare in a world that constantly bombards one with rationalizations, the placebo of self-importance, and wishful happy endings. 

Ellen Ullman was a software engineer for twenty years when she began writing about her profession. Her interests are the effect of computing on its practitioners and on society at large. She is the author of the memoir Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents. Her essays, reviews, and opinion pieces have appeared in Harper’sSalonWired, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. Her novel, The Bug, about a programmer’s battle with an elusive bug, will be published in spring 2003.

So please join us on Thursday, March 15th at 5:00 for an interview with Ellen Ullman.  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 station located in Plainfield, Vermont. 

Superheroes, Gender, Immigration, and Hope: Linda Stein and Maria Friedman Marquart on Woman-Stirred Radio   Leave a comment

This week on Woman-StirredRadio, Merry Gangemiwelcomes lesbian-feminist sculptor LindaStein, and sociologist MarieFriedman Marquart, whose new book, LivingIllegal: the human face of unauthorized immigration, was released by the New Press late in 2011.

Linda Stein
Body-swapping, gladiators, amazons, and superheroes; gender construction and gender constrictions, sexuality, empowerment, shape-shifting—social norms, cultural tropes or pop icons and concepts that are turned upside-down or leftside-right in the work of Linda Stein
Drawing on the visual arts and pop cultural performatives of gender and sexuality from Michelangelo to Wonder Woman, Linda Stein compels us to interpret and reinterpret what we see in the human body as proscribed not by social and cultural norms but by constantly changing and always fluid imaginings of sexuality and gender.
As an artist and activist, Stein asks, repeatedly “How do we find the courage, the bravery to break these molds?” (May 2009).

Photos from Have Art Will Travel. Linda Stein is (top to bottom) on the left, right, left.

Artist-activist, lecturer, performer, and video artist., Linda Stein is the founding president of Have Art: Will Travel! Inc., vice president of the Woman’s Caucus for Art, and art editor of On the Issues Magazine.

Her work is represented by the Flomennhaft Gallery, NYC and her archives are found at Smith College. A current installation, of five eight-foot windows, is in Downtown Crossing, Boston and her solo exhibition, The Fluidity of Gender: Sculpture by Linda Stein, is currently touring the U.S. and will remain on the road until 2014. She has also been commissioned for a “larger-than-life Knight, sited as the central sculpture for the Walk of the Heroines at Portland State University” (LS).

Linda Stein’s interview begins at 4:15. Want to join the conversation? Call 802.454.7762 or email questions and comments to
Then, at 5:00, Marie Friedman Marquart.

As the title clearly states, Living Illegal challenges the amplified negativity and misinformation about the men, women, and children who are labeled and targeted as unauthorized, alien, illegal, and criminal. Through personal immigrants’ narratives, Marquart and her colleagues excavate “far beyond conventional explanations” and “challenges our assumptions about why immigrants come to the United States, where they settle, and how they have adapted to the often confusing patchwork of local immigration ordinances” (NP). 
Marie Friedman Marquart
“Specifically focused on issues related to religion and inter-ethnic relations,” the researchers nevertheless “decided to write this book to share the stories… challenge many of the myths” (Latinovoices).
Living Illegal offers insights and analyses; and Marquart shares what she “learned first-hand about positive solutions devised by real people in local areas grappling with unauthorized immigration and rapid demographical change.”  
Interview starts at 4:15, and if you want to join in the discussion, call 802.454.7762 or email questions to:

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 station located in Plainfield, Vermont. 

Singer-Songwriter, Linq, and Merle Hoffman’s Intimate Wars   Leave a comment

This Thursday, February 2nd, at 4:15, Woman-Stirred Radio welcomes back Linq, Massachusetts-based singer-songwriter, whose latest CD, Caught in the Act Acoustic, was released in 2011. Not everyone gets to live their dream and not everyone has the hutzpah to pull it off, but when Linq sold her pharmacy and picked up her guitar she made the move and moved successfully. With eight CDs in her discography, Linq performs all over New England. Her CD,  Fast Moving Dream, has been nominated for many awards, including

the International Narrative Song Competition, American Idol Underground, and the Just Plain Folks Music Awards. She was named Musical Artist of 2009, in the Pride of the Arts Award.

Committed to the power of music as a vehicle for profound social change, Linq lives the reality of her dreams and helps to change the world one note at a time, reaching out to queer communities well beyond the boundaries of Massachusetts.   Click HERE for an audio clip about Linq, and HERE for a sample of her music.

So tune in this Thursday, February 2nd, at 4:15 for a delightful conversation with Linq! Want to join in the conversation? Call the air studio at 802.454.7762.
Then at 5:00 p.m., Woman-Stirred Radio airs a pre-recorded conversation with abortion activist and provider Merle Hoffman. Her new book, Intimate wars; The life and times of the woman who brought abortion from the back alley to the boardroom, was released last month by The Feminist Press. Hoffman “leads us through the raging political battles of the past four decades and her own internal contradictions and challenges with nuance and lucidity. Her story provides both an intimate personal portrait as well as a revealing social tableau. With characteristic fortitude and realism that provides insight into both dimensions” (GLW). When asked about the impact of her work, Hoffman says “There has been a heavy price to the work I’ve done. But if you want to call me names, I say ‘take a number. The line forms at the left” (GPR).

A personal narrative set within the context of the pro-choice and pro-life movements and sustained political actions such as Operation Rescue, Hoffman trains her sights on the skilled, politically-motivated actions, against choice, from Nixon to Obama “with special attention given to Clinton and George W. Bush,” whose administration is characterized by what Hoffman identifies as the “most violative period of government interference” (GPR).

Merle Hoffman is president and CEO of Choices Women’s Medical Center, Queens, New York.

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 station located in Plainfield, Vermont. 

Nancy Sherman and Patricia Nell Warren on Woman-Stirred Radio   Leave a comment

This coming Thursday, December 22nd, at 4:15,  Woman-Stirred Radio welcomes military ethicist, Nancy Sherman, author of The Untold War: Inside the Hearts, Minds, and Souls of Our Soldiers (WW Norton, 2011), and then at 5:00, best-selling lesbian author Patricia Nell Warren, joins us to talk about her new memoir, My West (Wildcat, 2011).

The Untold War probes the complexities of a soldier’s internal war, and what Sherman describes as “the moral weight that soldiers carry on their shoulders,” and “examines the full arc of combat from deployment, to battlefield, to the soldier’s return to civilian life.”

The narratives are compelling and enlightening; personal experiences intersect with training, duty and obedience to answer questions such as: Is revenge ever justified? How does a soldier make peace with the guilt of killing or of surviving? What are the moral obligations of a a soldier interrogator when it is clear the prisoner is in psychological duress?

Trained as a philosopher and psychoanalyst, Nancy Sherman served as the Inaugural Distinguished Chair in Ethics at the Naval Academy and lectures widely on resilience, trauma, and military ethics. She is a university professor of philosophy at Georgetown University, and is a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars for 2011/2012.

Nancy Sherman’s interview begins at 4:15. You can listen locally on 91.1 fm (Montpelier area) and 91.7 fm (Hardwick area) or stream us live at Want to join in the conversation? The air studio number is 802.454.7762.

At 5:00, Woman-Stirred Radio welcomes Patricia Nell Warren to discuss her new memoir, My West: Personal Writings on the American West . The book is layered with fascinating details and sharp observations as she tells us about pheasants, and long horn cattle, Indian mounds, or the handmade jewelry of artist Heyoehkah Merrifield and the significance of the métis sash in Charles M. Russel’s art. No matter what the subject, Warren’s writing is “rayed through by a changing perspective over half a century,” from the spiritual mysteries of native culture, to  the wild ferocity of Calamity Jane and pioneering rodeo champion Alice Greenough.

Patricia Nell Warren was born in Helena, Montana in 1936. She is the author of more than eight novels, including the ground-breaking novel, The Front Runner, the first novel about gay love to win popular acclaim. “Her literary and political work has won  numerous awards and accolades, including the Arizona Human Rights Fund’s Barry Goldwater Award, the National Cowboy Hall of Fame’s Western Heritage Award, the Lambda Literary Award, the Saints & Sinners Hall of Fame, and the Gay and Lesbian Literary Hall of Fame” (source).

 Patricia Nell Warren’s interview begins at 5:00. You can listen locally on 91.1 fm (Montpelier area) and 91.7 fm (Hardwick area) or stream us live at Want to join the conversation? The air studio number is 802.454.7762.

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 station located in Plainfield, Vermont.

Missed Connections and Posing Beuaty: Sophie Blackall and Deborah Willis on Woman-Stirred   Leave a comment

This week on Woman-Stirred Radio I am delighted to welcome artist Sophie Blackall, whose first book for adults, Missed Connections, has drawn deserved attention and great reviews.

Missed Connections: Love, Lost & Found (Workman Publishing, 2011) began as a BLOG based on real, anonymous messages posted online by strangers. Fascinated by the thousands of posted Missed Connections, Blackall’s images  bring whimsey and depth to the posts, and celebrate the mysteries of attraction and  love-at-first- sight. Missed Connections reminds us that the age-old “remembered glance, smile, or fleeting conversation” can slow the speed of the digital world.

Author and illustrator of more than twenty children’s books, Blackall has won the Ezra Jack Keats Award, the BCCB Blue Ribbon Award, and a Founder’s Award from the Society of Illustrators. She is an honor recipient of the Horn Book Award for Pecan Pie Baby, and the Ivy and Bean series. Blackall’s Big Red Lollipop won the New York Times Top-Ten Picture Book Award for 2010. Her iillustrations have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Gourmet, Food & Wine, and Town & Country. Interview begins at 4:15 p.m. The air studio number is 802.454.7762.

Then at 5:00, I welcome Deborah Willis, author of Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs, and Reflections in Black. A recipient of MacArthur, Guggenheim, and Fletcher Fellowships, Deborah Willis is chair and professor of New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, Department of Photography and Imaging.
Her new collection, Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present is the first photographic history of black beauty in African American culture, “a story overlooked by most of America” (N).  Posing Beauty explores notions of Black beauty and the import of the pose, which expands and manipulates the viewer’s perspective. Nicholas Mirzoeff argues “the pose is the essence of the photograph” (xvii), and as beauty and the pose exist in ever-changing cultural and political contexts, historical juxtapositions make the book even more compelling. Deborah Willis’s interview begins at 5p.m.

So tune in this Thursday, December 15th 4 to 6 p.m. to Woman-Stirred Radio for  diverse perspectives thoughtful discussion, open dialogue. Interviews start at 4:15. Listen every Thursday and join the WSR conversation with writers, visual artists, musicians, academics, policy makers, and special guests. The air studio number is 802.454.7762.

Woman-Stirred Radio broadcasts live every Thursday afternoon, from 4 to 6, on WGDR 91.1 fm and WGDH 91.7fm, Goddard College’s Community Radio stations. Click HERE to listen live. Click HERE for a selection of WSR podcasts. Click HERE for information about WSR and upcoming guests.

Wendy Call and Ellen Hart on Woman-Stirred Radio   Leave a comment

This week, on Thursday, December 8th, on Woman-Stirred Radio, I’m delighted to welcome Wendy Call, author of No Word for Welcome: the Mexican village faces the global economy (U of Nebraska Press), and delighted to welcome back mystery maven Ellen Hart, whose new book, The Lost Ladies of Lost Lake, has been released by Minotaur Press (St. Martin’s/McMillan).

At 4:15, Wendy Call, writer, editor, teacher, and translator, comes on air to talk about No Word for Welcome: the Mexican village faces the global economy, a fascinating and intimate portrait of the peoples and cultures of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the narrow “waist of Mexico” which stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. The region is known for “its strong women, spirited marketplaces, and deep sense of independence” (UNP). Call’s narrative about her years in the isthmus among the Huave and Zapotec, who now struggle with the consequences of industrialization and development that has been driven by the post-NAFTA global economy. “With timely and invaluable insights into the development battle, Call shows that the people who have suffered most from economic globalization have some of the clearest ideas about how we can all survive it” (UNP).

Wendy Call is a recent writer-in-residence at Seattle University, New College of Florida, and Harborview Medical Center. She is the coeditor of Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writer’s Guide, author of various essays, and translator of Mexican poetry and short fiction.

At 5:00, Ellen Hart joins us for a fun-fest about her latest Jane Lawless mystery, The Lost ladies of Lost Lake.  “While caring for a friend after she takes a nasty fall, restauranteur Jane Lawless discovers that her friend is actually much more afraid of a tragic accident that took place years ago—and the reporter snooping around it—” (SMP).  The Lost Women of Lost Lake is another adventure from one of the best writers of lesbian/gay mysteries!

The author of more than seventeen novels, Ellen Hart is a Lambda Literary and Minnesota Book Award winner.  She lives and writes in Minnesota.

Want to join the conversation? Call the air-studio at 802.454.7762