Archive for the ‘Woman-Stirred Radio’ 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. 

Historian Willard Sterne Randall and Musician Vanessa Lively on Woman-Stirred Radio   Leave a comment

This week on Woman-Stirred Radio I welcome Austin TX-based singer- songwriter, Vanessa Lively at 4:15 and then at 5:00, historian Willard Sterne Randall.

    “For a woman who thrives on jumping into the unknown with both feet, Vanessa Lively took an unusual approach to her new album, Uncovering Stones. She and her producer-husband, Jason, planned it practically down to the last note before stepping near a recording studio – a room in their Austin home, tricked out for the sessions by co-producer/engineer Keith Gary. Vanessa even painted the album art beforehand – on 42 canvas squares she sold individually to help fund the 12-song disc.

Lively recorded her first album, Let Me Rise, while she was living in Ecuador, followed by her second A Chain Unbroken,  recorded in Northern England. Her third, Canto y Cantera, was a tribute to Argentinean singer Mercedes Sosa and the nueva canción song movement she popularized.

Making music constantly during her sojourn in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, she observed how strongly it connected people.  Uncovering Stones is, she says, an expression of that experience. With a compelling mix of tempos and styles that embrace “hints of urban, world, Latin, funk and pop,” Lively’s songs fully capture her compassionate nature and love of community. Lively is thrilled with the result; she says Uncovering Stones is the album she dreamed of making—an inspiring album full of energy and beauty.

Then at 5:00, I welcome historian Willard Sterne Randall, author of Alexander Hamilton: A Life (Henry Holt, 2004), and Benedict Arnold: Patriot and Traitor (Morrow, 1990). His latest biography, Ethan Allen: His Life and Times, has just been published by WW Norton.

The book is accessible and cogent, bringing to life an historical figure at once iracible, brilliant, and passionate. Ethan Allen, as Randall describes him  as “part Davey Crockett, part Paul Bunyan, and two parts Jack Daniels.”

Randall brings Ethan Allen to life in this in-depth and fascinating narrative; the first extensive biography of Ethan Allen in fifty years.

Willard Sterne Randall is the author of twelve books, including Thomas Jefferson: A Life; George Washington: A Life; Benedict Arnold: Patriot and Traitor; and Alexander Hamilton: A Life. Randall is professor of history at Champlain College and lives in Burlington, VT.

So please join us on Woman-Stirred Radio, this Thursday, November 17th from 4 to 6 p.m. (eastern) for a lively and historically interesting two hours of ideas, questions, and creativity! Want to join the conversation? Call the air studio at 802.456.1630, or email questions and comments to 

Stella Duffy’s Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore; and Joshua Cody’s [Sic] featured this week on Woman-Stirred Radio   Leave a comment

Stella Duffy

 This Thursday, November 3rd, at 4:15 (eastern), all the way from England,  Stella Duffy joins Merry Gangemi on Woman-Stirred Radio to discuss her bestselling historical novel, Theodora: actress, empress, whore (Penguin 2011). The novel, released in October tells the story of the young girl who began her life in 6th-century Byzantium and became one of the most powerful and progressive women of her age. Scholars believe Theodora was born between 479 and 510 AD. Her father was a bear trainer at the Hippodrome, the vast and sports center of Constantinople and the site of Theodora’s early career as and acrobat.

Duffy weaves a plausible, tapestry-like narrative, illuminating the smallest details of daily life in the first millenium after Christ’s death as well as each pinnacle and nadir of Theodora’s tumultuous, fascinating, and emotionally-rich life. 

Then at 5:00, Merry welcomes new York City-based composer and film maker,  Joshua Cody, whose memoir , [sic]  is about his three-year encounter with malignancy, in the form of a tumor in his neck, paints a landscape of the ordeal textured with irony,  self-deprecation, and insights lyrical and profound. Writer Nick Flynn finds the book “endlessly curious, genuinely funny, fiercely intelligent, and wonderfully perverse” (WWNorton). 

“Moving effortlessly between references to Don Giovanni and the Rolling Stones, Ezra Pound and Buffalo Bill”Cody’s memoir “is a mesmerizing, hallucinatory glimpse into a young man’s battle against disease and a celebration of art, language, music, and life” (WW Norton).

Listen to this week’s show Thursday, November 3rd, locally, at WGDR 91.1 or WGDH 91.7 fm, or stream us live at Interviews begin at 4:15.

WGDR and WGDH are the community radio stations of Goddard College, Plainfield, VT. Woman-Stirred Radio is supported in part by Sinister Wisdom, the world’s oldest continuously-published lesbian journal of arts and letters, by grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Goddard College, and listeners like you.

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

Montpelier Author Jane Dwinell on Woman-Stirred Radio   Leave a comment

This Thursday, October 27th, at 5:00 p.m. (eastern), Jane Dwinell visits Woman-Stirred Radio to talk about her latest book, Freedom through Frugality: Spend less and have more.

“In the early days of the economic crisis, the media touted the “new frugality” as a way for people to weather the storm until the sun came out. But, the truth is, the storm is here to stay. With all the ups and downs on Wall Street and in Washington, the ongoing job stagnation and housing downturn, economists are clear that the recession will be with us for some time.
In the meantime, many people are getting used to being thrifty and are, in many cases, seeing this as a new way of life, one that brings them some peace of mind in the midst of uncertainty. But many more people are crying out for information that could help them deal with these tough times.  Freedom Through Frugality provides that help.

But, just what is frugality? According to author Jane Dwinell, frugality is about:
            Being deliberate and careful with your resources
            Planning ahead
            Making do
            Understanding the true cost of things
            Not wasting anything — including your life
            Common sense
            Paying attention
And, what frugality is not about:
            Just you
            Being cheap
            Living a spartan existence
            Living in fear
Dwinell offers philosophy, support, and how-to for your transition to a more frugal, fun, and free life. With the ongoing global economic unpredictability, and the understanding that living on a smaller ecological footprint can help stem climate change, Freedom Through Frugality is a timely book.
Jane Dwinell has been living a free and frugal life for over 25 years — in the country, in the city, and in town. She and her partner raised two children (who continue to be frugal young adults), and have travelled extensively since they retired in their mid-50s. They currently live in Montpelier, VT” (GLW).

Sound interesting? Then tune in this Thursday, October 27th, at 5:00 for what should be a very cool discussion about the different ways we can free ourselves from the clutches of corporate-controlled life—which is really what we are seeing in the phenomenal Occupy Wall Street movement that is sweeping the country—and find freedom!