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sad news about Meridel Le Sueur

Here is a forward of a sad message just received. I know that there are book
artists in Minnesota, and perhaps elsewhere, on this list, who were friends,
colleagues, and collaborators with Meridel Le Sueur. She was the author of
one of the finest books in the Winter Book series made by artists at
Minnesota Center for Book Arts. She will be missed.

charles alexander
chax press

>i am forwarding a note i received from my friend jo grant at bookzen.
>meridel le sueur has died.
>it is hard news, though she is very old and has led an incredibly rich,
>giving life.  it is hard to think there will be no new stories, poems,
>essays.  her work is, like that of tillie olson, judy grahn, adrienne
>rich, pat parker, audre lord, an unflinching, careful, strong writing
>of women's lives with a particular tender, lyric quality of its own.
>i am sometimes reminded of sarah orne jewett when i read her gentle,
>image-filled text, and yet her words also have the anger and social
>ferocity of dreiser, of the vietnam poets and writers, of sharon olds
>and dorothy allison.  i try and describe her in terms of other writers,
>other texts, because i am trying to hold on to her, connect her so tha
>it won't feel as if she has gone quite so far.
>i know jo grant and her family would be moved to hear any words anyone
>would like to send in tribute to, or memory of, meridel.  you may reach
>them at the address in jo's mailing (appended).
>>From jgrant@xxxxxxxxxxx Mon Nov 18 01:56:50 1996
>Return-Path: jgrant@xxxxxxxxxxx
>Date: Mon, 18 Nov 1996 02:00:06 -0600
>Subject: Meridel Le Sueur: 1900-1996
>Very sad to inform the many Iowa Citians who were friends of Meridel
>LeSueur that she died yesterday. For those who attended her last appearence
>in Iowa City, at Old Brick, during her final Iowa Tour will remember her
>telling us:
>"I was born at the beginning of the swiftest and bloodiest century at
>Murray, Iowa, in a white square puritan house in the corn belt, of two
>physically beautiful people who had come west through the
>Indian and the Lincoln country, creating the new race of the
>Americas by enormous and rugged and gay matings with the Dutch,
>the Indian, the Irish; being preachers, abolitionists, agrarians, radical
>lawyers on the Lincoln, Illinois, circuit.
>"Dissenters and democrats and radicals through five generations.
>Meridel LeSueur - 1900-1996
>That night at Old Brick Meridel spoke about the years of being
>blacklisted by McCarthy and the difficult time she and her children
>had trying to survive during the reign of the House UnAmerican
>Activities Committee. At one point her agent told her she could sell
>more books if she would write like Ernest Hemingway. She responded "I
>would, but I have better things to do with my time than write about
>fighting, fishing and fucking."
>A feminist decades before the term entered everyday use, she spent her
>life on the front line fighting for the rights of women, minorities,
>Native Americans, gays and the disabled.
>A review of her most recent book, THE DREAD ROAD, and an article about her
>can be found at www.bookzen.com.  Both have been downloaded by newspapers
>from around the world, along with embarassingly  few from the U.S.
>The book review is at: <http://www.bookzen.com/books/0000066r1.html>
>The article is at: <http://www.bookzen.com/books/0000066a1.html>
>Both were written by Chuck Miller. When Meridel read them she was so
>touched she cried. It was rare when anything as insightful as Miller's
>article and review had ever been written about her. After many hours
>of audio and video recording of Meridel over a period of 13 years it
>was the first time I witnessed her crying.
>But what a life...
>As a young girl she marched with Mother Bloor in Colorado to protest
>the massacre of miners and their families at Ludlow; during her early
>teens lived with Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman; grew up a
>prolitarian writer who counted as her friends: Agnes Smedley,
>Josephine Herbst, Nelson Algren, Grace Lumpkin, Upton Sinclair, Jack
>Conroy, Richard Wright, Zona Gale, Theodore Drieser, Kenneth Fearing,
>Mari Sandoz...Boris Israel and too many others to name here. Her
>grandfather, whose wife was identified only as a squaw--since the
>state of Ohio didn't include names of Native Americans who married
>white men--was a friend of John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed)....
>I've gone on too long.
>I'll close with this quote from Miller's article:
>"Henry Miller, Keraouc and Bukowski are all dead. There is no one else
>left of LeSueur's stature in American literature today. She stands
>alone, a giant, waiting to be discovered by her own nation."
>Amen to thjat, or rather, A(wo)men!
>If anyone does not  have access to the World Wide Web E-mail me and I will
>send the article and the review by return mail.
>All of Meridel's books are in Special Collections at the main UI library
>if the Iowa City Public Library doesn't have them.
>Some people have contacted me and asked if they can share thoughts
>about Meridel and have them posted where their friends could find them
>and respond. We're setting it up with all comments being printed and
>copies being placed in the LeSueur collections in MN, WI & IA.
>j grant
>Don't hesitate to share this with any friends who know about Meridel.
>Peace and love,
>                                Authors & publishers display books free at
>                                            http://www.bookzen.com
>                                        10,877 visitors 10-28 to 11-03

get off my back. the future fields into which I write are
unimaginable. I do not know, any more than you do, what is
around me, nor how far to go, nor precisely what I leave behind.

                                          --Beverly Dahlen
                          from A Reading 8 - 10
                          published by Chax Press

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