Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday Muse: Poet and Writer Robin Morgan

. . . this is the final struggle left to win. . . .
~ Robin Morgan, from "The Ghost Light"

Recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts poetry prize and numerous other honors and the former editor-in-chief of Ms. Magazine (1989-1994), Robin Morgan has published poetry, memoir, nonfiction, fiction, and anthologies. Her poetry collections, recently reissued as e-books by Open Road Media, are A Hot January: Poems 1996-1999 (W.W. Norton, 1999; paper, 2000), Depth Perception: Poems and a Masque (Doubleday/Anchor, 1994), Death Benefits: A Chapbook (Copper Canyon Press, 1981), Lady of the Beasts (Random House, 1976), and Monster (Random House/Vintage, 1972). Morgan also is the author of Upstairs in the Garden: Poems Selected and New 1968-1988 (W.W. Norton, 1990).

Among Morgan's anthologies are the well-known Sisterhood Is Forever (Washington Square Press/Simon & Schuster, 2003), Sisterhood Is Global (The Feminist Press/CUNY, 1996 and 1984), and Sisterhood Is Powerful (Random House/Vintage, 1970). Her other writings encompass essays, interviews and profiles, criticism, investigative journalism, and political analyses. An activist since the 1960s, Morgan is writer, producer, and host of the weekly program "Women's Media Center Live with Robin Morgan", offering political commentary and featuring political and literary guests.

Earlier this year, at TEDWomen 2015, Morgan spoke of having Parkinson's disease and of working with the Parkinson's Disease Foundation. She also noted that, being a poet, she "began working with [her] subject matter, finding it tragic, hilarious, sometimes even joyful". Adding that she does "not feel diminished by Parkinson's" but "distilled by it", Morgan read four strong, witty, and profoundly affecting poems about aging and her experience of the disease: "No Signs of Struggle", "On Donating My Brain to Science", "The Ghost Light", and "This Dark Hour". All four poems are from Morgan's new collection Dark Matter, expected to be released in 2016.

As you listen to Morgan reading her poetry, you'll understand, I think, why she has been described as a person who "uses words as ammunition"*.

The texts of the poems are included in a transcript of Morgan's reading.

Robin Morgan on FaceBook and Twitter

* Reena Bernards, "Robin Morgan", Profile at Jewish Women's Archive

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