I didn’t know she died last year. I’m feeling a bit like a door just hit me in the face. I came to know her through her work at CUNY’s Feminist Press, and it was like a revelation: a working class white woman writer, brilliant and often neglected. Her book Silences was then, & is now, a revelation.
The NYT notes, in her obituary, that when Margaret Atwood reviewed it when it came out, she said:
“It begins with an account, first drafted in 1962, of her own long, circumstantially enforced silence,” Ms. Atwood wrote. “She did not write for a very simple reason: A day has 24 hours. For 20 years she had no time, no energy and none of the money that would have bought both.”
The books she helped bring back – like Life in the Iron Mills and Daughter of Earth (Agnes Smedley’s autobiography) were some of the first reflections of where my people came from I’d ever read.
How frustrating not to have known.