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Poets lead panel discussion on women April 16 (Released: 4/8/96)

by Sherry Fisher, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- The lives of photographer Tina Modotti, painter Margarett Sargent and philosopher Simone Weil will be explored by three award-winning poets who have written about these women at a panel discussion at the University of Connecticut April 16.

Women Writing Women s Lives will include readings and discussion with Honor Moore, Stephanie Strickland and Margaret Gibson. The event will take place from 3:30-5 p.m. in the Doris and Simon Konover Auditorium of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. A reception and booksigning sponsored by the UConn Co-op will follow the discussion.

The event is sponsored by UConn s Department of English, the Women s Center, Women s Studies, The Homer Babbidge Library, the UConn Co-op and the Aetna Foundation.

The women who will be discussed experienced the exciting and unsettling events of the 1920s, 30s and 40s and expressed it in their art and thinking, said Gibson, coordinator of the program. Sargent was from a wealthy, well-established Boston family, Modotti was an Italian immigrant who worked in Mexico and took on the cause of the oppressed, and Weil, a Jew who converted to Catholicism, was a thinker and intellectual of considerable depth, Gibson said.

The three works that will be explored represent efforts by women of my generation to rediscover the intellectual and creative strengths of women who were of an earlier generation and whose work has not been sufficiently recognized or celebrated, Gibson said.

I adopted Tina as a kind of foremother and sister spirit because her commitment to the oppressed and the power of her aesthetic vision offered me something that I did not get in my family or social upbringing, Gibson said. Stephanie is particularly interested in the moral strengths of Simone Weil's vision, and the ways in which an intellectual woman is regarded and dismissed. Honor Moore explores the life and art of her grandmother, Margarett Sargent, in order to answer questions of her own about the conflicts that arise for women who are artists.

Moore will read from the biography The White Blackbird: A Granddaughter s Life of the Painter Margarett Sargent (1996). She is also the author of Memoir (1988), a book of poems.

Strickland will read from The Red Virgin, A Poem of Simone Weil (1993), which won a Brittingham Prize in Poetry. She has also published Give the Body Back (1991) and True North.

Gibson, a visiting professor in the English department at UConn, will read from Memories of the Future, The Daybooks of Tina Modotti (1986), co-winner of the Melville Cane Award given by the Poetry Society of America. Gibson s books of poems include: Long Walks in the Afternoon (1982); Out in the Open (1989) and The Vigil (1993).

Moore will read from The White Blackbird: a Granddaughter s Life of the Painter Margarett Sargent at the UConn Co-op at 7 p.m. A booksigning will follow.

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