A sampling of writers' voices
Tillie Olsen in `I Stand Here Ironing' `And when is there time to remember, to sift, to weigh, to estimate, to total? I will start and there will be an interruption and I will have to gather it all together again. Or I will become engulfed with all I did or did not do, with what should have been and what cannot be helped.'
Tillie Olsen won the 1961 O.Henry Award for best American short story for ``Tell Me A Riddle.'' Her books include ``Silences,'' ``Yonnondio: From the Thirties,'' and ``Mother to Daughter; Daughter to Mother.'' She has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Massachusetts, and Amherst College.
May Sarton's `The Summer Tree' In all the summer glut of green, Serrated leaves, a dark and shifty screen, Catalpa flowers, unseasonal surprise, To tense the landscape up for drowsy eyes. We come alive beholding points of white, Among the leaves, immense rosettes alight. The blessing of pure form that opens space And makes us stop and look in sudden peace.
May Sarton was born in Belgium and raised in Cambridge, Mass. She has written 42 books in various genres on the nature of aging, marriages, friendships, love, and the creative impulse. She is the recipient of 12 honorary doctorates, a Guggenheim fellowship, and other awards.
Gwendolyn Brooks in `Maud Martha'
`Here was technicolor, and the love story was sweet. And there was classical music that silvered its way into you and made your back cold.... But you felt good sitting there, yes, good, and as if, when you left it, you would be going home to a sweet-smelling apartment with flowers on little gleaming tables; and wonderful silver on night-blue velvet, in chests; and crackly sheets;... Instead of back to your kitchen apartment, with the garbage of your floor's families in a big can just outside your door, and the gray sound of little gray feet scratching away from it as you drag up those flights of narrow, complaining stairs.'
Gwendolyn Brooks has written seven volumes of poetry, one novel, a children's book, and an autobiography. She was named poet laureate of Illinois in 1968, succeeding Carl Sandburg. She is the first black to win a Pulitzer Prize, and the first black woman to be named poetry consultant at the Library of Congress. The recipient of more than 40 honorary degrees, she has taught at Chicago's Columbia College, Elmhurst College, Northeastern Illinois State College, and the University of Wisconsin and has conducted poetry and fiction workshops for inner-city youths.