Tag Archives: Amanda Gorman


By Michael Lederer

I first read Hem­ing­way at col­lege in 1978, an intro course called Mod­ern Exis­ten­tial Lit­er­a­ture. The Old Man and the Sea was like look­ing at an x‑ray to see how we are put togeth­er. The Sun Also Ris­es was a look at how we fall apart. It was also a siren’s call: “This way, fol­low me.”

Pho­to cred­it: Kata­ri­na Led­er­er: Michael Led­er­er with Hemingway’s stat­ue, Havana, 2013

In spring 1980, I had five hun­dred bucks, a Eurail Pass and a back­pack, and two months in which to see as much of Europe as I could. From Paris, fol­low­ing the char­ac­ters from Sun, the train took me as far as Bay­onne and from there it was thumb out. An old man named Jesus picked me up in a white car and drove me up the moun­tain to Pam­plona. As a boy dur­ing the San Fer­min fes­ti­val, he had shak­en Hemingway’s hand. When I got out of the car and he shook my hand, I was con­vinced if not a torch at least a spark had been passed.

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My Girls, Our Girls, and the Women Before Us

By Martina Kohl

“It is my hon­or to be here, to stand on the shoul­ders of those who came before,” Kamala Har­ris, the first female, the first black, the first Asian Amer­i­can Vice-Pres­i­dent of the U.S.A. proud­ly said in her first address to the nation on inau­gu­ra­tion day. Her tone is opti­mistic, her goals are ambi­tious, and her ener­gy seems unlimited.

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It is true, we all are stand­ing on the shoul­ders of those who came before, all the women who pre­pared the way for our progress, our achieve­ments. And there has been quite a bit of progress as Car­ol Dyhouse, a social his­to­ri­an at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Sus­sex, describes in her new book, Love Lives: From Cin­derel­la to Frozen. The title is a bit mis­lead­ing. Though myths, fairy tales, and pop­u­lar cul­ture tropes still influ­ence us, Dyhouse out­lines how women in the west­ern world have aban­doned the restric­tions of domes­tic life since the 1950s and grad­u­al­ly, though often painful­ly, have claimed access to edu­ca­tion and the pro­fes­sion­al world. A long path it has been to self-deter­mi­na­tion and eco­nom­ic independence.

But even now the ques­tion remains: Have we made enough progress? Because I do wor­ry about “my girls” these days, as Michelle Oba­ma describes them. I wor­ry about “my boys,” too, but this is a blog post to remind our­selves of Inter­na­tion­al Women’s Day and Women’s His­to­ry Month. Both encour­age us to reflect on those who came before, but also on those to whom we pass the baton, whose legs we steady on our shoulders.

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