Tillie Olsen

Tony Christini at A Practical Policy notes there is a new documentary about the American writer Tillie Olsen, by filmmaker Ann Hershey. From the SF Gate story about the film:
In the film, Olsen says she started writing about the lives of the working people she grew up with because "it was nearly impossible to find them in any of the books I read." While still in her teens, she began writing the novel "Yonnondio," which she took up again and published in the early '70s. In this Depression-era tale of a family struggling to survive, the mother, Anna, dies of a botched abortion she performs on herself.
I use Olsen’s “I Stand Here Ironing” when I teach intro to Lit. There is a recording of Olsen reading the story in a kind of flat voice that’s still somehow expressive, perhaps because it is so clinical. Middle-class students often don’t connect easily with the story, but if I have students whose parents have worked three crappy jobs at a time to pay for university, those kids really seem to understand the story.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

1 thought on “Tillie Olsen”

  1. wellness report
    (for Tillie Olsen,1912-2007,warrior friend)
    i press on slogging through the daily shit with a silly smile on my lips possibly. up to my ankles in new ideas and dead friends. you can’t stay mad at life although madness is a condition with a long tail. and has a zoom lens. the labyrinth snakes through dreams switching evolutions and exchanging stigmas. ah me, said the iceland singer as she took another swing at the australian paparazzi. edward mycue

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