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Katha Pollitt | The Nation

Katha Pollitt

Author Bios

Katha Pollitt

Katha Pollitt

Columnist

Katha Pollitt is well known for her wit and her keen sense of both the ridiculous and the sublime. Her "Subject to Debate" column, which debuted in 1995 and which the Washington Post called "the best place to go for original thinking on the left," appears every other week in The Nation; it is frequently reprinted in newspapers across the country. In 2003, "Subject to Debate" won the National Magazine Award for Columns and Commentary. She is also a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute.

Pollitt has been contributing to The Nation since 1980. Her 1992 essay on the culture wars, "Why We Read: Canon to the Right of Me..." won the National Magazine Award for essays and criticism, and she won a Whiting Foundation Writing Award the same year. In 1993 her essay "Why Do We Romanticize the Fetus?" won the Maggie Award from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Many of Pollitt's contributions to The Nation are compiled in three books: Reasonable Creatures: Essays on Women and Feminism (Knopf); Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture (Modern Library); and Virginity or Death! And Other Social and Political Issues of Our Time (Random House). In 2007 Random House published her collection of personal essays, Learning to Drive and Other Life Stories. Two pieces from this book, "Learning to Drive" and its followup, "Webstalker," originally appeared in The New Yorker. "Learning to Drive" is anthologized in Best American Essays 2003.

Pollitt has also written essays and book reviews for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Harper's, Ms., Glamour, Mother Jones, the New York Times, and the London Review of Books. She has appeared on NPR's Fresh Air and All Things Considered, Charlie Rose, The McLaughlin Group, CNN, Dateline NBC and the BBC. Her work has been republished in many anthologies and is taught in many university classes.

For her poetry, Pollitt has received a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her 1982 book Antarctic Traveller won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her poems have been published in many magazines and are reprinted in many anthologies, most recently The Oxford Book of American Poetry (2006).  Her second collection, The Mind-Body Problem, came out from Random House in 2009.

Born in New York City, she was educated at Harvard and the Columbia School of the Arts. She has lectured at dozens of colleges and universities, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brooklyn College, UCLA, the University of Mississippi and Cornell. She has taught poetry at Princeton, Barnard and the 92nd Street Y, and women's studies at the New School University.

Articles

News and Features

Traveling in South Africa, you learn that one great thing about the country is that no one engages in small talk.

Anita Hill may not have stopped Clarence Thomas from being confirmed to the Supreme Court, but in the wake of her accusations, our culture changed. Or did it, really?

Young feminists aren't disdaining the movement, they're claiming it—but they want a bigger place in it.

Literary taste-making can't be the one place in America where gendered expectations play no role.

In Germany, a strong social safety net keeps people from plunging into the abyss. Why are we so averse to having that security in the United States?

The proposed cultural center in lower Manhattan has become the latest target of the right's all-out attack on the First Amendment.

Conservative housewives have the same desire for power and respect that liberal women do. No wonder women comprise half of the Tea Party movement.

Is our society on the verge of becoming a matriarchy? In your dreams.

Americans sacrifice to pay for a militarized, increasingly unequal society. Is it any wonder that people respond to calls for selflessness with defensiveness and cynicism?

I don't like face-veiling either. But how does criminalizing Muslim women's clothing make them more equal?

Blogs

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From Salon's War Room comes this quote of the day, from Iowa's Lt. Gov. Patty Judge, a Democrat: "Sarah knows how to field-dress a moose. I...
John McCain's choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as running mate shows how desperate he is to distract attention from the fact that he...