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.
As if things couldn't get any worse for Haiti, 1.2 million people are now homeless, living in crowded makeshift open-air "spontaneous settlements" without shelter beyond maybe a bedsheet. The rainy season is on its way. It's hard to imagine the misery – no protection from the elements, no sanitation--to say nothing of the risks of epidemic disease.
I was not surprised by "HisPANIC: the Myth of Immigrant Crime," Ron Unz's article in The American Conservative showing that Latinos in the US have a crime rate no higher than that of whites once you adjust for age. That's because Unz's thesis is in fact well-known.
So here it is, Superbowl Sunday, or as I prefer to call it, Focus on the Fetus Sunday. If you support women's right to decide for themselves when and if to continue a pregnancy, don't just get mad at the TV set when the Tebow ad comes on, get even.
If you've been wondering how and where to donate to Haiti relief work, have meant to give but haven't yet done so, have given already but can give more ($10?), you can't do better than give to Partners in Health.
There's been a new development since my last column appeared: the Embassy has told Ms. Quazi to send an itinerary for her departure. What that means is unclear, because she still doesn't have a passport and there is still the matter of the exit visa – but it has to be a positive sign.