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Meridel Le Sueur Biography

(1900– ), The New Masses, The Daily Worker, Salute to Spring, The Girl, Annunciation, North Star Country

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Mary Lavin Biography to Light Shining in Buckinghamshire

American poet, novelist, and journalist, born in Murray, Iowa; she dropped out of high school, then lived in New York where she studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Art. Known for her political radicalism, she contributed to The New Masses and The Daily Worker. The stories and reportage collected in her early works, Salute to Spring (1940) and the novel The Girl (written in 1939 and published in 1978), reflect a concern for the outcasts, predominantly women, among whom Le Sueur lived for a time on the fringes of society. Annunciation (1935), written in the form of a journal, records Le Sueur's response to the execution of the anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti. North Star Country (1945) and Crusaders (1955) are accounts of Le Sueur's own family history and that of her native Midwest. Her later poetry, Rites of Ancient Ripening (1975), seeks to enact feminist principles by developing a vocabulary with which to describe landscape while resisting the male attitude of dominance. In place of masculine possessiveness, Le Sueur uses Native American motifs as representative of communal feminine experience. Le Sueur continually encountered difficulty in publishing her work. Her stories are collected in Harvest and Song for My Time (1977); Ripening (1982; edited by Elaine Hedges) is a selection from all her work.

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