Barrington, Judith 1944–
Barrington, Judith 1944–
PERSONAL: Born July 7, 1944, in Brighton, England; daughter of Reginald and Violet E.H. Barrington; companion of Ruth Gundle (a publisher). Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Marylhurst College, B.A., 1978; Goddard College, M.A., 1980. Politics: "Feminist." Hobbies and other interests: Music.
ADDRESSES: Office—622 SE 29th Ave., Portland, OR 97214; fax: 503-233-0774. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Perelada Castle and Winery, Perelada, Spain, guide and interpreter, 1964–66; Utilair Ltd., London, England, marketing director, 1968–73; Flight of the Mind (writing workshops for women), Portland, OR, director, 1984–2000. Soapstone: Writing Retreat for Women, president; visiting writer at schools and workshops in Oregon and Washington, 1985–92; Portland State University, teacher for summer programs, including creative writing workshops, 1989–; Portland Visual Arts Chronicle, member of selection committee, 1995–98.
MEMBER: PEN America, Poetry Society of America, Poetry Society (England).
AWARDS, HONORS: Andres Berger Award, Northwest Writers, 1995; Freedom of Expression Award, American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, 1995; first prize from Dulwich Festival international poetry contest, Literary Arts, Inc., 1996; Oregon Arts Commission fellowship in creative nonfiction, 1997; Stuart Holbrook Award for outstanding service to the literary community, 1997; Literary Arts fellow, 2000; Lambda Literary Award, Lambda Literary Foundation, 2001, for Lifesaving: A Memoir.
Trying to Be an Honest Woman (poetry), Eighth Mountain Press (Portland, OR), 1985.
History and Geography (poetry), Eighth Mountain Press (Portland, OR), 1989.
(Editor) An Intimate Wilderness: Lesbian Writers on Sexuality, Eighth Mountain Press (Portland, OR), 1991.
Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art, Eighth Mountain Press (Portland, OR), 1997.
Lifesaving: A Memoir, Eighth Mountain Press (Portland, OR), 2000.
Horses and the Human Soul (nonfiction), Story Line Press (Ashland, OR), 2004.
Creator (with Nancy Azara) of Passages, a collection of poetry and sculpture, 1999.
SIDELIGHTS: Judith Barrington once told CA: "I started writing poetry at a young age primarily because I was enchanted with its rhythms and sounds. As a teenager, I wrote because I was privately dramatic, but later I returned to the music of language as an inspiration. Now, whether I write poetry or prose, I am motivated by the possibilities for beauty inherent in the English language. At times I am also motivated by a desire to illuminate the underdog's situation; in other words, I can become a political writer. I have been, at different times, greatly influenced by Adrienne Rich, Eavan Boland, Seamus Heaney, Paul Monette, Sylvia Plath, Louise Gluck, and Mimi Khalvati.
"I don't believe writers really choose their subjects—whenever I have connected with one, it feels more as if it has chosen me. I am motivated simply by the fact that I am much happier when writing (even if the work makes me at times utterly miserable) than when not.
"Because, like many writers, I teach creative writing (mostly in the summer) and direct an annual writing workshop, my writing time comes in spaces that I clear out with some effort ahead of time. When I have some weeks that are mostly empty of 'busy work,' I either go away to somewhere very quiet where I can hear bird-song, or retreat to my converted attic. I have also been lucky enough to use the writers' room at my local library.
"I wrote Lifesaving: A Memoir, after trying to deal with the subject of my parents' deaths by drowning over many years and in many different genres. It was a subject I could not ignore. I have written many poems about horses, which have come to symbolize the spirit to me. Shorter memoirs have focused on my experiences of the women's movement in London during the 1970s and the effects of homophobia on my life. Again, these seem like the kind of formative, core experiences which rise to the surface when I let the words lead the way."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Barrington, Judith, Lifesaving: A Memoir, Eighth Mountain Press (Portland, OR), 2000.
Judith Barrington: Anglo-American Poet, Memoirist, and Creative Writing Teacher, http://www.judithbarrington.com (July 29, 2006).
Soapstone: Writing Retreat for Women, http://www.soapstone.org/ (July 29, 2006).