Levins Morales, Aurora 1954-
Levins Morales, Aurora 1954-
Born February 24, 1954, in Castañer, Puerto Rico; daughter of Rosario Morales (a writer). Education: Attended Franconia College, Franconia, NH; Union Institute, Cincinnati, OH, M.A., Ph.D.
Home—Minneapolis, MN; Berkeley, CA.
Hist orian, consultant, writer. Department of Natural Resources of Puerto Rico, research assistant, c. 1974; Pacifica Radio Station KPFA, Berkeley, CA, reporter and documentary producer; independent consultant on training and educational resource development in community building, 1981—; University of Minnesota, part-time faculty member; former poet-on-assignment for Pacifica Radio's Flashpoints news magazine.
President's Circle of Scholars Award, Union Institute, 1997; Ardella Mills Prize, 1989, for journalistic prose.
(With mother, Rosario Morales) Getting Home Alive, Firebrand Books (Ithaca, NY) 1986.
Remedios: Stories of Earth and Iron from the History of Puertorriqueñas, Beacon Press (Boston, MA), 1998.
Medicine Stories: History, Culture, and the Politics of Integrity, South End Press (Cambridge, MA), 1998.
Also coauthor of multimedia plays, including La Poblacion, 1979; Canto Libre, 1980; and Step by Step, 1981. Contributor to anthologies, including This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, 1981; and Cuentos: Stories by Latinas, 1983. Contributor of essays, poems, and short stories to periodicals, including the Americas Review, Ms., Coming Up, Women's Review of Books, Bridges, and Gay Community News.
Aurora Levins Morales often writes of her Puerto Rican ancestry and political activism. In her book Remedios: Stories of Earth and Iron from the History of Puertorriqueñas, the author provides an analysis of Puerto Rican women's history through a series of vignettes that also present various "remedies" based on herbal lore associated with the curanderas, or traditional Latino healers. In addition to writing about women from Puerto Rico, the author also writes about women from West Africa, Spain, and Mexico. The book covers nearly 2,000 years of history from the dawn of civilization to modern time. "Remedios is a compelling mixture of collective historical memoir and personal history, of poetical anthropology and oral myth," wrote Jane Gibson in a review posted on the ForeWord Magazine Web site. Several reviewers also noted the author's ability to make history and political activism interesting through good writing. According to Awakened Woman.com contributor Diane R. Schulz: "Morales is not only an historian, an herbalist and a political feminist, but a poet. Far from the usual dryness of historic presentation, her writing evokes time and place through colors, sounds, smells, textures and emotional memory." In a review in Booklist, Alice Joyce wrote: "Captivating language and enticing cadence are characteristics of the enchanting prose Morales employs."
Levins Morales's next book, Medicine Stories: History, Culture, and the Politics of Integrity, is a series of essays discussing such issues as history and the place of women in politics, colonization, and political activism. The book also includes autobiographical stories about Levins Morales growing up as a mixedrace child (her father is Jewish and her mother is Puerto Rican). "Morales has given us a blueprint for sustained action against oppression, a way out of victimhood, and a way to look again at the historical context of colonialism, racism, sexism, and their interrelatedness," wrote Schulz on AwakenedWoman.com.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Notable Hispanic American Women, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1998.
America, July 18, 1992, "Puerto Rican Writers at Home in the U.S.A.," p. 41.
Berkeley Women's Law Journal, January 1, 1999, Dawn Ceizler, review of Remedios: Stories of Earth and Iron from the History of Puertorriqueñas, p. 164.
Booklist, September 15, 1998, Alice Joyce, review of Remedios, p. 187.
Choice, March 1, 1999, M.V. Ekstrom, review of Remedios, p. 1267.
Ms. Magazine, September 1, 1998, review of Remedios, p. 89.
Publishers Weekly, November 14, 1986, John Mutter, review of Getting Home Alive, p. 57; September 7, 1998, review of Remedios, p. 80.
Reference & Research Book News, May 1, 1999, review of Remedios, p. 178.
AwakenedWoman.com,http://www.awakenedwoman.com/ (April 2, 2002), Diane R. Schulz, reviews of Remedios and Medicine Stories: History, Culture, and the Politics of Integrity.
ForeWord Magazine,http://www.forewordmagazine.com/ (June 26, 2007), Jane Gibson, review of Remedios.
PoetryMagazine.com,http://www.poetrymagazine.com/ (June 26, 2007), brief profile of author.
Voices from the Gaps: Women Artists and Writers of Color,http://voices.cla.umn.edu/ (June 26, 2007), biography of author.