Education: Duke University, B.A.; University of Iowa, M.F.A.
Writer, novelist, poet, administrator, and educator. Columbia University, School of General Studies, New York, NY, lecturer in English. 92nd Street Y, New York, NY, coordinator of Literary Outreach program and director of Unterberg Poetry Center's Schools Project, 1987—. Sarah Lawrence College, visiting professor; Teachers & Writers Collaborative, New York, NY, artist-in-residence.
Guggenheim Fellowship; National Poetry Series award for Folly River.
Folly River (poems), Dutton (New York, NY), 1980.
Listen: A Memoir, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals, including Kenyon Review, New Yorker, Ploughshares, and Paris Review.
Wendy Salinger is a novelist, poet, and educator who serves as a literary outreach program coordinator at the 92nd Street Y, a prominent New York City cultural center. She works to "make high school students part of the city's literary community," noted a biographer on the 92nd Street Y Web site. Through her efforts, public high school students from New York's five boroughs have the opportunity to meet with prominent writers, poets, and memoirists before attending readings. Students "learn first-hand about the writing process and the life of the writer," the biographer wrote. In addition, Salinger conducts the Y's free weekly writing workshops for high school students and administers the center's Ernst Pawel Student Writing Award.
In Listen: A Memoir, Salinger presents an emotional memoir of her father's life and of her family's situation both before and after his death. She relates the tensions and terrors of living with an "abusive, self-centered, self-indulgent artist father," noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Throughout the memoir, Salinger works to arrange and justify two approaches to her father, a prominent poet and educator: one, to recognize and honor him as someone who inspired, encouraged, and guided her writing; and two, to reconcile her memory of sexual abuse suffered at her father's hand. She also recounts the difficulties of living with such an emotionally volatile man. Her "haunting memoir captures vividly the way her father's accusing, complaining, raging tirades against his wife" became common events during the 1950s and 1960s, even to the point where wife and daughter often preferred silence for fear of angering him during dinner conversations. For Salinger and her readers, surprises come when they realize why her mother tolerated the verbal abuse and difficult life while Salinger's father was alive. "With creative control and telling imagery, poet Salinger … renders the everyday absorbing," commented a Publishers Weekly contributor.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Salinger, Wendy, Listen: A Memoir, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2006.
Booklist, February 15, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of Listen, p. 37.
Boston Globe, May 7, 2006, Amanda Heller, review of Listen.
East Hampton Star, June 29, 2006, Richard Horwich, review of Listen.
Harper's Magazine, December 1, 1980, Hayden Carruth, review of Folly River, p. 74.
Library Journal, September 1, 1980, review of Folly River, p. 1738.
Poetry, April 1, 1982, Charles Berger, review of Folly River, p. 39.
Publishers Weekly, September 2, 1983, Sally A. Lodge, review of Richard Wilbur's Creation, p. 73; January 23, 2006, review of Listen, p. 196.
Washington Post Book World, June 4, 2006, Andrew Ervin, review of Listen.
92nd Street Y Web site,http://www.92y.org/ (May 24, 2007), biography of Wendy Salinger.
PoetryFoundation.org,http://www.poetryfoundation.org/ (May 24, 2007), biography of Wendy Salinger.
Writers' Representatives Web site,http://www.writersreps.com/ (May 24, 2007), biography of Wendy Salinger.