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literature

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Pratt, Minnie Bruce (b. 1946)  
 
page: 1  2  

Pratt's Walking Back Up Depot Street (1999) explores race relations, a topic that she has also treated in her essays. Pratt has stated that, after growing up in the segregated South, she came to realize that "the main public story of my upbringing had been a lie." She is strongly committed to the protection of the civil rights of African Americans and other minorities.

Pratt's most recent collection, The Dirt She Ate: Selected and New Poems (2003), won praise from reviewers and a Lambda Literary Award.

Sponsor Message.

Pratt's non-fiction writing includes the long essay "Identity: Skin Blood Heart" in Yours in Struggle (1984), which she co-wrote with Elly Bulkin and Barbara Smith, and Rebellion: Essays 1980-1991, a wide-ranging collection in which she deals with racism, censorship, overcoming learned prejudices, and the value of community. Rebellion earned a Lambda Literary Award nomination.

Pratt has also written S/he (1995), a series of short prose pieces that explore the meanings of sex and gender and the nature of desire. Many of her stories focus on her relationship with Leslie Feinberg, activist and author of Stone Butch Blues (1993), who has been her life partner since 1992.

In S/he Pratt writes of anxieties, such as her fear for Feinberg's safety after reading about the rape and murder of a transgender woman, and of the frustration that Feinberg often experiences because of hir (the pronominal form that Feinberg prefers) non-traditional gender identity. In the end, however, writes reviewer Sara Greenslit, "Pratt wants us to read her life as an example of pleasure found through sexual identity and desire."

Among these pleasures for Pratt is choosing to dress in a feminine way--"enjoying the cool swish of my skirt"--instead of wearing more gender-neutral clothing as she did upon first coming out. She is content in her femme identity.

Among the many awards and honors that Pratt has received was a 1990 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts that she shared with Audre Lorde and Chrystos. Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina condemned the women's writings as obscene and called for a federal investigation into the "misuse" of the tax-payers' money. Because of Helms' attack, the Fund for Free Expression chose the three poets--"targets of right-wing forces"--as the recipients of its 1991 Lillian Hellman-Dashiell Hammett Award.

Minnie Bruce Pratt continues to write, speak, and teach to combat all varieties of prejudice, to work for peace, to affirm the dignity of all people, and to celebrate the gifts of love.

Linda Rapp

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    Bibliography
   

"An Interview with Minnie Bruce Pratt." Publishing Triangle. 2004. www.publishingtriangle.org/prattinterview.asp.

Benkov, Laura. Reinventing the Family: The Emerging Story of Lesbian and Gay Parents. New York: Crown Publishers, 1994.

Graff, E.J. "Struggling with Gender." Women's Review of Books 12 (July 1995): 25.

Greenslit, Sara. "Girl's Guide to Blurred Gender Lines." Lesbian Review of Books 2 (October 31, 1995): 25.

Innes, Charlotte. "Questioning Out Loud: A Book about Pain, Poetry, Possibility--and a Peach." Lambda Book Report 3 (January 1992): 19.

Kawada, Louise. "Minnie Bruce Pratt." Contemporary Lesbian Writers of the United States: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Westport, Conn. and London: Greenwood Press, 1993. 420-426.

"Minnie Bruce Pratt." www.mbpratt.org.

Pratt, Minnie Bruce. Crime Against Nature. Ithaca, N. Y.: Firebrand Books, 1990.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Pratt, Minnie Bruce  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated June 29, 2006  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/literature/pratt_mb.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  
 

 

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