Minnie Bruce Pratt
Biography of Minnie Bruce Pratt
Minnie Bruce Pratt (born September 12, 1946 in Selma, Alabama) is an American educator, activist and essayist. She is a Professor of Writing and Women’s Studies at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York where she was invited to help develop the university’s first Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Study Program.
Early life and education
Pratt was born in Selma, Alabama, and grew up in Centreville, Alabama. She graduated with a B.A. from the University of Alabama (1968) and earned a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of North Carolina (1979).
She has written extensively about race, class, gender and sexual theory. Pratt, along with lesbian writers Chrystos and Audre Lorde, received a Hellman/Hammett grant from the Fund for Free Expression to writers "who have been victimized by political persecution." Pratt, Chrystos and Lorde were chosen because of their experience as "a target of right-wing and fundamentalist forces during the recent attacks on the National Endowment for the Arts."
Pratt is the author of Crimes Against Nature (1990), a book where she describes losing custody of her children because of her lesbianism. She is a contributing editor to Workers World newspaper.
She is on the faculty of Union Institute & University, a distance education school.
Minnie Bruce Pratt Poems
The Great Migration
The third question in Spanish class is: De donde eres tu? She'd come for brand-new words: las flores rojas, el puente. To have words like crema de leche on her tongue at least for a few weeks before tasting the bitter syllables of their history.
The Sound Of One Fork
Through the window screen I can see an angle of grey roof and the silence that spreads in the branches of the pecan tree as the sun goes down. I am waiting for a lover. I am alone in a solitude that vibrates like the cicada in hot midmorning,
At Deep Midnight
It's at dinnertime the stories come, abruptly, as they sit down to food predictable as ritual. Pink lady peas, tomatoes red as fat hearts sliced thin on a plate, cornbread hot, yellow
The Blue Cup
Through binoculars the spiral nebula was a smudged white thumbprint on the night sky. Stories said it was a mark left by the hand of Night, that old she, easily weaving
Rush hour, and the short order cook lobs breakfast sandwiches, silverfoil softballs, up and down the line. We stand until someone says, Yes? The next person behind breathes hungrily. The cashier's hands never stop. He shouts:
Justice, Come Down
A huge sound waits, bound in the ice, in the icicle roots, in the buds of snow on fir branches, in the falling silence
At first she thought the lump in the road was clay thrown up by a trucker's wheel. Then Beatrice saw the mess of feathers.
The Subway Entrance
He was her guide. He lived in hell. Every day he thought he was dead. Years after he's died, she thinks it's him stumbling drunk through the subway turnstile. Just the two of them on the platform. He asks her for money, pennies for passage:
Walking Back Up Depot Street
In Hollywood, California (she'd been told) women travel on roller skates, pull a string of children, grinning, gaudy- eyed as merry-go-round horses, brass wheeled under a blue canopy of sky.
At first she thought the lump in the road
was clay thrown up by a trucker's wheel.
Then Beatrice saw the mess of feathers.
Six or seven geese stood in the right-of-way, staring
at the blood, their black heads rigid above white throats.
Unmoved by passing wind or familiar violence, they fixed
their gaze on dead flesh and something more, a bird on the wing.