Katha Pollitt

Katha Pollitt is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at Type Media Center. She has won many awards and prizes for her work, including two National Magazine Awards, one for Essays and Criticism in 1992 and one for Columns and Commentary in 2003. She has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation and the Whiting Foundation. Her most recent book, Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights, makes a powerful argument for abortion as a moral right and social good.

Pollitt is a frequent public speaker, with recent appearances at Harvard, Wellesley, Emory University, the University of Louisville, Barnard and the Center for New Words in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has been a guest on numerous radio and TV programs. Her poems have appeared in Slate and the New Yorker. Her book, The Mind-Body Problem: And Other Poems is a book of brilliant, poignant, and often funny poems that are full of surprises and originality. Her previous work, a collection of essays, Learning to Drive and Other Life Stories, was reviewed in the New York Review of Books: “The essays… describe the challenges that are the lot of an intelligent, fair-minded, politically alert woman with an inconvenient sense of the absurd. They are full of insight and charm.”

Recent Work

How Abortion Pills Will Shape Our Future

How Abortion Pills Will Shape Our Future

The Supreme Court may make it harder to get to an abortion clinic, but thanks to drugs, coat hangers can remain a thing of the past.
By Katha Pollitt in The Nation.

A Necessary Memoir About Sexual Assault

A Necessary Memoir About Sexual Assault

Chanel Miller’s account of her assault by Stanford swimmer Brock Turner questions the way we treat sexual assault—and sex itself.
By Katha Pollitt in The Nation.

To Fight Trump, Take to the Streets!

To Fight Trump, Take to the Streets!

The Trump administration gets more malicious, harmful, and absurd every day. So why aren’t many of us outside protesting?
By Katha Pollitt in the Nation.

A Man’s Guide to Abortion

A Man’s Guide to Abortion

You don’t have to be a woman to stand up for reproductive rights.
By Katha Pollitt in the Nation.

She’s With Stupid

She’s With Stupid

Sure, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slips up sometimes–but have you listened to her Republican colleagues?
By Katha Pollitt in The Nation.

Books
The Mind-Body Problem

The Mind-Body Problem

In The Mind-Body Problem, Katha Pollitt takes the ordinary events of life–her own and others’–and turns them into brilliant, poignant, and often funny poems that are full of surprises and originality. Pollitt’s imagination is stirred by conflict and juxtaposition, by the contrast (but also the connection) between logic and feeling, between the real and the transcendent, between our outer and inner selves: Jane Austen slides her manuscript under her blotter, bewildered young mothers chat politely on the playground, the simple lines of a Chinese bowl in a thrift store remind the poet of the only apparent simplicities of her childhood.

With these moving, vivid, and utterly distinctive poems, Katha Pollitt reminds us that poetry can be both profound and accessible, and reconfirms her standing in the first rank of modern American poets.

Learning to Drive and Other Life Stories

Learning to Drive and Other Life Stories

Celebrated for her award-winning political columns, criticism, and poetry, Katha Pollitt now shows us another side of her talent. Learning to Drive is a surprising, revealing, and entertaining collection of essays drawn from the author’s own life.

With deep feeling and sharp insight, Pollitt writes about the death of her father; the sad but noble final days of a leftist study group of which she was a member; and the betrayal and heartbreak inflicted by a man who seriously deceived her. (Her infinitely patient, gentle driving instructor points out her weakness—“Observation, Katha, observation!”) She also offers a candid view of her preoccupation with her ex-lover’s haunting presence on the Internet, and her search there for a secret link that might provide a revelation about him that will Explain Everything.

Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights

Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights

In this controversial and necessary book, Katha Pollitt reframes abortion as a common part of a woman’s reproductive life, one that should be accepted as a moral right with positive social implications. In clear, concise arguments, Pollitt takes on the personhood argument, reaffirms the priority of a woman’s life and health, and discusses why terminating a pregnancy can be a force for good for women, families, and society. By whole-heartedly defending abortion rights, Pollitt argues, we reclaim the lives and the rights of women and mothers.

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