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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ellen Bass
Ellen Bass
Ellen Bass
Born (1947-06-16) June 16, 1947 (age 74)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
EducationGoucher College (BA)
Boston University (MA)
Notable worksThe Courage to Heal, Indigo, Like a Beggar, The Human Line, Mules of Love
Notable awardsPushcart Prize (2003, 2014, 2017)
National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (2014)
Lambda Literary Award (2002)
SpouseJanet Bryer
ChildrenSaraswati Bryer-Bass
Max Bryer-Bass

Ellen Bass (born June 16, 1947 in Philadelphia) is an American poet and co-author of The Courage to Heal.


Bass grew up in Pleasantville, New Jersey, where her parents owned a liquor store. Her family later moved to Ventnor City, New Jersey.[citation needed] She attended Goucher College, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1968 with a bachelor's degree. She pursued a master's degree in creative writing at Boston University, where she studied with Anne Sexton, and graduated in 1970. From 1970 to 1974, Bass worked at Project Place, a social service center in Boston.[1][2]

From 1983 to 2003, she worked in the field of healing from childhood sexual abuse: writing the best-selling The Courage to Heal, developing training seminars for professionals, offering workshops for survivors, and lecturing to mental health professionals nationally and internationally. She is a co-founder of the Survivors Healing Center in Santa Cruz, a non-profit organization offering services to survivors of child sexual abuse.

Bass has taught poetry at the low-residency Master of Fine Arts program at Pacific University in Oregon since 2007.[2][3] She has taught workshops in Santa Cruz, California[4] since 1974 and also nationally.[5]. In 2013, she founded the Poetry Program at the Salinas Valley State Prison, which offers a weekly workshop to incarcerated men. In 2014, she also founded the Santa Cruz Poetry Project, which offers six weekly workshops to men and women incarcerated in the Santa Cruz County jails.

Among Bass' poetry books are "Indigo," (2020) which was a finalist for The Paterson Poetry Prize, The Publishers Triangle Award and The Northern California Book Award, Like a Beggar (2014), which was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize, the Publishing Triangle Award, the Milt Kessler Poetry Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Northern California Book Award, The Human Line (2007), and Mules of Love (2002), which won the Lambda Literary Award. Her poems have been published widely in journals and anthologies, including the New Yorker,[6] the American Poetry Review, the Kenyon Review, and Ploughshares.[7]

Her nonfiction books include I Never Told Anyone: Writings by Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (HarperCollins, 1983), Free Your Mind: The Book for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Youth and Their Allies (HarperCollins, 1996), and The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (HarperCollins, 1988, 2008), which has been translated into twelve languages.[7]

In 2017, Bass was elected as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.[3]

Bass was named the Santa Cruz County Artist of the Year in 2019.

Bass lives in Santa Cruz, California with her wife, Janet Bryer. She has two children, Saraswati Bryer-Bass and Max Bryer-Bass.


Bass was awarded the Elliston Book Award for Poetry from the University of Cincinnati, Nimrod/Hardman's Pablo Neruda Prize, The Missouri Review’s Larry Levis Award, the Greensboro Poetry Prize, the New Letters Poetry Prize, the Chautauqua Poetry Prize, four Pushcart Prizes (2003, 2015, 2017), Fellowships from The Guggenheim Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, and The California Arts Council.[1][8]

"Indigo," (2020) was a finalist for The Paterson Poetry Prize, The Publishers Triangle Award and The Northern California Book AwardLike a Beggar (Copper Canyon Press, 2014) was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize, the Publishing Triangle Award, the Milt Kessler Poetry Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Northern California Book Award. The Human Line (Copper Canyon Press, 2007) was named among the notable books of 2007 in the poetry section by the San Francisco Chronicle,[7] and Mules of Love (BOA Editions, 2002) won the 2002 Lambda Literary Award.[8]

Published works


  • I'm not your laughing daughter. University of Massachusetts Press. 1973. ISBN 9780870231285.
  • No More Masks! An Anthology of Poems by Women. Co-edited with Florence Howe. Doubleday. 1973. ISBN 9780385025539.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  • Of Separateness and Merging. Autumn Press, 1977. ISBN 978-0394734309.
  • For Earthly Survival. A letter press chapbook, Moving Parts Press, 1980.
  • Our Stunning Harvest. New Society Publishers, 1984. ISBN 978-0865710535.
  • Mules of Love. BOA Editions. 2002. ISBN 9781929918225.
  • The Human Line. Copper Canyon Press. 2007. ISBN 9781556592553.
  • Like A Beggar. Copper Canyon Press. 2014. ISBN 9781556594649.
  • Indigo. Copper Canyon Press. 2020. ISBN 9781556595752.


Children’s books


  1. ^ a b "Ellen Bass". Poetry Foundation. 25 May 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Ellen Bass Biography".
  3. ^ a b "Ellen Bass". Academy of American Poets.
  4. ^ "In Plain Sight: The Vanishing of Ellen Bass". The Rumpus. 5 January 2016.
  5. ^ admin. "Events". Ellen Bass. Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  6. ^ "Contributors: Ellen Bass". The New Yorker.
  7. ^ a b c "Ellen Bass". Ploughshares.
  8. ^ a b Purdy, Gilbert Wesley. "Review of The Human Line by Ellen Bass". Eclectica.

External links

This page was last edited on 12 May 2022, at 19:30
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