She grew up in Margate City, NJ, where her parents owned a liquor store. She attended Goucher College, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1968 with her bachelor’s degree. She pursued a master’s degree at Boston University, where she studied with Anne Sexton, and graduated in 1970. From 1970–1974, Bass worked as an administrator at Project Place, a social service center in Boston. She currently is teaching in the low residency MFA program at Pacific University in Oregon and has been teaching Writing About Our Lives workshops since 1974 in Santa Cruz, California.
Her poems have appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies, including The Atlantic Monthly, Ms., The American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and Field. Much of her earlier writing is confessional poetry.
Her nonfiction books include I Never Told Anyone, Free Your Mind, and The Courage to Heal, which has sold over a million copies and has been translated into twelve languages. Free Your Mind is the definitive practical guide for gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth -- and their families, teachers, counselors and friends. For too long, gay youth have wanted to be themselves and to feel good about it, but most have been isolated, afraid, harassed, or worse. Their very existence has been ignored, whispered about, or swept under the rug.
She lives in Santa Cruz, California, where she has taught poetry and creative writing since 1974.
She 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, a Pushcart Prize, and a fellowship from the California Arts Council.
The Human Line (Copper Canyon Press, 2007) was named a Notable Book of 2007 by the San Francisco Chronicle and Mules of Love (BOA Editions, 2002) won the 2002 Lambda Literary Award for Poetry.
Free Your Mind: The Book for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth and Their Allies by Ellen Bass and Kate Kaufman
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1st edition (May 10, 1996)
Amazon: Free Your Mind: The Book for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth and Their Allies
Free Your Mind is the definitive practical guide for gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth -- and their families, teachers, counselors and friends. For too long, gay youth have wanted to be themselves and to feel good about it, but most have been isolated, afraid, harassed, or worse. Their very existence has been ignored, whispered about, or swept under the rug.
But each day more and more lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are standing up, speaking out, breaking down stereotypes, demanding rights and recognition -- shining. In this book, young people share their joy and their pain, their hopes and fears, the formidable obstacles they have faced and overcome, and the exciting opportunities they have discovered.
Free Your Mind speaks to the basic aspects of the lives of gay, lesbian and bisexual youth: Self-Discovery; Friends and Lovers; Family; School; Spirituality; Community. Alive with the voices of more than fifty young people, rich in accurate information and positive practical advice, Free Your Mind talks about how to come out, deal with problems, make healthy choices about relationships and sex, connect with other gay youth and supportive adults, and take pride and participate in the gay and lesbian community. Free Your Mind also presents detailed guidance for adults who want to make the world safer for lesbian, gay and bisexual youth.
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