Biography

, by Margaret Randall

Margaret Randall is a feminist poet, writer, photographer and social activist. Born in New York City in 1936, she has lived for extended periods in Albuquerque, New York, Seville, Mexico City, Havana, and Managua. Shorter stays in Peru and North Vietnam were also formative. In the turbulent 1960s she co-founded and co-edited EL CORNO EMPLUMADO / THE PLUMED HORN, a bilingual literary journal which for eight years published some of the most dynamic and meaningful writing of an era. From 1984 through 1994 she taught at a number of U.S. universities.

Margaret was privileged to live among New York’s abstract expressionists in the 1950s and early ’60s, share the rebellion of the Beats, participate in the Mexican student movement of 1968, live in Cuba during the second decade of that country’s revolution (1969-1980), reside in Nicaragua during the first four years of the Sandinista project (1980-1984), and visit North Vietnam during the heroic last months of the U.S. American war in that country (1974). Her four children—Gregory, Sarah, Ximena and Ana—have given her ten grandchildren: Lia, Martin, Daniel, Richi, Sebastian, Juan, Luis Rodrigo, Mariana, Eli, and Tolo. And her first great grandchild, Guille. She has lived with her life companion, the painter and teacher Barbara Byers, for thirty years, and they were finally able to marry in 2013.

Among Margaret’s more than 100 published books, some titles still in print are CUBAN WOMEN NOW, SANDINO’S DAUGHTERS; SANDINO’S DAUGHTER REVISITED; CHRISTIANS IN THE NICARAGUAN REVOLUTION; RISKING A SOMERSAULT IN THE AIR, THE SHAPE OF RED (with Ruth Hubbard); THIS IS ABOUT INCEST; HUNGER’S TABLE: WOMEN, POLITICS & FOOD; THE PRICE YOU PAY: THE HIDDEN COST OF WOMEN’S RELATIONSHIP TO MONEY; WHEN I LOOK INTO THE MIRROR AND SEE YOU: WOMEN, TERROR & RESISTANCE; NARRATIVE OF POWER: ESSAYS FOR AN ENDANGERED CENTURY; WHERE THEY LEFT YOU FOR DEAD / HALFWAY HOME; INTO ANOTHER TIME: GRAND CANYON REFLECTIONS, STONES WITNESS; TO CHANGE THE WORLD: MY YEARS IN CUBA; THEIR BACKS TO THE SEA; MY TOWN; AS IF THE EMPTY CHAIR / COMO SI LA SILLA VACIA; RUINS; MORE THAN THINGS; CHE ON MY MIND, HAYDEE SANTAMARIA, CUBAN REVOLUTIONARY: SHE LED BY TRANSGRESSION; THE RHIZOME AS A FIELD OF BROKEN BONES; ABOUT LITTLE CHARLIE LINDBERGH AND OTHER POEMS; SHE BECOMES TIME; TALKING STICK; ONLY THE ROAD / SOLO EL CAMINO: EIGHT DECADES OF CUBAN POETRY; and EXPORTING REVOLUTION: CUBA’S GLOBAL SOLIDARITY. Ask for them at your local bookstore.

In 1984, Margaret came home to the United States, only to be ordered deported when the government invoked the 1952 McCarran-Walter Immigration and Nationality Act, judging opinions expressed in some of her books to be "against the good order and happiness of the United States." The Center for Constitutional Rights defended her, and many writers and others joined in an almost five-year battle for reinstatement of citizenship. She won her case in 1989. In 1990 she was awarded the Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett grant for writers victimized by political repression; and in 2004 was the first recipient of PEN New Mexico’s Dorothy Doyle Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing and Human Rights Activism. In 2009 two of her photographs were accepted into the Capitol Arts Foundation permanent collection of work by New Mexican artists on display at the State capitol.

"The Unapologetic Life of Margaret Randall" is an hour-long documentary by Minneapolis filmmakers Lu Lippold and Pam Colby. It is distributed by Cinema Guild in New York City: Cinema Guild Click on the link, then search alphabetically among the many other exciting selections. You will find both sale and rental prices, as well as order information. This web site also has links to this film, as well as to "El Corno Emplumado: A History of the Sixties," about the journal Randall co-founded and edited from Mexico City.