Ellen Bass

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Ellen Bass
Born 1947
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Nationality American
Education Goucher College (BA)
Boston University (MA)
Notable works The Courage to Heal
Notable awards Lambda Literary Award (2002)
Pushcart Prize
Chautauqua Poetry Prize

Ellen Bass (born 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, and subsequently her family moved to Ventnor City, New Jersey.[citation needed] She attended Goucher College, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1968 with her 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 1970–1974, Bass worked at Project Place, a social service center in Boston.[1][2] 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.[3]

Her poems have been published widely in journals and anthologies, including the New Yorker,[4] the Atlantic Monthly, the American Poetry Review, the Kenyon Review, and Ploughshares.[5]

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.[5]

In 2017, Bass was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.[6]

Bass lives in Santa Cruz, California, where she has taught poetry and creative writing for the low-residency Master of Fine Arts program at Pacific University since 1974.[2][6]


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, three Pushcart Prizes, a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a fellowship from the California Arts Council.[1][7]

The Human Line (Copper Canyon Press, 2007) was named among the notable books of 2007 in the poetry section by the San Francisco Chronicle,[5] and Mules of Love (BOA Editions, 2002) won the 2002 Lambda Literary Award in the lesbian poetry category.[7]

Published works[edit]


  • 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.
  • 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.


Children’s books[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Ellen Bass". Poetry Foundation.
  2. ^ a b "Ellen Bass Biography". ENotes.com.
  3. ^ "In Plain Sight: The Vanishing of Ellen Bass". The Rumpus.
  4. ^ "Contributors: Ellen Bass". The New Yorker.
  5. ^ a b c "Ellen Bass". Ploughshares.
  6. ^ a b "Ellen Bass". Academy of American Poets.
  7. ^ a b Purdy, Gilbert Wesley. "Review of The Human Line by Ellen Bass". Eclectica.

External links[edit]