Terry Wolverton

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Terry Wolverton
Terry Wolverton speaking at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, Los Angeles.
Terry Wolverton speaking at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, Los Angeles.
Born (1954-08-23) August 23, 1954 (age 66)
Cocoa Beach, Florida
EducationUniversity of Detroit;
University of Toronto;
Thomas Jefferson College
Creative Nonfiction
Literary movementWriters at Work

Terry Wolverton (born 1954) is an American novelist, memoirist, poet, and editor. Her book Insurgent Muse: Life and Art at the Woman's Building, a memoir published in 2002 by City Lights Books, was named one of the "Best Books of 2002" by the Los Angeles Times,[1] and was the winner of the 2003 Publishing Triangle[2] Judy Grahn Award, and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Her novel-in-poems Embers was a finalist for the PEN USA Litfest Poetry Award[3] and the Lambda Book Award.[4]

Early years[edit]

Born August 23, 1954 in Cocoa Beach, Florida, Wolverton grew up in Detroit, Michigan. Her grandmother, Elsba Mae Miller, a former English teacher, would often read and recite poetry to her, and Wolverton credits this for inspiring her love of language. Even as a child Wolverton was interested in the arts, especially writing, music, and drama; she graduated from the Performing Arts curriculum of Cass Technical High School in 1972.

Terry Wolverton attended the University of Detroit as a student in its BFA Theatre Program. In 1973, she transferred to the University of Toronto, majoring in Theatre, Psychology, and Women's Studies.

Wolverton participated in Sagaris, an independent institute for the study of feminist political theory, in 1975. She next enrolled in Thomas Jefferson College, an experimental school based at Grand Valley State Colleges in Western Michigan, and participated in its feminist Women, World, and Wonder program.


Wolverton moved to Los Angeles in 1976, enrolling in the Feminist Studio Workshop at the Woman's Building. She spent the next thirteen years at the Woman's Building where, in addition to writing and performing, she was also instrumental in the Lesbian Art Project, the Incest Awareness Project, the Great American Lesbian Art Show (GALAS), a long-term performance project called "An Oral Herstory of Lesbianism",[5] and a White Women's Anti-Racism Consciousness-Raising Group. From 1987 to 1988, she served as the nonprofit organization's Executive Director.[6]

Wolverton has taught performance skills and creative writing since 1977. In 1986, she developed the Visions and Revisions Writing Program at Connexxus Women's Center/Centro de Mujeres. In 1988, she launched the Perspectives Writing Program at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, where she taught until 1997. One notable writer that attended these workshops was Gil Cuadros, a Mexican-American poet who was diagnosed with AIDS in 1987. Cuadros started attending her writing workshops for people with HIV. It was because of Wolverton that Gil Cuadros was able to find a creative outlet to write for himself and his lover, John Edward Milosch, who died from AIDS in 1987. Shortly after, Cuadros published his only fictional book, City of God (1994). Wolverton played an important figure in Cuadros' life and career.

In 1997, Wolverton founded Writers at Work, a creative writing center where she continues to teach fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry, and to provide creative consultations to writers.

Since 2000, Terry has been a certified instructor of kundalini yoga.

Personal life[edit]

She lives in Los Angeles.


  • Black Slip, Clothespin Fever Press, 1992, ISBN 1878533053 (poetry)
  • Bailey's Beads, Faber & Faber, 1996, ISBN 9780571198917 (novel)
  • Mystery Bruise, Red Hen Press, 1999, ISBN 9781888996142 (poetry)
  • Insurgent Muse: Life and Art at the Woman's Building. City Lights Books. 2002. ISBN 9780872864030.
  • Terry Wolverton Greatest Hits. Pudding House Publications. 2002. ISBN 9781589980631.
  • Embers: A Novel in Poems, Red Hen Press, 2003, ISBN 9781888996722
  • Shadow and Praise, Main Street Rag Publishing Company, 2007, ISBN 9781599480572 (poetry)
  • The Labrys Reunion Spinsters Ink, 2009, ISBN 9781935226024 (novel)
  • Breath and other stories, Silverton Books, 2012, ISBN 9780962952869
  • "Stealing Angel" Spinsters Ink, 2011, ASIN: B00DFOYN4C (novel)
  • "Wounded World: lyric essays about our spiritual disquiet", with photographs by Yvonne M. Estrada, Create Space Independent Publishing, 2013 ISBN 1481027905
  • Blood Whispers: L. A. Writers on AIDS Silverton Books (vol 1, 1991, ISBN 096295280X; vol 2, 1994, ISBN 0962952818)
  • Mischief, Caprice, and Other Poetic Strategies, (poetry) (2004)
Edited with Benjamin Weissman
  • "Los Angeles Festival and Beyond Baroque" Harbinger, (1990)
Edited with Robert Drake
  • Indivisible: New Short Fiction by West Coast Gay and Lesbian Writers Plume Books 1991, ISBN 0452266769
  • Hers: Brilliant New Fiction by Lesbian Writers Faber & Faber Incorporated, 1995, ISBN 0571198678
  • His: Brilliant New Fiction by Gay Writers Faber & Faber Incorporated, 1995, ISBN 057119866X
  • Hers 2 and His 2 Faber & Faber, Incorporated, 1997, ISBN 9780571199099
  • Hers 3 and His 3 Faber & Faber, Incorporated, 1999, ISBN 9780571199631
  • Circa 2000: Gay Fiction at the Millennium Alyson Books 2000, ISBN 1555835171
  • Circa 2000: Lesbian Fiction at the Millennium Alyson Books 2000, ISBN 155583518X
  • "Catena: poem se
  • ries by members of the Women's Poetry Project", Silverton Books, 2003, ISBN 0962952842

2007- Terry co-founded "The Future of Publishing." A Think Tank, which convened writers, publishers, booksellers and publicists to consider new models for reaching readers. In addition to discussions, workshops were offered, a readers survey was conducted, an online directory of literary resources in LA County was compiled. 2007–Present Terry became Affiliate Faculty in the MFA Writing Program at Antioch University Los Angeles. 2011-From Site to Vision: the Woman's Building in Contemporary Culture (edited with Sondra Hale), Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design. Terry has been working with jazz composer David Ornette Cherry (son of jazz trumpeter Don Cherry) to adapt her novel in poems, EMBERS as an opera. Although it has not yet been produced, Concert readings have been held in the ALOUD series at the Central Library of Los Angeles in 2009 and at Grand Performances in 2011.




  1. ^ George, Lynell (September 18, 2002). "Return to the Source; Women gather at the spot where many found their voices in the '70s and blossomed". Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^ Publishing Triangle
  3. ^ PEN Center USA | Home
  4. ^ Lambda Literary Foundation :: Board of Trustees
  5. ^ Fromsite tovision : the Woman's Building in contemporary culture. Hale, Sondra., Wolverton, Terry., Maltz Gallery., Otis College of Art and Design., Pacific Standard Time (Exhibition). Los Angeles, CA: Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design. 2011. ISBN 978-0930209230. OCLC 757387784.CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. ^ "Poet May Sarton Recalls 40 Years With Her Muse". Los Angeles Times. 1987-04-29. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  7. ^ "Stonewall Book Awards List". American Library Association. 2009-09-09. Retrieved 2019-06-18.

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