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California Medieval

A Convent Memoir

172 pages
Schaffner Press Inc
  • LONG FORM: This memoir by Dianne Dugaw, the winner of the 2023 Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Literature, is a poetically drawn ode to the author's early years as a novitiate nun in the San Francisco Bay Area during the mid-1960s, the era when the Summer of Love first blossomed. A musically gifted child who grew up in a remote ranching community in Washington State, Dianne was ushered into the sisterhood upon graduating high-school, where she furthered her musical training and delved deep into the catechism and the daily rituals of convent life. In a series of beautiful vignettes that meld different genres and voices from poetry, to psalm, to descriptive observations of the hilly environment surrounding the nunnery, and its denizens, whether floral, animal or human, the reader is steeped in both the mysticism and the drudgery as well as the good natured humor and steadfast will required in such an existence, while also feeling the author's growing urge to venture beyond the cloistered walls to discover a wider world.
Author Bio
Dianne Dugaw is a writer, poet, folklore scholar and musician, residing in Eugene, Or, and a former professor of English Literature at the University of Oregon. A native of Washington state where she grew up in a ranching community, Dianne was a Catholic nun from her late teens to her early twenties, after which she worked variously as an elementary school music teacher and professional musician. She holds a masters degree in Music and a Ph.D. in English Folklore. Her academic work has been published by Cambridge University Press and University of Delaware Press among others, and in addition she has recorded music CDs of traditional English and Scottish ballads.