Minnesota Author Biographies.

Carol Bly

Carol Bly

From "Talk of Heroes" in Backbone (1985) by Carol Bly

Two women, one with hair gone gray, wearing a woolen dress and carrying a raincoat, and the other only twenty-four, gathering the velvet lapels of her dressing gown around her throat, stood a moment on a low hill overlooking White Bear Lake. A thick evening mist lolled upward from the lake surface itself, so that all the dockside equipment--the polyurethane floats, the white boat lifts, the bobbing milk cartons chained to great weights far below--all the bright playthings of American Midwest lakefronts were hidden. The evening mist suggested much greater, more classic waters than a suburban lake.

Biographical Notes

Birth: April 16, 1930, Duluth, Minnesota
Death: December 21, 2007, Oakdale, Minnesota

Author, editor, and teacher Carol Bly earned a B.A. in English and history from Wellesley College in 1951. She pursued graduate work at the University of Minnesota from 1954-55. Bly taught at the University of Minnesota from 1981-2007, as well as Carleton College, Hamline University, the Vermont Studio Center, and Centrum. She was married to author and poet Robert Bly, but they later divorced. Bly managed the Fifties, Sixties, and Seventies magazines, as well as the Sixties Press and the Seventies Press. Her writings also appeared in Preview (later renamed Minnesota Monthly), the publication of Minnesota Public Radio.

Bly won several awards including the South Dakota Council of Teachers of English Certificate of Honor (1985); the Minnesota State Annual Book Award for essays (1990); Minnesota State Arts Board Individual Artist Grant (1990); the Friend of American Writers Award (1991); the Bush Foundation Artists Fellowship (1991); an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Northland College (1992); named a Friend of School Social Work by the Minnesota School Social Workers' Association (1994); named the Edelstein-Keller Author of Distinction by the University of Minnesota (1998-99); Minnesota Women's Press Favorite Woman Author (2000); and a Minnesota Humanities Award for Literature (2001). She was also recognized with the Seabury-Western Theological Seminary Distinguished Christian Service Award; the Minnesota Women's Consortium Distinguished Minnesota Leader Award; and the Ramsey County Women's Political Caucus Founding Feminist.

Selected Works
The titles below link to the catalog record in MnPALS, the Minnesota Historical Society’s library catalog. Please click on your browser's back button to return.

Backbone: Short Stories
Bad Government and Silly Literature: An Essay
Letters from the Country
The Passionate, Accurate Story: Making Your Heart's Truth into Literature
Soil and Survival: Land Stewardship and the Future of American Agriculture
The Tender Organizations
The Tomcat's Wife, and Other Stories

Additional Resources

Minnesota Historical Society Links

• Search MNHS Library and Archives Catalog for author - Searches for works by this author in the Minnesota Historical Society’s library
Changing the Bully Who Rules the World: Reading and Thinking About Ethics compiled by Carol Bly.
Northern Lights Episode #28

Web Links

Minnesota Public Radio – “Minnesota Writer Carol Bly Dies”
Star Tribune – “Carol Bly, Minnesota Lioness of Letters, Dies”
University of Minnesota – Carol Bly manuscript collection containing correspondence, notes, and drafts

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