Member Profile

Ruth Roach Pierson

Photo: Sue MacLeod 2011

Ruth Roach Pierson was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1938 and immigrated to Canada in September 1970. In 1955/56 she lived for one year as a high-school exchange student in Braunschweig, Germany. She majored in history for both her B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Washington and for her Ph.D. from Yale University. She wrote her doctoral thesis on “German Jewish Identity in the Weimar Republic.” Professor emerita of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/ University of Toronto, she taught women’s history, feminist studies, and post-colonial studies at OISE from 1980 to 2001. Her first full-time academic position was at Memorial University of Newfoundland where, from 1970 to 1980, she taught European history and one of the first women’s history courses offered in Canada. In 1997-98 she held the Marie-Jahoda Guest Professorship in Gender Studies at the Ruhruniversität Bochum, Germany. She is the author of numerous academic works, including “They’re Still Women After All”: The Second World War and Canadian Womanhood (McClelland & Stewart, 1986), co-author of Canadian Women’s Issues, Vol I: Strong Voices and Vol. 11: Bold Visions (James Lorimer & Company, 1993, 1995), and co-editor of Writing Women’s History: International Perspectives (Macmillan, 1991) and Nation, Empire, Colony: Historicizing Gender and Race (Indiana University Press, 1998). In 1993, Ruth began her turn to poetry in 1993. Her poems have appeared in ARC, Event, The Fiddlehead, The Literary Review of Canada, The Malahat Review, Pagitica, Pottersfield Portfolio, Prism International, Queen’s Feminist Review, Quills, Room of One’s Own and Vallum as well as a number of anthologies. She won first place in the Third Annual Poetry contest (2002) of Word: Toronto’s Literary Calendar, was a finalist in the poetry category of the 2003 Pagitica Literary Contest; and received an honourable mention in Fiddlehead’s 2003/2004 Ralph Gustafson Contest for Best Poem. Since her retirement from academe, she has published two books of poems, both with BuschekBooks of Ottawa: Where No Window Was (2002) and Aide-Mémoire 2007). The latter was named a finalist for the 2008 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry. Her poetry reviews have appeared in The Malahat Review, The Newfoundland and Labrador Studies Journal, and The Fiddlehead. She has written a memoir about the impact the year she spent as an exchange student in Germany has had on her life. Her third collection of poems, entitled Contrary, will be launched by by Tightrope Books on March 13, 2011. She lives in Toronto with her partner and their two cats, Haiku and Orange Roughy.

Born in Seattle, Washington, in 1938, Ruth Roach Pierson spent the year 1955/56 as a highschool exchange student in Braunschweig, Germany. She trained as an academic historian at the University of Washington and Yale, writing her Ph.D. thesis on "German Jewish Identify in the Weimar Republic." Ruth started teaching European history at Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1970, shifting to women's history and feminist studies after being hired at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/U of T in 1980. In 1997/98 she was offered the Maria Jahoda Guest Professorship in Women's Studies at the Ruhr Universitaet Bochum. Ruth began the turn from history to poetry in 1993. She published her first book of poems, Where No Window Was, with BuschekBooks of Ottawa in 2002. Her poems have appeared in ARC, Event, The Fiddlehead, The Literary Review of Canada, The Malahat Review, Pagitica, Pottersfield Portfolio, Prism International, Queen's Feminist Review, and Room of One's Own as well as a number of anthologies. Her second poetry collection, entitled Aide-memoire, will be published by BuschekBooks in fall 2007. She lives in Toronto with her partner and their two cats, Haiku and Orange Roughy.

Phone number:

Publications

Where No Window Was. Ottawa, ON: BuschekBooks, 2002.
Nation, Empire, Colony: Historicizing Gender and Race. Co-editor. Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 1998.
Canadian Women's Issues. Vol. 1: Strong Voices. Vol. 2: Bold Visions. co-author. Toronto: James Lorimer, 1993, 1995.
Writing Women's History: International Perspectives. co-editor. London: Macmillian, 1991.
They're Still Women After All": The Second World War and Canadian Womanhood. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1986.
Aide-Mémoire. BuschekBooks, 2007
Contrary. Tightrope Books, 2011

Awards

Shortlisted, This Magazine's Great Canadian Literary Hunt (poetry), 2001.
Second prize in the Word: Toronto's Literary Calendar Poetry Contest, 2001.
Honourable Mention in Ralph Gustafson Contest for Best Poem for The Fiddlehead, 2003/2004
First Place in Annual Poetry Contest for Word: Toronto's Literary Calendar, 2002
Finalist in Poetry Category for Pagitica Literary Contest, 2003
Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry for Aide-Mémoire was a finalist, 2008
Eligible for National Public Readings Program :
Yes

WITS

Genre:
Poetry
Northern OAC WITS:
No
GST:
GST not applicable