This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for April 16, 2017: Returning Home in Winter

Apr. 16, 2017: birthday: Carol Bly

It’s the birthday of writer and teacher Carol Bly (books by this author), born in Duluth, Minnesota (1930). Bly set her stories in her own home state of Minnesota, where she lived for some time with her husband, the poet Robert Bly.

During their marriage, which lasted from 1955 to 1979, the Blys’ farmstead became an international destination for writers. Carol raised their children at home, but kept notebooks the whole time. After the couple’s divorce, she moved to St. Paul to begin writing more seriously. According to Robert, Carol “was a light, a fire, for all those people wandering around the prairie.”

She claimed to write fiction “because people touched her,” and nonfiction “because the world was too mean, and needed fixing up.” Aside from her writing, Carol Bly kept up with a myriad of hobbies. She studied Icelandic, knit, played the violin, and planted hundreds of oaks for her grandkids.

Bly’s writing often tackled moral and social issues. In 2004, she and a friend began producing booklets under their own press about issues like violent TV programming, idle clergymen, and the peer review process of creative writing.