Most of you who come to the site have probably encountered Su elsewhere: teaching, leading workshops on writing, reading her work, or in Quaker circles. But those of you who have wandered here without a previous contact will find good reasons to stay in the quality of Su's writing. For the very best and newest, visit Su's weblogs, Genius Toiling in Obscurity and the Virtual Baby Blog.
Most fans of Su's work probably know her best from her days as an enthusiastic young lesbian storyteller. She could be found performing at most of the women's coffeehouses of the midwest and at women's music festivals. Here are a few fan favorites from those days:
Air, Gravity, Earth: Su goes skydiving!
I might have been butch: Su imagines a different life for her femmy self.
On the Jersey Shore: The story that started it all! The first thing Su wrote, the first thing she ever performed.
Letters from Harriet: A serial mailed to subscribers. Fun and funny letters from an imaginary friend.
LouellaMail: The sequel to "Letters from Harriet," an e-mail serial. Still fun, still funny. In fact, better than "Letters from Harriet" because Su had gotten better at the writing.
These days, Su is spending most of her time being a mom. Here, you can see the baby's home page, which includes a link to some material from Su's pregnancy and baby journals.
During the two years before the baby's birth, Su was a student in the Master of Arts in Literature program at Michigan State University. She liked it, and she was good at, but currently she is content to imagine that she will go to her grave with an unfinished thesis on Walt Whitman, John Greenleaf Whitter, and Quakerism in 19th Century American Culture still in her desk drawer.
These papers are the two Su is most proud of from her years at MSU:
White Trash, White Privilege, and The Man in the Middle:
Racism and Class in A Time to Kill and Ghosts of Mississippi
This paper was written for Dr. Kenneth Harrow's seminar in African-American literature and film. I'm proud of it because I think it is readable and generally low on jargon while still being useful as literary scholarship. If I were going to revise it for publication in a scholarly journal, I would follow Dr. Harrow's advice and answer the question of why these films say what they do about race and class. This would involve getting all theoretical with Althusser's theory of Ideological State Apparatuses. I am quite happy to be changing diapers instead.
Whitman & Quakers: Why Should You Care?
This paper is the basis for my unfinished thesis. It was written for Dr. Stephen Rachman's seminar in Nineteenth Century American Cultural Studies. I am proud of it because it is very well researched and, I think, says something new about Walt Whitman and Quakerism.
All the stuff linked directly from this page is older, and static. If you want to see what's new, visit Genius Toiling in Obscurity, a weblog about books, faith, babies, and daily life. After May 27, 2003, you can also visit the Virtual Baby Blog, Su's journal of motherhood on a two-year time delay.
©Su Penn 1988-2002. All rights reserved. The moral and legal right of Su Penn to call herself the author of all the works on this website is asserted. Last updated May 20, 2003.