Laurie Lisle

writing about the lives of American women, including her own

Books

Biography
The best selling biography of one of America's most admired and accomplished painters
The only full biography of this extraordinary and enigmatic American sculptor
Sociology
A book that offers people without children the life-affirming story of themselves
Memoir
A modern pastoral about transforming a bare backyard into a mature garden
Education
A vivid history of a wonderful school for teenage girls from all over the world

Books


Born on a Wisconsin farm, O'Keeffe was a young Texas art teacher before her romance with the older photographer Alfred Stieglitz, a leader of the New York avant-garde. Over her long life she created an astonishing visual vocabulary of large sensuous flowers, forboding Manhattan skyscrapers, white animal skulls, and the red hills of her beloved New Mexico.

"Laurie Lisle has given us a mortal Georgia O'Keeffe, whose human hungar and frailties, gifts and strengths, enabled her to survive--triumphantly--a conflicted life. Many readers will draw encouragement and even inspiration from this portrait."
~ Eleanor Munro, author, Originals: American Women Artists


This sculptor's life was remarkable for its intensity and commitment to her work. From her birth in Russia, her girlhood in Maine, to her years as an artist in Manhattan, her life was difficult and dramatic. After years of struggle her iconography, expressed in large black, white, and gold wood assemblages has made an indelible stamp on American art.

“Lisle’s view of Nevelson’s often ruthless behavior is both compassionate and clear-eyed...[she] has constructed a colorful, rich study of Nevelson’s creative evolution...Lisle brings to especially clear light Nevelson’s personal, if chilly, flair [giving] A Passionate Life, its gritty richness.”
~ Sarah Wright, The Boston Sunday Herald


This book explores the childless woman’s relationship to mothers, to femininity, to men, to creativity, and to her body. Weaving a variety of rich materials from history, literature, religion, sociology, as well as the author's own story, it does what no other book as done before--presents those without children from the past and present in a positive light.

"This book is a pleasure to read, seamlessly weaving together personal narrative with a variety of literary, historical, and cross-cultural examples of childessness and responses to it...[It examines] woman and childlessness in relation to 'maiden aunts' (or traditions of women outside motherhood), to women's own mothers, to real and imagined children, to men and heterosexuality, to 'Womanhood,' to work, and to maturity and aging."
~ Abby Wilkerson, Hypatia


Part garden book and part memoir, this book touches upon issues in women's lives—love and loss, work and play, roots and restlessness, risk and refuge—as the author experienced them after becoming a gardener. Her long, narrow half-acre became the terra firma that enabled her to endure emotional storms while providing ongoing pleasure and a reason for optimism.

"What a pleasure it is to follow Laurie Lisle's progress as she works to transform a bare, neglected plot of land into the garden of her imagination. As her perennials take root, grown, and blossom, so does the author, finding a secure place in a new home, a new town, and, many seasons later, a new marriage to a man who learns that you can't separate the gardener from the garden. Not even deer, who try their mightiest, can do that."
~ Le Anne Schreiber, author of Midstream and Light Years



This girls' high school has evolved from a finishing school for the Protestant elite to a meritocracy for pupils of many religions and races. Founded by an idealistic minister's daughter in 1909, it was turned into a college preparatory school by her intellectual successor in the 1930s, and it was saved by a quiet headmaster in the turbulent 1970s.

"This visually stunning, beautifully written book combines diligent research, descriptive acumen, and an anecdotal style that vividly and unsparingly brings the people and places in the school's history to life...It is also a wonderfully interesting, at times humorous, work that merits a broad spectrum of readers."
~Roberta West Waddell, editor, Westover '52