Sondra Zeidenstein
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Sondra Zeidenstein

ZEIDENSTEIN: Sondra Zeidenstein died at home on Oct. 20, 2020, in the early morning with George, her husband of 67 years, beside her. She was 88. The Pittsburgh native was born on Sept. 7, 1932, and grew up with her three sisters, Phyllis, Myrna and Janice. Sondra attended Peabody High School and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh in 1953. She was awarded a master’s degree in literature from Radcliffe/Harvard in 1954 and a doctorate in literature from Columbia University in 1969. Sondra and George married in 1953. They moved to Brooklyn, where their children Laura and Peter were born, and then to the Bronx, where Sondra was in the first cohort of college teachers at Bronx Community College. Sondra’s international life began in 1965 in Kathmandu, Nepal, when George joined the Peace Corps. In Nepal, Sondra taught literature at Tribhuvan University. After Nepal, Sondra lived in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from 1971 to 1976. She taught at Dhaka University and co-authored a book, “Village Women of Bangladesh Prospects for Change.” Sondra was also a consultant on gender equality in countries in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. In 1976 the family moved back to the U.S. In Goshen, Connecticut, Sondra became a gardener extraordinaire. Later she dedicated much of her time and energy to writing poetry. In 1987 Sondra founded Chicory Blue Press in the “flush of the feminist movement.” It was a small feminist literary press that focused on the strong voices of older women. Chicory Blue Press ultimately published 12 trade paperbacks and 11 chapbooks of poetry, prose and anthologies. Sondra’s own titles included: “Late Afternoon Woman,” “A Detail in that Story” and “Resistance.” Sondra encouraged creativity in everyone and extended her own inventiveness, making books and art out of scraps of paper and glittery objects, some glued in with her own words and drawings. Sondra was a Zen Buddhist practitioner for more than 50 years. She lived in quiet courage. “I am so grateful for what writing has given us,” she said. Sondra is survived by her husband, George, her children, Laura and Peter, her grandsons, Colin and Julian, her great-grandson, Valentine, her sister, Myrna Silverman, and a gaggle of nephews and nieces. Contributions can be made to the charity of one’s choice.

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