Who We Are
Persimmon Tree, an online magazine, is a showcase for the creativity and talent of women over sixty. Too often older women’s artistic work is ignored or disregarded, and only those few who are already established receive the attention they deserve. Yet many women are at the height of their creative abilities in their later decades and have a great deal to contribute. Persimmon Tree is committed to bringing this wealth of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art to a broader audience, for the benefit of all.
Greta Berman is Art Editor of Persimmon Tree. She received a B.A. from Antioch College, an M.A. from the University of Stockholm, and a Ph.D. from Columbia. She has been Professor of Art History at Juilliard since 1978. In addition to writing a monthly column, “Focus on Art,” for the Juilliard Journal, she co-curated and co-edited Synesthesia: Art and the Mind with Carol Steen, at the McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton, Ontario in 2008. She and Steen also published a chapter titled “Synesthesia and the Artistic Process” for the Oxford Handbook of Synesthesia (Oxford University Press), 2013. She has published numerous articles, as well as lectured on synesthesia, and other subjects.
Cynthia Hogue’s most recent collections are Revenance, listed as one of the 2014 “Standout” books by the Academy of American Poets, and In June the Labyrinth (2017). Her tenth collection, instead, it is dark, will be out from Red Hen Press in June of 2023. Her third book-length translation (with Sylvain Gallais) is Nicole Brossard’s Distantly (Omnidawn 2022). Her Covid chapbook is entitled Contain (Tram Editions 2022). Among her honors are a Fulbright Fellowship to Iceland, two NEA Fellowships, and the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets (2013). She served as Guest Editor for Poem-a-Day for September (2022), sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. Hogue was the inaugural Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry at Arizona State University. She lives in Tucson.
Gena Raps, Persimmon Tree Music Editor, has performed internationally and across the United States. Her recordings of Mozart, Brahms, and Dvorak can be found on Musical Heritage Society, Arabesque and Naxos among others. She has taught at the Juilliard School, Sarah Lawrence College, and the Mannes College of Music and has received numerous prizes and honors. She has been on the jury for competitions at the Juilliard School and the Fulbright Fellowship.
Margaret E. (Peggy) Wagner is Editor in Chief of Persimmon Tree. Her 35 years with the Publishing Office of the Library of Congress, first as writer/editor, later as managing editor, afforded her broad experience in all phases of print and online publishing. She led the project teams that produced some of the Library’s major reference works, and is also a published author herself. Peggy’s passions include wide reading and a deep appreciation for the power and importance of fiction, poetry, music, and the visual arts.
Elizabeth Zimmer writes, mostly about the arts; teaches writing, wherever she is invited; and edits manuscripts of all sorts, including those on this site. She practices the Feldenkrais Method, and works as a standardized patient in hospitals and medical schools. Her ambition is to flourish as a stand-up comic. Elizabeth (called EZ by all who know her) is on Persimmon Tree‘s editorial board and is its chief proofreader.
Jean Zorn is the publisher, with responsibility for Persimmon Tree‘s administrative, legal and financial matters. She is a lawyer, and retired in March 2018 from the City University of New York School of Law, where she had worked for more than 30 years, primarily as a Professor of Law, and, most recently, as Senior Associate Dean for Administration and Finance. In addition to her publishing duties, Jean edits Short Takes.
Kitty Cunningham was a contributing editor of Persimmon Tree until her retirement from the editorial board in December 2021. She is the author, with Michael Ballard, of Conversations with a Dancer (St. Martin’s Press, 1981). Kitty was for many years Head Librarian at the Brearley School in Manhattan.
Marcia Freedman (1938-2021) was a member of Persimmon Tree‘s founding editorial board. Marcia served until 2020 as Persimmon Tree’s marketing and fundraising director, and was indefatigable in both roles, making a success both of ArtsMart and of Persimmon Tree‘s semi-annual fund drives. She published a political memoir, Exile in the Promised Land, an account of the establishment of second-wave feminism in Israel and her experience as a Member of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament).
Nan Gefen founded Persimmon Tree in 2007 and is its Publisher/Editor Emerita. She has published three nonfiction books, most recently It Never Ends: Mothering Middle-aged Daughters. Her novel, Clear Lake, won the gold medal in general fiction in the IndieFab contest.
Sue Leonard served as Editor in Chief of Persimmon Tree from 2012 to 2022. She was the magazine’s second editor after its founder Nan Gefen. For 45 years, she taught every variety of history except American mostly at independent high schools for girls – with a brief stint in a poverty program school for pregnant teens in Bedford Stuyvesant. In the mid-nineties she and her late husband John Leonard were co-editors of the Books and Arts section of the Nation Magazine. Since retiring, Sue has filled up her days with reading, needlework, family, and friends.
Margaret E. Wagner
Marketing and Fundraising
Nan Fink Gefen
Marketing and Fundraising Emerita
Maxine Hong Kingston
Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Girls Are Smarter Inc. / Laura Laytham