A thought-provoking mix of poetry, creative manifesto and criticism.
Poetry in America is flourishing in this new millennium and asking serious questions of itself: Is writing marked by gender and if so, how? What does it mean to be experimental? How can lyric forms be authentic? This volume builds on the energetic tensions inherent in these questions, focusing on ten major American women poets whose collective work shows an incredible range of poetic practice.
Each section of the book is devoted to a single poet and contains new poems; a brief "statement of poetics" by the poet herself in which she explores the forces — personal, aesthetic, political — informing her creative work; a critical essay on the poet's work; a biographical statement; and a bibliography listing works by and about the poet. Underscoring the dynamic give and take between poets and the culture at large, this anthology is indispensable for anyone interested in poetry, gender and the creative process.
CONTRIBUTORS: Rae Armantrout, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Lucie Brock Broido, Jorie Graham, Barbara Guest, Lyn Hejinian, Brenda Hillman, Susan Howe, Ann Lauterbach, Harryette Mullen.
Poems: "As We're Told" — "The Plan" — "View" — "Up to Speed" — "Manufacturing"
Poetic Statement: Cheshire Poetics
Critical Essay: Lyricism of the Swerve: The Poetry of Rae Armantrout, by Hank Lazer
Poems: From "Four Year Old Girl" — From "Kali" — From "The Retired Architect"
Poetic Statement: By Correspondence
Critical Essay: A "Sensitive Empiricism": Berssenbrugge's Phenomenological Investigations, by Linda Voris
Poems: "The One Thousand Days" — "Soul Keeping Company" — "Periodic Table of Ethereal Elements" — "Am Moor" — "Carrowmore"
Poetic Statement: Myself a Kangaroo Among the Beauties
Critical Essay: "Subject, Subjugate, Inthralled": The Selves of Lucie Brock-Broido, by Stephen Burt
Poems: "Exit Wound" — "Covenant" — "Prayer" — "Gulls" — "The Complex Mechanism of the Break" — "In/Silence" — "Philosopher's Stone"
Poetic Statement: At the Border
Critical Essay: Jorie Graham and Emily Dickinson: Singing to Use the Waiting, by Thomas Gardner
Poems: "Valorous Time" — "If So, Tell Me" — "Confession of My Images" — "Defensive Rapture" — "An Emphasis Falls on Reality" — "The Farewell Stairway" — "Words"
Poetic Statement: The Forces of the Imagination
Critical Essay: Implacable Poet, Purple Birds: The Work of Barbara Guest, by Sara Lundquist
Poems: From "Writing Is an Aid to Memory" — From "Happily"
Poetic Statement: Some Notes toward a Poetics – Critical Essay: Parting with Description, by Craig Dworkin
Poems: "A Geology"
Poetic Statement: Twelve Writings toward a Poetics of Alchemy, Dread, Inconsistency, Betweenness, and California's Geological Syntax
Critical Essay: "Needing Syntax to Love": Expressive Experientialism in the Work of Brenda Hillman, by Lisa Sewell
Poems: "From Chair"
Poetic Statement: The Leaves Are Not Enough to Crown to Cover to Crown to Cover
Critical Essay: Articulating the Inarticulate: Singularities and the Countermethod in Susan Howe, by Ming-Qian Ma
Poems: "In the Museum of the Word (Henri Matisse)" — "S T O N E S (Istanbul, Robert Smithson)"
Poetic Statement: As (It) Is: Toward a Poetics of the Whole Fragment – Critical Essay: "Enlarging the Last Lexicon of Perception" in Ann Lauterbach's Framed Fragments, by Christine Hume
Poems: "Wino Rhino" — "Fancy Cortex" — "Music for Homemade Instruments" — "The Anthropic Principle" — "Sleeping with the Dictionary"
Poetic Statement: Imagining the Unimagined Reader
Critical Essay: "Sleeping with the Dictionary": Harryette Mullen's "Recylopedia," by Elizabeth A. Frost
"Just as Sappho helped defined the genre when it debuted it ancient Greece as a brief, personal song accompanied by the lyre, so the poets selected here-among them Rae Aramatrout, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, Jorie Graham, Barbara Guest, Susan Howe, and Harryette Mullen-force us to redefine lyric poetry. In particular, their use of modernist techniques such as fragmentation, disjunction, parataxis, and run-ons and their rejection of confessional techniques and the personal singular voice allow these poets to create a new structure. Many of the resulting images are startling and unique. . ."~Nedra C. Evers, Library Journal
""American Women Poets in the 21st Century helps to reframe the debate about experiment versus tradition in women's contemporary poetry. . . [and] reveals how very distinctive are 21st century American women poets.""~Laura Hinton, How2
""A provocative read for those interested in contemporary poetry . . .""~B. Wallenstein, Choice
""Just as Sappho helped defined the genre when it debuted it ancient Greece as a brief, personal song accompanied by the lyre, so the poets selected here-among them Rae Aramatrout, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, Jorie Graham, Barbara Guest, Susan Howe, and Harryette Mullen-force us to redefine lyric poetry. In particular, their use of modernist techniques such as fragmentation, disjunction, parataxis, and run-ons and their rejection of confessional techniques and the personal singular voice allow these poets to create a new structure. Many of the resulting images are startling and unique. . .""~Nedra C. Evers, Library Journal
"". . . an ideal teaching anthology for an upper-level course on contemporary women poets, or for that "general reader" interested in this particular site of poetic activity . . . Spahr's introduction is necessary reading.""~Linda Russo, Jacket
"Any serious poet or lover of poetry will welcome this anthology, which shows the rich diversity of perspectives in which women poets expand and contest the current state of the art."~Ira Sadoff, Dana Professor of Poetry, Colby College