cover image Selected Poems 1965-1990

Selected Poems 1965-1990

Marilyn Hacker. W. W. Norton & Company, $22 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-393-03675-6

Tracing Hacker's (Assumptions) poetic development here will make an intriguing journey for both new and familiar readers of this leader of the feminist/lesbian poetry movement. Hacker's signature style-passionate, technically deft-is spotlighted in early poems such as ``Elegy,'' paying tribute to the agonized ``sandpaper/ velvet'' throat of Janis Joplin. The poet has noted that ``subjects choose us, not otherwise'': by the 1980s, her subjects were avowedly feminist, ranging from political ideology in ``Coda'' to eros in ``La Fontaine de Vauclause.'' Other poems disclose her ``taking notice'' of her estranged relations with her diabetic mother, and of her daughter Ira, ``born hero'' and ``found... flawed.'' Recent poems find Hacker's stance forthrightly gay (``unsaintly ordinary female queers''), yet her style has become more muted, especially in written reveries about the chaotic 1960s. This collection deserves honors for its great heart and its embrace of the female condition. (Oct.)