Never in Doubt: Critical Essays on American Books, 1972-1985

Peter S. Prescott, Author Arbor House $18.95 (302p) ISBN 978-0-87795-803-1
Women's poetry is often disparaged for its presumed ""privacy'' and ``escapism,'' and unfairly judged in terms of male-imposed categories (forceful, masterly, large, powerful are terms in the male critic's lexicon). In a thought-provoking book, Ostriker, poet, critic and professor at Rutgers, redefines the nature and meaning of poetry by American women. ``The true nature of poetry is the drive to connect,'' wrote Adrienne Rich. Ostrikerconfirm spelling/sp ok focuses on how women poets of the past 20 years have fulfilled this drive in poems that challenge gender stereotypes, link the personal to the communal, further self-integration and explore experiences basic to being a woman. She identifies a body of ``satiric and retaliatory'' verses by such poets as May Swenson, Muriel Rukeyser, Anne Sexton, Diane Wakoski and Margaret Atwood; these poems overturn the ideal of the male as lover, hero, father, God. As mythmakers, women poets, unlike Yeats, Pound or Eliot, show little concern for the past as a repository of truth, goodness or desirable social organization. Instead, women poets seek to ``steal the language,'' using familiar figures to their own subversive ends in uncoverng woman's potentiality as artist, healer and force for social change. (April 30)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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