There isn't all that much psychological distance between Hah Ts'ui-p'in's 9th-century lament ""Buried in the women's quarters,/ The days pass in idleness"" and Sonia Sanchez's cry that ""i am what i/ am. woman, alone/ amid all this noise."" And only differences in tone separate Dorothy Parker's ""Oh, I should like to ride the seas,/ A roaring buccaneer"" and the American Indian ""Serenade"" which reads, in its entirety, ""O/ to be a man!"" Indeed the connections made by Ann Reit's intelligently chosen ""historical cross-section"" are abundantly clear; the selections' content is easily accessible although their styles may be less so (who can really feel comfortable with Anne Bradstreet?). This is a problem that Judith Thurman's I Became Alone (1975) solved with biographical background and contemporary translations that gave immediacy to one's readings of poets from other centuries and cultures. Reit, although she seems to have had good reasons for placing these particular poems side by side, leaves us to do all the work of figuring out why. The result is a suggestive sourcebook, well worth owning but without the carefully targeted impact of Thurman.