THE PENGUIN BOOK OF WOMEN POETS by Carol; Joan Keefe & Kathleen Weaver--Eds. Cosman


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Dozens of anthologies purporting to represent the history of women's poetry have appeared in recent years, but none has succeeded as completely as this volume. Edited by three women trained in comparative literature at Berkeley, the selection takes into account all types of poetry from biblical times to the present; from works in the oral tradition (""The Song of Deborah"") to the tightly-knit, 20th-century neo-classicism of Louise Bogan. The range of concerns is certain to impress those skeptical of woman's work once it is taken from home and hearth. Here is Sappho: ""People do gossip/And they say about/ Leda, that she/ once found an egg/ hidden under/ wild hyacinths."" And here Rachel Morpungo, a 19th-century Italian Jew: ""Woman's mind is frail,' how can this one be the best?/ After years if her memory's put to the test, . . . will it surpass a dead dog knowing prow ince or town?"" The anthology is organized chronologically, with almost every area of the world represented in each section, so that one can appreciate the interests of the times as well as developments within a specific literary tradition. All in all, a fine achievement.

Pub Date: March 29th, 1979
Publisher: Viking/Penguin