MODERN AMERICAN WOMEN POETS by Jean Gould

MODERN AMERICAN WOMEN POETS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

No more successfully than in American Women Poets (1980), which surveyed the ""pioneer"" era of Dickinson, Lowell, Millay, and Moore, Gould again offers mini-biographies with capsule appreciations--this time covering 18 ""selected poets among American Women writing poetry in the second half of the twentieth century."" As before, Gould's critical comments remain bland and superficial, often bestowing platitudinous praise on minor talents--though Sylvia Plath receives un-characteristically snippy treatment: ""A figure of questionable quality. . . Former Lowell disciples, including their mentor, placed her on a pedestal out of all proportion to her worth as a poet."" Elsewhere, Gould relies on excerpts from poetry reviews (an entirely indiscriminate range of sources). And the biographical sketches stick primarily to the chummily anecdotal and the flatly worshipful. Still, some readers may find the basic material here useful: there's data on big names (Rukeyser, Levertov; Bishop, Rich, Sexton) and smaller ones (Ruth Whitman, Jean Burden), with an afterword-roundup of such younger/lesser poets as Carolyn Forche and Eve Merriam.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1985
Publisher: Dodd, Mead