THE HIDDEN WATERFALL: Poems by Marya Zaturenska


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Zaturenska received the Pulitzer Prize for her 1937 Cold Morning Sky but her Collected Poems were hardly noticed in 1965. Her work is, quite simply, dated, old-fashioned, out of the mainstream of contemporary poetry. She belongs, in Kenneth Rexroth's words, to a group of women poets who seem ""to embody a type that has vanished from the earth. . .a group of Henry James heroines."" One might guess from the preponderance of classical and renaissance themes in this new book that Zaturenska has abdicated the 20th century entirely for the age of Christina Rossetti, whose poems, she writes, ""praise God in fire-touched songs that pray."" The fair maidens whose psychology she explores -- Cordelia, Mariana, Ophelia and Miranda in A Shakepearean Cycle, Dido, Katherine Howard -- are of quite another style of femininity than the heroines of Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton or Adrienne Rich. They exist in another universe, God-centered, peopled with rose-nymphs, undines, seawraiths, virgin attendants, brides, muses and sirens-an eternally dreamlike spring. Zaturenska's poems are a sweet and innocent grandmotherly garland -- lovely, but faded.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1974
Publisher: Vanguard