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  • CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN

    WOMEN POETS: An A-to-Z Guide

    Catherine Cucinella Editor

    GREENWOOD PRESS

  • CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN WOMEN POETS

  • CONTEMPORARY

    AMERICAN

    WOMEN POETS

    An A-to-Z Guide

    Edited by Catherine Cucinella

    Emmanuel S. Nelson, Advisory Editor

    GREENWOOD PRESS

    Westport, Connecticut • London

  • Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Contemporary American women poets : an A-to-Z guide / edited by Catherine Cucinella.

    p. cm.

    Includes bibliographical references and index.

    ISBN 0–313–31783–6 (alk. paper)

    1. American poetry—Women authors—Bio-bibliography—Dictionaries. 2. Women and

    literature—United States—History—20th century—Dictionaries. 3. American poetry—20th

    century—Bio-bibliography—Dictionaries. 4. Poets, American—20th century—Biography—

    Dictionaries. 5. Women poets, American—Biography—Dictionaries. 6. American poetry—

    Women authors—Dictionaries. 7. American poetry—20th century—Dictionaries. I. Cucinella,

    Catherine.

    PS151.C665 2002

    811'.54099287'03—dc21

    [B] 2002067811

    British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data is available.

    Copyright � 2002 by Catherine Cucinella

    All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be

    reproduced, by any process or technique, without the

    express written consent of the publisher.

    Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2002067811

    ISBN: 0–313–31783–6

    First published in 2002

    Greenwood Press, 88 Post Road West, Westport, CT 06881

    An imprint of Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc.

    www.greenwood.com

    Printed in the United States of America TM

    The paper used in this book complies with the

    Permanent Paper Standard issued by the National

    Information Standards Organization (Z39.48–1984).

    10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

  • CONTENTS

    Preface xi

    Introduction xv

    Diane (Fink) Ackerman (1948– ) 1

    J. Elizabeth Clark

    Ai (1947– ) 7

    Nikolas Huot

    Maya Angelou (1928– ) 12

    Sandra L. West

    Rae (Mary) Armantrout (1947– ) 18

    Christina J. Mar

    Beatriz Badikian (1951– ) 23

    Tara Betts and Catherine Cucinella

    Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks (1917–2000) 28

    Seretha D. Williams

    Olga Broumas (1949– ) 35

    Darlene Cohn

    Ana Castillo (1953– ) 40

    Chris Ruı́z-Velasco

    Lorna Dee Cervantes (1954– ) 45

    Benay Blend

    Maxine Chernoff (1952– ) 51

    Robert Archambeau

  • CONTENTSvi

    Marilyn Chin (1955– ) 55

    Catherine Cucinella

    Sandra Cisneros (1954– ) 60

    Lisa B. Day

    Amy Clampitt (1920–1994) 65

    Barbara Schwarz Wachal

    Killarney Clary (1953– ) 71

    Richard Quinn

    Lucille Clifton (1936– ) 75

    Laurie Champion

    Wanda Coleman (1946– ) 80

    Orathai Northern

    Jayne Cortez (1936– ) 85

    Lisa B. Day

    Toi Derricotte (1941– ) 89

    Monifa A. Love

    Deborah Digges (1950– ) 95

    Jacqueline A. K. McLean

    Diane di Prima (1934– ) 100

    Timothy Gray

    Rita Dove (1952– ) 106

    Jana Evans Braziel

    Lynn Emanuel (1943– ) 113

    Michael Dittman

    Carolyn Forché (1950– ) 117

    Shanna Flaschka

    Kathleen Fraser (1937– ) 122

    Deborah M. Mix

    Alice Fulton (1952– ) 127

    Ernest J. Smith

    Tess Gallagher (1943– ) 133

    Robert Miltner

    Amy Gerstler (1956– ) 138

    Amy Moorman Robbins

    Nikki Giovanni (1943– ) 142

    J. Elizabeth Clark

    Louise Glück (1943– ) 148

    Marie C. Paretti

  • CONTENTS vii

    Jorie Graham (1950– ) 154

    Robert Miltner

    Marilyn Hacker (1942– ) 159

    Renée R. Curry

    Jessica Tarahata Hagedorn (1949– ) 163

    Nikolas Huot

    Joy Harjo (1951– ) 168

    Monika Giacoppe

    Carla Harryman (1952– ) 173

    Deborah M. Mix

    Lyn Hejinian (1941– ) 178

    Richard Quinn

    Susan Howe (1937– ) 183

    Maria Elena Caballero-Robb

    June Jordan (1936–2002) 188

    Samiya A. Bashir

    Jane Kenyon (1947–1995) 194

    Jessica Allen

    Carolyn Kizer (1925– ) 199

    Deborah Phelps

    Maxine Kumin (1925– ) 205

    Claudia Milstead

    Denise Levertov (1923–1997) 210

    Lynn Domina

    Phyllis Levin (1954– ) 215

    Barbara Schwarz Wachal

    Audre Lorde (1934–1992) 219

    Deborah M. Mix

    Heather McHugh (1948– ) 228

    Joelle Biele

    Sandra McPherson (1943– ) 233

    Anett Jessop

    Pat Mora (1942– ) 238

    Kathlyn A. Barros

    Cherrı́e Moraga (1952– ) 242

    Sharon L. Barnes

    Marilyn Nelson Waniek (1946– ) 248

    Kathrine Varnes

  • CONTENTSviii

    Naomi Shihab Nye (1952– ) 253

    Persis M. Karim

    Sharon Olds (1942– ) 258

    Cassandra A. Van Zandt

    Mary Oliver (1935– ) 263

    Roxanne Harde

    Grace Paley (1922– ) 268

    Austin Booth

    Linda Pastan (1932– ) 273

    Andrea Adolph

    Marge Piercy (1936– ) 278

    Maureen Langdon Shaiman

    Sylvia Plath (1932–1963) 284

    Kimberly Orlijan

    Minnie Bruce Pratt (1946– ) 290

    Tenea D. Johnson

    Adrienne Rich (1929– ) 294

    Kathleen Moore

    Muriel Rukeyser (1913–1980) 302

    Kathleen Carlton Johnson and Catherine Cucinella

    Natasha Sajé (1955– ) 309

    Renée R. Curry

    Mary Jo Salter (1954– ) 313

    Isaac Cates

    Sonia Sanchez (1934– ) 318

    Sister Shiree Sarana and Catherine Cucinella

    Leslie Scalapino (1947– ) 325

    David Clippinger

    Anne Gray Harvey Sexton (1928–1974) 330

    Kathleen L. Nichols

    Ntozake Shange (1948– ) 336

    Sister Shiree Sarana and Catherine Cucinella

    Jane Shore (1947– ) 341

    Renée R. Curry

    Leslie Marmon Silko (1948– ) 346

    Rebecca Tillett

    Cathy Song (1955– ) 352

    Nikolas Huot

  • CONTENTS ix

    Elizabeth Spires (1952– ) 356

    Natalie Stillman-Webb

    Ruth Stone (1915– ) 361

    Vanessa Warne

    Karen Swenson (1936– ) 366

    Marlene D. Allen

    Chase Twichell (1950– ) 371

    Marlene D. Allen

    Mona Jane Van Duyn (1921– ) 376

    J. Elizabeth Clark

    Diane Wakoski (1937– ) 380

    Susan R. Bowers

    Mitsuye Yamada (1923– ) 385

    Karen L. Polster

    Selected Bibliography 391

    Index 393

    About the Editor and Contributors 395

  • PREFACE

    American women poets compose a significant part of an American poetic tradition;

    however, discussions regarding American poetry that include women focus on a very

    small group of American women poets. Unfortunately, this “elite” group of female

    poets then becomes representative of all American women poets. While troublesome

    in itself, this pattern proves particularly damaging for the contemporary female poet.

    Female poets writing today must not only struggle with or within a predominately

    male poetic tradition, but they must also negotiate and confront exclusive female or

    feminist expectations. This either/or paradigm seems to leave little room for the in-

    clusiveness that prevails among contemporary American female poets.

    Feminist efforts have “recovered” the works of earlier (pre-twentieth century)

    women poets, and much of this rediscovered work now shows up in anthologies.

    Furthermore, anthologies devoted to the works of specific groups of poets—Language

    poets, award winners, poets of color—also exist. This reference work, however, deals

    specifically with contemporary American women poets—well known and lesser

    known, women of color as well as white women—as it begins to fill a gap in our

    understanding of contemporary American poetry. This project also manifests limita-

    tions and politics of inclusion and exclusion. I do not suggest that this reference book

    is by any means complete or exhaustive. I view it as only one resource through which

    to identify and acknowledge the many women who have written and continue to write

    on American poetics.

    This volume includes American women poets who published a significant part

    of their work from 1946 to the present and provides an important contribution to

    the study of American women poets during this time frame. It also continues the

    work of Denise Knight’s Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers: A Bio-

    Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook (1997), Laurie Champion’s American Women

    Writers, 1900–1945: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook (2000), and Laurie

    Champion and Rhonda Austin’s Contemporary American Women Fiction Writers: An

  • PREFACExii

    A-to-Z Guide (2002). In an effort to avoid duplication, some poets do not appear in

    this volume, most notably Elizabeth Bishop.

    The women included in Contemporary American Women Poets come from a variety

    of racial and ethnic backgrounds, and they both represent and inhabit multiple social

    and class positions. In addition, the seventy poets

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