Women’s Experience In Poetry. Dorothy Parker. Résumé (1926). Dorothy Parker.
“I Go Back to May 1937” (1987)
To her admirers, Olds is a poet of direct physicality and painful honesty, depicting aspects of family life and of personal relationships that have rarely been described in such intimate or graphic terms. The same qualities prompt her detractors, most famously the critic Helen Vendler, to describe her work as self- indulgent, sensationalist, and even pornographic. There seems to be little middle ground in the matter. Like other confessional poets, such as W. D. Snodgrass or Anne Sexton, Olds explores the pain of living in dysfunctional families as well as the pleasures of marital sexual bliss. Her language is explicit and, as she admits herself, may be embarrassing to some readers. It seems likely that some, at least, of the "offence" is because of Olds' gender: many male poets have celebrated their sexuality and their fascination with women's bodies in explicit terms with little resulting condemnation; that a woman would not only treat men's bodies as sexual objects, but would also comment on her children's eroticism and explore the erotic bonds between a mother and her children—and even a daughter's with her father—still has, apparently, greater shock value.
Hanging Fire (1978)
In the Waiting Room (1946)
From ages three to six, Bishop lived in Great Village, Nova Scotia, with her mother's parents, and was then taken in by her father's family in Worcester and Boston. She attended Walnut Hill School near Boston during her high-school years, followed by four years at Vassar. By way of the Vassar librarian, in New York Bishop met the poet Marianne Moore, twenty-four years her senior, and their friendship quickly flourished. Her earliest work, which was influenced by George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Moore, appeared in the Vassar undergraduate magazine she had helped to found. Having briefly considered a career in medicine, she turned to poetry with the encouragement of Moore, who published a handful of her poems in an anthology called Trial Balances in 1935. In residence in New York for a year, she wrote her first mature poems, including "The Map" and "The Man-Moth." She then lived intermittently in Europe for three years before purchasing a house in Key West, Florida, in 1938. After being rejected by several New York publishers, the first of her four volumes of poetry, North and South, was finally published in 1946. North and South introduces the themes central to Bishop's poetry: geography and landscape, human connection with the natural world, questions of knowledge and perception, and the ability or inability of form to control chaos.
This experience is detailed in Plath’s fictional autobiography The Bell Jar. Plath's Bell Jar followed in 1965 with the posthumously published collection Ariel, was both a harbinger and an early voice of the women's movement. As the posthumous awarding of the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry to Plath's Collected Poems showed, her audience was not limited to women readers, nor did her writing express only feminist sentiments.
Barbie Doll (1973)
Gretel in Darkness (1975)