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No More Masks! ePub

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This volume presents for the first time the continuing tradition of feminist consciousness as expressed in poetry by women. Here 87 women poets of this century write distinctively for and about women, on issues both private and public, such as war, poverty, racism, sexuality, childbirth and abortion. While the themes explored in these poems — the divided woman, the search for wholeness, the creative woman's muse — have only recently begun to receive the serious critical attention they deserve, they are crucial aspects of the growing body of women's literature.

As Florence Howe explains in her introduction, the volume is "organized chronologically to note shifts in sensibility — in tone, theme and style — through the century, and to provide a sense of history and tradition for poets writing today." Of the 87 poets included, all but nine of whom are still living and writing, some are well known — Amy Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Muriel Rukeyser, Denise Levertov, Nikki Giovanni — and many are young and previously unpublished, or older and still unknown. Most importantly, taken as a whole, the volume "represents the rich variety of women's voices to be heard today."

While No More Masks! is a literary document, presenting in-depth selections for several key poets in each section, it also documents a new political awareness. As in many revolutionary movements, the women's movement, revitalized over the past decade, provided the impetus for the writing and study of many of the poems included here.

"Women poets today, young or old, are bound together in ways Lowell, Bogan, or Plath could not have imagined … A new poetry is in the making. No more masks! No more mythologies! And the fragments will join in us with their own music."
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