Hacker, Marilyn 1942-
HACKER, Marilyn 1942-
PERSONAL: Born November 27, 1942, in New York, NY; daughter of Albert Abraham (a management consultant) and Hilda (a teacher; maiden name, Rosengarten) Hacker; married Samuel R. Delany (a writer), August 22, 1961 (divorced, 1980); partner of Karyn London, 1986-1999; children: Iva Alyxander Hacker-Delany. Ethnicity: "Secular Jewish-European Diaspora." Education: New York University, B.A., 1964. Politics: "Progressive, feminist, socialist."
ADDRESSES: Home—New York, NY, and Paris, France. Office—230 West 105 St., Apt. 13C, New York, NY 10025. Agent—Frances Collin, P.O. Box 33, Wayne, PA 19087-0033. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Poet, editor. Has worked variously as a teacher, mail sorter, and editor. Antiquarian bookseller in London, England, 1971-76. George Washington University, Washington, DC, Jenny McKean Moore Chair in Writing, 1974; Columbia University, New York, NY, American Studies Institute, adjunct professor in creative writing, 1979-81; Hofstra University, professor of creative writing, 1997-99; City College of New York, director of creative writing M.A. program, 1999—, professor of French, graduate center, 2003—. Writer in residence, State University of New York, Albany, 1988, and Columbia University, 1988; University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, George Elliston poet-in-residence, 1988; American University, Washington, DC, distinguished writer-in-residence,
1989; visiting professor of creative writing, State University of New York, Binghamton, 1990, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, 1995, and Barnard College, New York, NY, 1995; Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, Fannie Hurst Visiting Professor of Poetry, 1996; Washington University, St. Louis, MO, Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence, 1997.
MEMBER: PEN, Poetry Society of America, Authors Guild, Authors League of America, Feminist Writers Guild.
AWARDS, HONORS: Lamont Poetry Selection, Academy of American Poets, 1973, for Presentation Piece; New York YWHA Poetry Center Discovery award, 1973, for "new" poets; National Endowment for the Arts grants, 1974, 1985, 1995; National Book Award in Poetry, 1975, for Presentation Piece; New York State Foundation for the Arts Creative Artists Public Service grant, 1979-80; Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, 1980-81; Coordinating Council of Little Magazines' editor's fellowship, 1984; Ingram Merrill Foundation fellowship, 1984; Robert F. Winner Memorial Award, 1987, for "Letter from Goose Creek: April," and 1989, for "Two Cities"; Lambda Literary Award in Poetry, 1991, for Going Back to the River; John Masefield Memorial Award from Poetry Society of America and B. F. Conners Award from Paris Review, both 1994, both for "Cancer Winter"; Reader's Choice Award, Prairie Schooner, 1995; Lambda Literary Award in Poetry and Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, Academy of American Poets, both 1995, both for Winter Numbers; Poet's Prize, 1996, for Selected Poems; Strousse awards, Prairie Schooner, 1998, 1999; Crossing Boundaries award, International Quarterly, 1999, for translation; New York Foundation for the Arts grant, 1999-2000; John Frederick Nims Memorial Prize, Poetry, 2001, for translations in the October-November, 2000, French issue; Fulbright Senior Research fellowship, translation and creative writing, 2001; Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry, and Smart Family Foundation Award, both 2001; Willis Barnstone Poetry Translation Prize, University of Evansville, 2003, for translation of sequence by Marie Etienne, National Book Critics Circle Award nomination, 2004, for She Says.
The Terrible Children, privately printed, 1967.
(With Thomas M. Disch and Charles Platt) Highway Sandwiches, privately printed, 1970.
Presentation Piece, Viking (New York, NY), 1974.
Separations, Knopf (New York, NY), 1976.
Taking Notice, Knopf (New York, NY), 1980.
Assumptions, Knopf (New York, NY), 1985.
Love, Death, and the Changing of the Seasons, Arbor House (New York, NY), 1986, reprinted, W. W. Norton (New York, NY), 1995.
Going Back to the River, Random House (New York, NY), 1990.
The Hang-Glider's Daughter: Selected Poems, Only-women Press (London, England), 1990.
Selected Poems, 1965-1990, W. W. Norton (New York, NY), 1994.
Winter Numbers, W. W. Norton (New York, NY), 1994.
First Cities: Collected Early Poems, 1960-1979, W. W. Norton (New York, NY), 2003.
Desesperanto: Poems, 1999-2002, W. W. Norton (New York, NY), 2003.
(Editor, with Samuel R. Delany) Quark I-IV, four volumes, Paperback Library (New York, NY), 1970-71.
The Poetry and Voice of Marilyn Hacker (sound recording), Caedmon, 1976.
Treasury of American Jewish Poets Reading Their Poems (sound recording), edited by Paul Kresh, Spoken Arts Recordings, 1979.
Marilyn Hacker (sound recording), University of Missouri, New Letters, 1979.
(Editor) Woman Poet: The East, Women in Literature (Reno, NV), 1982.
Five Poems of Marilyn Hacker: Soprano and Chamber Ensemble (printed music), C. F. Peters (New York, NY), 1989.
Hub of Ambiguity: For Soprano and Eight Players, 1984 (printed music), Donemus, 1992.
(Translator) Claire Malroux, Edge, Wake Forest University Press (Wake Forest, NC), 1996.
Squares and Courtyards, W. W. Norton (New York, NY), 2000.
(Translator) Claire Malroux, A Long-Gone Sun, Sheep Meadow Press (New York, NY), 2000.
(Translator) Vénus Khoury-Ghata, Here There Was Once a Country, Oberlin College Press (Oberlin, OH), 2001.
(Translator) Vénus Khoury-Ghata, She Says, Graywolf Press (St. Paul, MN), 2003.
(Translator) Claire Malroux, Birds and Bison, Sheep Meadow Press (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to periodicals, including Nation, Paris Review, Poetry, PN Review, (U.K.), Poetry London, (U.K.), and Women's Review of Books. Editor, City, 1967-70, Quark (speculative fiction quarterly), 1969-70, Little Magazine, 1977-80, Thirteenth Moon, 1982-86, and Kenyon Review, 1990-94. Editor of special issue of Ploughshares, winter, 1989-90, and spring, 1996. Coeditor of issue on contemporary French poetry, Poetry, November, 2000.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Another book; translations of Hédi Kaddom and Guy Goffette.
SIDELIGHTS: In her award-winning first book, Presentation Piece, poet Marilyn Hacker defined the dimensions of a poetic universe that she would continue to explore in her later work. Verse forms included in the book are sonnets, sestinas, villanelles, blank verse, and heroic couplets. Hacker largely stays within these formal boundaries in her subsequent books. Within these traditional poetic forms, Hacker couches the urgency of love, desire and alienation in brash, up-to-the minute language, writing from her perspective as a feminist, a lesbian, a cancer sufferer, and a member of the extended family of women. Judith Barrington, writing in Women's Review of Books, identified Hacker as a "radical formalist" to describe that juxtaposition of the traditional and the vernacular.
Carol S. Oles has interpreted Hacker's formalism as a political device. "When she writes in forms associated with the primarily male poets canonized by literary history," Oles observed in a Nation article, "it is as if she were slipping, in broad daylight, into a well-guarded preserve. She uses the decorous sonnet, sestina and villanelle to contain a vernacular, often racy speech." Hacker herself might not agree with that analysis, as she commented in an interview with Karla Hammond in Frontiers: "The language that we use was as much created and invented by women as by men." According to Felicia Mitchell in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Hacker "has insisted and shown that the traditional poetic forms are as much women's as they are men's—even if men were acclaimed and published more frequently in the past."
A native of New York City, Hacker attended New York University in the early 1960s, earning her B.A. in 1964. In 1961 she married writer Samuel R. Delany; despite Delany's homosexuality, the couple remained married for thirteen years, during which time they had a daughter. In the 1970s, Hacker spent much of her time living in London and working as a book dealer. She returned to the United States in 1976 but has divided her time since then between the United States and France, editing literary periodicals such as Ploughshares and the Kenyon Review, and teaching at a number of colleges and universities. Openly lesbian since the late 1970s, Hacker has created a poetry that is "feminist in its themes as it reveals how the personal is political," noted Mitchell.
Mitchell suggested that Hacker's first three books, Presentation Piece, which won the National Book Award, Separations, and Taking Notice, can be viewed as a trilogy. While all three are concerned with "a modern woman's psyche, played against the context of city streets and personal memories," the third collection, published in 1980, shows signs of increasing "self-awareness." The poems "grew richer and less arcane. Her tone softened, even hinted at joy." According to Mitchell, reviews of Taking Notice suggested that "the breadth of Hacker's vision was increasing as her experiences gave her more depth of emotion, and that her blend of formal structure and informal speech seemed less contrived and more natural." The poems in Taking Notice "betray their imprisonment in the material present," Mary Kinzie stated in the American Poetry Review. "There is here no beauty that makes the heart yearn, no broad consciousness guiding the verses, and no spiritual truth. There are only things." She concluded that the collection "is work that practically dares us to find a fault with its skill, and I find little to mitigate my judgment that the gauge is thrown by poems in which failed irony, dull lists, turgid diction, and a superficial formalism are artlessly exaggerated." While criticizing those poems in the collection that stray from the sonnet form, a Washington Post Book World reviewer remarked that "at her best no one handles the colloquial sublime … better than Marilyn Hacker. She is a master of progressive pentameter, of measuring, interrupting and holding the line, and of letting it go on, of letting it pile into sentences and juxtapositions."
Several critics characterized Hacker's 1985 collection, Assumptions, as a personally revealing and compassionate work. Here the poet's concerns revolve around relationships among women: as mother and daughter, as friends, as lovers, and as mythic figures which inform women's consciousness. In the book's first section, Hacker's relationship with her own mother is explored, precipitated by the poet's efforts to explain herself to her own daughter, Iva. Hacker had written about her mother and her daughter in earlier collections, but as Oles noted, in Assumptions acceptance, and finally forgiveness, have occurred. It is that autobiographical note of Hacker's verse that J. D. McClatchy praised in New York Times Book Review: "how relationships evolve, how love changes from passion to friendship, how we watch ourselves come clear or obscured in the eyes of others—these problems are traced in a remarkable series of epistolary poems to her ex-lovers and portraits of her family." In Women's Review of Books, contributor Kathleen Aguero wrote, "Hacker's voice manages to be intimate and intellectual at the same time. The forms she uses so expertly lend her just enough distance to be personal and self-conscious about craft, about language as a repository of meaning, without being self-indulgent."
Oles pointed out that the title Assumptions can be read as a reference to Catholicism, and that the collected verses contain similar references to "communicants," "sin," and "salvation." Oles concluded that Hacker is advocating "the creation of a new faith for unbelievers in the old." Along these lines, the book's final section, "The Snow Queen," uses the characters of Hans Christian Andersen to create a new feminist mythology. Hacker gives new life to Andersen's characters as portraits of women's possibilities, whose ultimate quest is to define themselves. The Snow Queen, a powerfully evil figure in Andersen's tale, is here redefined as one of the admirable "bad old ladies" who takes charge of her own life and is rewarded when her "daughters slog across the icecap to get drunk" with them. These literary figures are in the end part of the extended family of women—mothers and daughters—to whom Hacker feels a debt and a connection.
Hacker's next book, Love, Death and the Changing of the Seasons, is an extended narrative, comprised mainly of sonnets, that describes the arc of a love affair between a poet living in New York and France and a younger woman. Kathleen West described it in Prairie Schooner as "the unfolding of a grand passion that is in no way lessened by its entanglement with twentieth-century angst and American self-deprecatory humor." The characters meet in a poetry class taught by the older woman, Hack. Their relationship develops against a backdrop of what West called "New York freneticism, trans-Atlantic travel, and the energy of love." Hacker mainly uses Petrarchan sonnets to tell the story, peppering it with English and French slang, strong erotic language, the details of everyday life, a wide-ranging set of friends, and literary allusions—especially to Shakespeare, whose sonnets to a younger lover are an obvious reference point. As West pointed out, Hacker can combine Penelope, Persephone, French phrases, and the Shirelles into a single poem. Marilyn French, in a review in the Nation, summed up the book as "deeply satisfying. It allows the reader, in the concentrated and vivid way only poetry provides, to be immersed in the texture of one woman's actuality…. Unlike any other love poems I know, Hacker's sequence provides a context that offers a tacit explanation of how one can go on when the heart is shattered."
In 1990's Going Back to the River, Hacker again published a collection of formally constructed poems grouped into sections and based on personal themes. Elizabeth Alexander wrote in the Voice Literary Supplement that the collection addresses "themes that have long absorbed Marilyn Hacker: geographies, languages, the marking of her own places across various landscapes, and the creation of rituals." Alexander felt that the book falls short of Hacker's earlier work, that the autobiographical focus that had previously provided such a rich source of material, fails in this collection. "Hacker fans … will want to read this volume to see what she's thinking about and eating…. But only a few of the poems show what she's capable of." One poem that Alexander did praise, however, is the final poem, "Against Silence," addressed to Hacker's former mother-in-law, Margaret Delany. Delany had been an early hero of Hacker's, as a woman who earned her own living, "unduped and civilized." As a victim of stroke, the elderly Delany is less and less able to speak, leaving the poet "mourning your lost words … at a loss / for words to name what my loss of you is."
Judith Barrington, reviewing Going Back for Women's Review of Books, found Hacker's "brilliant" form to be an integral aspect of the poetry's meaning. She quoted, as an example, the poem "Cultural Exchange," in which a Hispanic woman muses on the contradictions she sees in the behavior of her employers: North Americans who think that women are "all one class" yet who still employ a domestic. The sestina form, noted Barrington, is "perfect for conveying the nature of cross-cultural exchanges, with their moments of connection and their odd near-misses."
Some reviewers have commented that Hacker's adherence to formal structure has resulted in poems that are nothing more than technical exercises. Ben Howard found in Poetry that the more formal poems of Presentation Piece "fall victim to artifice," while finding the poems in freer forms to be "more convincing." However, as Hacker has continued to develop her distinctive combination of traditional forms and radical themes, many reviewers have appreciated her accomplishments. By the time Going Back to the River was published, Hacker was so well known for her adherence to traditional forms that Alexander could refer to her "familiar technical dexterity." Alexander went on to note that while the poet uses "tightly rhymed and metered structures such as sestinas and villanelles, she nonetheless brings a colloquial ease and grace to the forms. She builds her rhythm on the rhyme itself, which forges connections between unlike quantities, and she uses her language to make those unlikely companions jibe."
Hacker has also been praised for her use of language. "Over and again one encounters images of the body, especially the tongue; of salt upon the tongue; of the sea, cliffs, a beach; of lovers awakening," Howard noted of Presentation Piece. "And it becomes apparent that the poet is attempting to formulate, in these and related images, a language of instinct and feeling—of a woman's bodily awareness—and to express the body's longings, including its 'inadmissible longings' as they are shaped and repressed in personal relationships." In Contemporary Women Poets, contributor Jane Augustine described the poet's language as "hard-edged," "darkly jewel-encrusted, redolent of a devastated inner world of difficult loving, tangled sexuality, and convoluted relationships. Semiprecious gems—onyx, amethyst, alexandrite—express the hardness, mystery, and richness of experience," Augustine noted of Hacker's early work in particular.
Selected Poems, 1965-1990 is a collection of poems from five previous books (all except Love, Death, and the Changing of the Seasons). In addition to highlighting Hacker's formal skill, "this retrospective collection documents the extent to which she has consistently articulated the complexities of contemporary culture, as a feminist, as a lesbian, and simply as a politically aware human being," noted Lambda Book Report contributor Sue Russell. Observing that Hacker's signature style is traceable from her earliest works, a Publishers Weekly reviewer praised the collection "for its great heart and its embrace of the female condition." Library Journal reviewer Steve R. Ellis commented on Hacker's unique ability in "negotiating the boundary of the feminist and lesbian canon while generating a buzz around [her] early work." And Lawrence Joseph declared in the Voice Literary Supplement: "Part of Hacker's genius is her use of traditional forms, or variations on them, as an integral level of expression." Writing in the New York Times Book Review, David Kirby stated, "There are no ticktock rhymes in her work; her use of enjambment, slant rhyme and metrical variation produces a line so lissome and fluid that, once engaged, the reader glides on as swiftly as a child in a water slide."
Published at the same time as Selected Poems and the winner of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, 1994's Winter Numbers "represents a darker vision than one is accustomed to from Hacker," according to Russell. Russell found "the same clear image of women's bodies, together or alone, this time augmented by a starkly vivid physical consciousness of aging and disease in the self or others." Women's Review of Books contributor Adrian Oktenberg noted that Hacker's typical scenes and characters in this collection are now "almost always tinged with a deeper sense of brevity, mutability and loss; and the sense of a future, both individual and collective, is now very much in doubt." Joseph remarked, "Hacker's voices are more mellifluously startling and alive than ever" as "the central motifs of her poetry … revolve around, simultaneously, the destruction of one's own body and that of the body politic." "As a Jew who lives part-time in Paris, her 'chosen diaspora,' Hacker writes hauntingly of the Holocaust. As a lesbian who lives part-time in America, Hacker writes with tremendous force about bigotry, AIDS, and breast cancer," explained Matthew Rothschild in the Progressive. The critic concluded, "It is the specter of death that lends this work its unforgettable power." "Although I am hesitant to equate 'darker' with 'deeper,' or even 'better,' as if the experience of human suffering in itself entitled one to added respect," remarked Russell, "I can say without hesitation that Winter Numbers is a stunning achievement bound to be quoted widely, and, one hopes, read by a broadening audience." Kirby declared, "Once again Ms. Hacker's supple formalism gives backbone to ideas and images that might overwhelm a lesser poet, and once again one sees how good this poet is, so good that anyone else trying to do what she does would only look foolish." "Dark as her subject is, Hacker's poems illuminate," commented a reviewer for Publishers Weekly. Oktenberg added, "The news in Winter Numbers is that one remains oneself in illness, and perhaps becomes more so."
As Hacker has entered middle age, her poems have more and more reflected a somber mood as well as a frustration for international events in a world dominated by American foreign policies. Her 2000 collection, Squares and Courtyards, is divided into two sections: "Scars on Paper" and "Paragraphs from a Daybook." "The first operates primarily within the realm of interiority and includes forty-one poems in quatrain, sonnet, haiku, alexandrine, and (of course) Sapphic forms," as Veronica Mitchell described it in her Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide assessment. "'Paragraphs from a Daybook' is loosely an extended sonnet sequence that examines territory mined by the poet's life as an activist, socialist, daughter, mother, lover, and now, a single-breasted Amazon." The collection addresses a number of issues, including the death of loved ones, AIDS, her own breast cancer, anti-Semitism, family, friendship, nature, and life on the streets of New York City and Paris. While many of the poems here are grim in subject, Booklist critic Ray Olson observed that Hacker is simultaneously "too engaged in living to indulge grief" even when relating her daughter's pain over the death of her friend in a car accident. Yet death is a repeated theme through these verses, and a corollary is the poet's insistence that "language as a force … does not necessarily survive or tell the whole story," as Beatrix Gates explained it in the Lambda Book Report. Redemption is discovered, nevertheless, through "Hacker's devotion to words, friends, food, and nature," according to Matthew Rothschild in the Progressive. Although at times the poems in Squares and Courtyards contain too much "heavy-handed imagery," stated one Publishers Weekly reviewer, when the poet "drops her formal guard" she displays an effective "emotional pitch and range." Olson concluded that the verses in this collection are "poised, intelligently lively, honorably serious." And Gates, who especially praised Hacker's scenes of city life in New York and Paris as "poignant," felt that the poet "lets the junctures of the world teach us and echoes the lesson in ferocious, plain precision."
After republishing some of her early work in First Cities: Collected Early Poems, 1960-1979, Hacker next put out a collection of original verses in Desesperanto: Poems, 1999-2002. The title, as several critics noted, is formed from a combination of the words "despair" and "Esperanto," the artificially created international language, and it reflects Hacker's view of the world as she straddles the Atlantic Ocean, with one foot in Paris and the other in New York City. As Hacker continues to struggle with the issues of pain, life as a lesbian, the illness of loved ones, and the death of others, her personal experiences of sadness are paralleled by anger over world events dictated by America's actions. A contributor to Publishers Weekly described the book as a combination of "lucid … autobiography, outspoken progressive politics and a casual mastery of elaborate forms." The poet's sense of loneliness is combined with "sensory precision and an abiding sense of history," wrote Booklist contributor Donna Seaman, noting that Hacker paints "vibrant collages of city life" that comprise a "magnificent" collection.
Maxine Kumin noted in a Nation article that in Hacker's poems "love and grief come together … infused with passion and wit and rendered in intricately woven formal patterns that stun the ear with their vernacular grace." Summarizing Hacker's work in Feminist Writers, contributor Renee Curry noted that "Much of Hacker's life work has been to frame the nameless inside the names, to work on providing forms for the formless." Hacker's significance to modern poetry, Curry added, "is synonymous with her persistent contribution of her own life experiences and her own life's wisdom to the feminist lesbian canon."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 5, 1976, Volume 9, 1978, Volume 23, 1983, Volume 72, 1992, Volume 91, 1996.
Contemporary Women Poets, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1997.
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 120: American Poets since World War II, Third Series, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1992.
Feminist Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Parini, Jay, editor, Contemporary Poetry, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2004.
Advocate, September 20, 1994, John Weir, "Marilyn Hacker," p. 51.
American Book Review, May-June, 2002, Elaine Equi, reviews of Here There Was Once a Country and A Long-Gone Sun, p. 16.
American Poetry Review, July, 1981, pp. 13-14; May-June, 1996, pp. 23-27.
AWP Chronicle, March-April, 1996.
Belles Lettres, spring, 1991, p. 52; winter, 1996, pp. 34-35.
Bloomsbury Review, March, 1996, p. 23.
Booklist, January 1, 2000, Ray Olson, review of Squares and Courtyards, p. 864; April 1, 2003, Donna Seaman, review of Desesperanto: Poems, 1999-2002, p. 1368.
Choice, September, 1976, p. 822.
Frontiers, fall, 1981, pp. 22-27.
Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, July, 2001, Veronica Mitchell, "Private Spaces Made Public," p. 41.
Hudson Review, summer, 1995, p. 339.
Kliatt, fall, 1985, p. 29.
Lambda Book Report, November, 1994, p. 27; April, 2000, Beatrix Gates, "Death, Be Not Proud," p. 17.
Library Journal, August, 1980, Suzanne Juhasz, review of Taking Notice, p. 1639; February 1, 1985, Suzanne Juhasz, review of Assumptions, p. 100; October 15, 1986, Fred Muratori, review of Love, Death, and the Changing Seasons, p. 99; April 15, 1990, Kathleen Norris, review of Going Back to the River, p. 96; September 15, 1994, p. 73; April 1, 1997, p. 95; August, 2003, Ellen Kaufman, review of Desesperanto, p. 89.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, December 28, 1980, p.7; June 30, 1985, p. 4; October 19, 1986, p. 8; September 2, 1990, p. 9.
Ms., April, 1975; March, 1981, p. 78.
Nation, September 18, 1976, p. 250; April 27, 1985; November 1, 1986; December 27, 1986, Maria Margaronis, review of Love, Death, and the Changing Seasons, p. 738; January 21, 1991, Beatrix Gates, review of Going Back to the River, p. 64; November 7, 1994, p. 548; December 26, 1994, p. 813; December 18, 1995, p. 800.
New Republic, September 7, 1974, p. 24.
New Statesman, August 21, 1987, Margaret Mulvihill, review of Love, Death, and the Changing Seasons, p. 23.
New Yorker, November 21, 1994, p. 133.
New York Times, November 22, 1995, p. B4.
New York Times Book Review, January 12, 1975, p. 2; August 8, 1976, pp. 12, 16; October 12, 1980, Charles Molesworth, review of Taking Notice, p. 37; May 26, 1985; June 21, 1987, p. 13; March 12, 1995; December 3, 1995, p. 80.
Poetry, April, 1975, p. 44; February, 1977, p. 285; July, 1981, p. 231; December, 1985, Sandra M. Gilbert, review of Assumptions, p. 167; July, 1991, Stephen Yenser, review of Going Back to the River, p. 221.
Poetry London, autumn, 2003, D. M. Black, review of Desesperanto.
Prairie Schooner, winter, 1987; fall, 1992, pp. 129-31.
Progressive, January, 1995, pp. 43-44; January, 2001, Matthew Rothschild, review of Squares and Courtyards, p. 42.
Publishers Weekly, August 8, 1980, review of Taking Notice, p. 70; January 4, 1985, review of Assumptions, p. 65; September 12, 1986, John Mutter, review of Love, Death, and the Changing Seasons, p. 90; March 2, 1990, Penny Kaganoff, review of Going Back to the River, p. 77; August 29, 1994, p. 67; September 26, 1994, p. 58; December 6, 1999, review of Squares and Courtyards, p. 72; January 22, 2001, review of A Long-Gone Sun, p. 321; May 19, 2003, review of Desesperanto, p. 67.
Times Literary Supplement, October 29, 1976, p. 1348; July 10, 1987, p. 748; December 1, 1995, p. 10.
Tribune Books, May 26, 1974; January 11, 1981, p. 3.
Voice Literary Supplement, April, 1990, pp. 6-7; February, 1995, p. 25.
Wall Street Journal, November 11, 1986, Raymond Sokolov, review of Love, Death, and the Changing Seasons, p. 34.
Washington Post Book World, November 2, 1980, p. 11; February 1, 1987, p. 6.
Women's Review of Books, September, 1985, p. 13; July, 1990, p. 28; April, 1995, pp. 10-11; July, 2001, Sandra Gilbert, "The Past Recaptured," pp. 26-27; November, 2003, Carolyne Wright, review of She Says and Here There Was Once a Country, pp. 16-17.
World Literature Today, spring, 2001, Bruce King, review of A Long-Gone Sun, p. 359; winter, 2002, Maryann De Julio, review of Here There Was Once a Country, p. 180.*