Replansky, Naomi 1918-
REPLANSKY, Naomi 1918-
PERSONAL: Born May 23, 1918, in New York, NY; daughter of Sol and Fannie (Ginsberg) Replansky; companion of Eva Kollisch. Education: Attended Hunter College (now of the City University of New York), 1935-38; University of California—Los Angeles, B.A., 1956.
ADDRESSES: Home—711 Amsterdam Ave., No. 8E, New York, NY 10025.
CAREER: Poet. Worked at a variety of jobs, including office worker, factory worker, teacher, and computer programmer. Pitzer College, Claremont, CA, poet in residence, 1981; Henry Street Settlement and Educational Alliance, New York, NY, teacher of writing workshops, 1982-94.
MEMBER: PEN American Center, Poetry Society of America, Poets House, Phi Beta Kappa.
AWARDS, HONORS: National Book Award nomination, 1952, for Ring Song.
Ring Song (poetry), Scribner (New York, NY), 1952.
(Translator) Bertolt Brecht, St. Joan of the Stockyards (play), produced in New York, NY, 1978.
Twenty-one Poems, Old and New (chapbook), Gingko (New York, NY), 1988.
The Dangerous World: New and Selected Poems, 1934-1994, Another Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1994.
Work represented in numerous anthologies, including No More Masks! An Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Woman Poets, edited by Florence Howe, 1993; and Inventions of Farewell: A Book of Elegies, edited by Sandra M. Gilbert, W. W. Norton (New York, NY), 2001. Contributor of poetry and translations of the works of Hofmannsthal, Claudius, and Brecht to American and European magazines.
Collection of author's manuscripts is housed in the Berg Collection, New York Public Library, New York, NY.
SIDELIGHTS: Poet Naomi Replansky rose to prominence in the early 1950s when her first full-length collection of poems, Ring Song, was nominated for the National Book Award. However, such kudos were accompanied by blistering reviews by several critics. Replansky published only occasionally for four decades, finally emerging with The Dangerous World: New and Selected Poems, 1934-1994.
Written primarily during the poet's twenties and thirties, Ring Song reflects the creativity of a "self-taught, working-class woman who learned the craft of poetry while working in factories and stores," according to Contemporary Women Poets essayist Denise Wiloch. While several critics had praise for the collection—among them M. L. Rosenthal of the New Republic, who deemed Replansky's verses "alive and bright with color and feeling"—there were also criticisms, issuing mainly from the "patriarchal poetry establishment" of the mid-1950s, according to a reviewer in the Bloomsbury Review. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, reviewing Ring Song in the San Francisco Chronicle, maintained that the volume contained choppy writing and surmised that Replansky neglects the use of "her mind . . . when writing, as if merely to observe were enough." Unfortunately, Ferlinghetti, continued, such skills of observation were not yet mature.
After publication, Replansky maintained a literary silence for some years until the release of her 1994 offering, The Dangerous World: New and Selected Poems, 1934-1994. Elizabeth Gunderson in Booklist wrote of the poetry collection, "With timeless grace, she sets each poem simmering with powerful phrasing and universal experience . . . Replansky brings us ageless work in a collection that should not be missed."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Women Poets, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1997.
Gershgoren-Novak, Estelle, editor, Poets of the Non-Existent City, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 2002.
Bloomsbury Review, January-February, 1995, review of Ring Song, p. 20.
Booklist, September 1, 1952, p. 49; October 15, 1994, Elizabeth Gunderson, review of The Dangerous World: New and Selected Poems, 1934-1994, p. 395.
Bridges: Journal for Jewish Feminists and Our Friends, Volume 9, number 2, 2002, interview, pp. 99-103.
Lamp in the Spine (St. Paul, MN), 1973-74.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, March 23, 2003, p. R3.
Nation, September 12, 1952.
New Republic, January 5, 1953, M. L. Rosenthal, review of Ring Song, p. 128.
New York Times, August 31, 1952, p. 11.
Publishers Weekly, September 26, 1994, p. 60.
Saturday Review, September 6, 1952, A. M. Sullivan, review of Ring Song.
Voices: Journal of Poetry, January-April, 1953, H. W. Wells, review of Ring Song, pp. 55-56.
Women's Review of Books, December, 1995, pp. 11-12.