This book calls for a new approach to poetry criticism. Eighteen brilliant essays offer challenging new theoretical approaches by examining the work of twentieth-century women poets. Poets covered include the most famous - Sylvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop, Jackie Kay, Liz Lochhead, Grace Nichols, Eavan Boland - and the more neglected such as Una Marson, Jean Binta Breeze, Lorine Niedecker and Denise Riley. The essays are grouped into six sections: women poets and modernism; the politics of place; (post)colonial contexts; the body; radical poetics; and reconfigurations; and within these areas, war poetry, Caribbean, Irish and Scottish women's poetry, birth poetry and science poetry are also discussed.
Section One Oblique angels - women poets and modernism: Charlotte Mew and T.S. Eliot and modernism, Kathleen Bell; great expectations - rehabilitating the recalcitrant war poets, Gill Plain; H.D. imagiste? bisexuality - identity - imagism, Megan Lloyd Davies. Section Two The politics of place: dodging around the grand piano - sex, politics and contemporary Irish women's poetry, Ailbhe Smith; from room to homesick room - women and poetry in Northern Ireland, Declan Long; writing near the fault line - Scottish women poets and the topography of tongues, Helen Kidd. Section Three (Post)colonial contexts: sentimental subversion - the poetics and politics of devotion in the work of Una Marson, Alison Donnell; "holding my beads in my hand" - dialogue, synthesis and power in the poetry of Jackie Kay and Grace Nichols, Paraskevi Paleonida. Section Four The body: Sylvia Plath's revolutionary wieldings of the female body, Cath Stowers; in/corporation? Jackie Kay's "The Adoption Papers", Gabriele Griffin; delivering the mother - three anthologies of birth poetry, Karin Voth Harman. Section Five Radical poetics: Lorine Niedecker on and off the margins - a radical poetics out of objectivism, Harriet Tarlo; reading between the lines - identity in the early poems of Veronica Forrest-Thomson, Alison Mark; feminist radicalism in (relatively) traditional forms - an American's investigations of British poetics, Romana Huk. Section Six Women/poet - reconfigurations: poetry and the position of weakness - some challenges of writing in healthcare, Fiona Sampson; objecting to the subject - science, femininity and poetic process in the work of Elizabeth Bishop and Lavinia Greenlaw, Deryn Rees-Jones; no one's mother - can the mother write poetry?, Nicole Ward Jouve.