contemporary women poets…

September 19, 2016


The historical problem is that contemporary women poets do not have a long and powerful female formal tradition to rebel against. The only women’s poetic tradition that has been influential during out century is the free-verse tradition that followed on Modernism. Dickinson is an anomaly, influential only because of her perceived affinities with nonformal Modernist and postmodernist poetics. Women poets who are drawn to palpable structures and who identify with female traditions must look away from the handful of canonically accepted female poets in the search for our foremothers. Writing in form is for us not a matter of going back to the past, reasserting an archaic power structure, meekly treading on territory already claimed by Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, and Wordsworth.

Annie Finch
Female Tradition as Feminist Innovation

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