Phenomenal Women: Poets at PPL
Annotation: This bountiful collection presents memorable poems written in the English language over the past 150 years-masterworks and new classics by great authors from Emily Dickinson to Rita Dove, Marianne Moore and Edna St. Vincent Millay to Maxine Kumin and Mary Oliver, Sylvia Plath and Linda Pastan to Kay Ryan and Marge Piercy-that offer compelling perspectives on timeless topics of love, marriage, family, friendship, nature, faith and hope, courage and endurance, and life as lived intensely and to the full. Brief biographies introduce each poet and her work.
Annotation:Sappho, whom Plato (see Vols. 3 and 4) called "the tenth Muse," was the greatest of the early Greek lyric poets. She was born at Mytilene on Lesbos and was a member---perhaps the head---of a group of women who honored the Muses and Aphrodite. Her family was aristocratic; it is said that she was married and had a daughter. Her brilliant love lyrics, marriage songs, and hymns to the gods are written in Aeolic dialect in many meters, one of which is named for her---the Sapphic. Mostly fragments survive of the nine books she is thought to have authored. Her verse is simple and direct, exquisitely passionate and vivid. Catullus, Ovid, and Swinburne were among the many later poets she influenced.
Annotation:For nearly thirty-five years Julian Mason's The Poems of Phillis Wheatley (1966) has been the standard edition of the poems and letters of this young black poet of eighteenth-century Boston. This new edition has been extensively revised in light of Wheatley scholarship since its publication.
Annotation:One of the loveliest books published in 2013. This exquisite reproduction of a collection of envelopes that Dickinson (1830-86) covered with scraps of poems and delightfully enigmatic phrases has not only literary value but also stunning pictorial presence. In a title originally published as an artist book by Steve Clay of Granary Books, editors Werner (The Dickinson Composites) and Bervin (Emily Dickinson's Open Folios: Scenes of Reading, Surfaces of Writing) introduce (on facing pages) scanned images and visual transcriptions of envelopes that Dickinson used to draft poems or to jot down some idiosyncratic phrase that may have haunted her thoughts. Each page presents a single envelope or (in some cases) a scrap of an envelope covered with the poet's sometimes gnomic script against a stark white background. On the facing page is an outline of the same piece of envelope and within it are transcribed the words penciled on the surface.
Annotation:"Your thorns are the best part of you," notes Marianne Moore. More than thirty years after her death, Marianne Moore continues to be one of America's most beloved poets.This complete collection of Moore's poetry, edited by the prizewinning poet Grace Schulman, for the first time contains all of Moore's poems, including 120 previously uncollected and unpublished ones.
Annotation:“My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends— It gives a lovely light!” Revel in the candid verse of Edna St. Vincent Millay, including such favorites as "The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver" and "Renascence." This lively selection casts Millay's career in a new light.
Annotation:“Four billion people on this earth, but my imagination is still the same. It's bad with large numbers." -Wislawa Szymborska. Poems from one of our Nobel Laureates for Literature.
Annotation:Among the many poets whose work is included are Anna Akhmatova, Maya Angelou, Judith Kazantzis, Gabriela Mistral, Marge Piercy, Irina Ratushinskaya and Alice Walker.
Annotation:A collection of poems and essays by thirty-five female spoken word artists from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including Sarah Jones, Leah Harris, Tracie Morris, and others.
Annotation:"I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;/ I lift my lids and all is born again." Containing everything that celebrated poet Sylvia Plath wrote after 1956, this is one of the most comprehensive collections of her work. Edited, annotated, and with an introduction by Ted Hughes.
Annotation:“Depression is boring, I think/ and I would do better to make/ some soup and light up the cave.” From the joy and anguish of her own experience, Sexton fashioned poems that told truths about the inner lives of men and women. This book comprises Sexton's ten volumes of verse, including the Pulitzer Prize-winner Live or Die, as well as seven poems form her last years.
Annotation:"I'm a woman/ Phenomenally./ Phenomenal woman,/ That's me.” Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Johnson on April 4, 1928 in Saint Louis, Missouri. She is perhaps best known for her semi-autobiographical work "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" and has written at least 11 best-sellers, including her recent memoir, "Mom and Me."
Annotation:"Women are not/ roses/ they are not oceans/ or stars./ i would like to tell/ her this but/ i think she/ already knows.” - Ana Castillo
Annotation:“I touch you knowing we weren't born tomorrow, and somehow, each of us will help the other live, and somewhere, each of us must help the other die.” -Adrienne Rich
Annotation:“This is freedom. This is the force of faith. Nobody gets what they want. Never again are you the same. The longing is to be pure. What you get is to be changed.” -Jorie Graham
Annotation:“In Isleta the rainbow was a crack in the universe. We saw the barest of all life that is possible. Bright horses rolled over and over the dusking sky.” -Joy Harjo
Annotation:"Small, red, and upright he waited, gripping his new bookbag tight in one hand and touching a lucky penny inside his coat pocket with the other, while the first snows of winter floated down on his eyelashes and covered the branches around him and silenced all trace of the world.”
Annotation:Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. poet laureate Dove (American Smooth) applies her lyrical dexterity to the "lost story" of violin virtuoso George Polgreen Bridgetower (1780-1860), the son of an African father and Polish-German mother whose skills so moved Beethoven that he composed and dedicated to him the Kreutzer Sonata-a tribute retracted after the two quarreled over a woman's affections. As a biracial musician living in London and Vienna, Bridgetower was isolated, and Dove emphasizes the emotional importance of music to his personal identity, articulating the passion ("the world was not as large as the sound/ I sent to it") and physicality ("feel each crescendo/ as a tree feels the spring sap/ surging") he brought to his art.
Annotation:“i found god in myself/ and i loved her/ i loved her fiercely” -Ntozake Shange. The complete text of a groundbreaking dramatic prose poem written in vivid and powerful language that resonates with unusual beauty in its fierce message to the world.
Annotation:“Why is the word yes so brief? it should be the longest, the hardest, so that you could not decide in an instant to say it, so that upon reflection you could stop in the middle of saying it.” -Vera Pavlova
Annotation:"The library, to me, is the second most sacred physical space on the planet.” Nikky Finney tells it like it is: winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Poetry.
Annotation:The works of this award-winning poet and novelist are rich with the language and influences of two cultures: those of the Dominican Republic of her childhood and the America of her youth and adulthood. They have shaped her writing just as they have shaped her life. In these seventy-five autobiographical poems, Alvarez's clear voice sings out in every line. Here, in the middle of her life, she looks back as a way of understanding and celebrating the woman she has become.
Annotation:“Time never stops, but does it end? and how many lives before take-off, before we find ourselves beyond ourselves, all glam-glow, all twinkle and gold?” -Tracy K. Smith. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
Annotation:“For the path of comets/ is the path of poets: they burn without warming,/ pick without cultivating. They are: an explosion, a breaking in...” Marina Tsvetaeva was born in Moscow in 1892 and died in 1941. Her poetry stands among the greatest works of twentieth century Russian writers.
Annotation:In this wise and intimate telling--which carries us through the seasons when her marriage was ending--Sharon Olds opens her heart to the reader, sharing the feeling of invisibility that comes when we are no longer standing in love's sight; the surprising physical bond that still exists between a couple during parting; the loss of everything from her husband's smile to the set of his hip.
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A sampling of the rich and compelling voices from women in our poetry collection- including publications from poets in translation, Nobel Laureates, spoken word poets, Pulitzer Prize winners, and Poet Laureates of the United States.