1st Edition

Impertinent Voices Subversive Strategies in Contemporary Women's Poetry

By Liz Yorke Copyright 1991
    252 Pages
    by Routledge

    252 Pages
    by Routledge

    How do women’s poetic voices disrupt cultural forms? What is the relationship between female desire and the structures of poetry? Is ‘writing the body’ essentialist?

    Originally published in 1991, Impertinent Voices explores these questions in a sensitive and challenging study of female poetic strategies.

    Looking closely at the intricate and disturbing poetry of some of the twentieth century’s greatest poets – Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, H. D., Audre Lorde – Liz Yorke uses the theories of Irigaray, Cixous and Kristeva to illuminate her own clear and original analyses of the ways in which feminist understandings have been produced within poetic and cultural forms.

    Although they struggle with a language which has traditionally excluded female sexuality and subjectivity, women poets refuse to be silenced. Their ‘impertinent’ voices break out of the constraining myths of the prevailing culture, precipitating new beginnings and new ways of looking at the world. Detailed close readings of the poems are here matched with a clear theoretical approach, making this both an exciting exploration of new terrain and an excellent introduction to the ways in which, for women writers, theoretical models and creative practice work hand in hand.

    Acknowledgements, Introduction: The Re-visionary Task, Part I: Rethinking Womankind, 1. A Song Out of Silence, 2. The Poet as Witness: Im/pertinence, Fidelity, Respect, 3. Unsettling Rational Violence: Susan Griffin’s Holistic ‘Knowing’, Part II: Constructing Myths of the Self, 4. Identity and Crisis: Sylvia Plath’s Quest for Integrity, 5. ‘What Girl Ever Flourished in Such Company?’, 6. Seductive Scenarios: Fighting Back, 7. Re-Creating ‘My Own Legend’: H. D.’s Helen in Egypt, Part III: Writing the Body: Desire and the M/Other-text, 8. On the Need To Go To the Sources, 9. Mother, Daughter, Sister, Lover: Adrienne Rich’s Dream of a Whole New Poetry, Part IV: Primary Intensities: Lesbian Poetry and the Reading of Difference, 10. Validating the Lesbian Body, 11. ‘Within the Fold of Purple: ‘H. D.’s Argument with Freud, 12. ‘God Claps and Claps/Her One Hand’, Conclusion, Notes, Select Bibliography, Index


    Liz Yorke