Julia Blumenreich

Martha Nell Smith


I think each author's poem(s) gains from the vision of the other writers and editors; it's always curious/provocative to find common threads running through. Though some would argue that it's chance or "fad" which causes many women to investigate language suffocation head-on--breaking the wall into scattered bricks--each a jewel, placed in a poem between other such displacements--for instance the use of out-of-context quoted speech is, I believe, the necessary result of such disruption, not a random act in the least.

--excerpted from a letter to Susan Gevirtz


". . . as Dickinson's lyric strategies have not been seen as empowered poetric practice, portions of a compelling whole, so her lyrics have been seen as fragmented, disjointed, as the products of a poet somehow disabled, unable to mature. But reading each in the context of the corpus of her work makes neither so easily reducible to a poet of little poems. Dickinson's poems were often woven into her letters or into fascicles, the forty manuscript books she left bound and folded in her drawer, and, as in the case of "Safe in their Alabaster Chambers," our interpretation of individual poems is empowered by reading them in the broader context of her other literary productions. In order to make sense of their "nice crystalline stuff," we need to read the productions of these poets not each in isolation, but in their connections to their works as a whole and in their relation to one another."

--excerpted from "Not Each in Isolation," reprinted from the H.D. Newsletter (spring 1988 vol. 2, no. 1 )

go to this issue's table of contents