Carolyn Kizer: Perspectives on Her Life and Work

Coedited with Johanna Keller and Candace McClelland

“Carolyn Kizer was a feminist before the word came into vogue. Her famous poem “Pro Femina” legitimized a new generation of women writers’ attention to the undisclosed fact of their lives . . . The work of the last fifteen years has grown more political, more worldly, while at the same time preserving the candor and tenderness that illuminate such poems as ‘Gerda and Pearl,’ in which she writes from the point of view of the child she was . . . Carolyn’s mind has the broad range of a predator, the vocabulary of a lexicographer, and the rich lyricism of those song writers of the forties whom we both adore.”
—Maxine Kumin

A Carol For Carolyn

It is easy to be a poet, / brim with transparent water”
                                                                    —Carolyn Kizer, ”In the First Stanza”

I dreamed of a poet who gave me a whale
that shadowed clear pools through the kelp-making shade.
When beached sea-foam dried on the rocks, it would sail
down currents that gathered to pool and cascade
with turbulent order.
She brims with transparent water,
as mother and poet and daughter.

The surface is broken and arching and full,
impelled by the passions of nation and woman.
The waves build and fall; the deep currents pull
toward rocky pools cupping the salt of the human.
The ocean she’s authored
brims, with transparent water,
for poet and mother and daughter.

—By Annie Finch. First published in Carolyn Kizer: Perspectives on Her Life and Work

Reviews: 

“This book celebrates a remarkable woman.”
-Maxine Kumin

Table of Contents: 

MAXINE KUMIN
Introduction

ESSAYS, ARTICLES & REVIEWS

HENRY TAYLOR
Passwords at the Boundary:
Carolyn Kizer’s Poetry

CAROL MUSKE
Postscript: Carolyn Kizer, Superkid

ALFRED CORN
The Impact of Character on Character

TERRY EHRET
“Semele Recycled”:
A Sacred Tale of Regeneration

JACK FOLEY
“In Hell with Virg and Dan,” Review of
Harping On by Carolyn Kizer

RUTH SALVAGGIO
Kizer’s Politics: Poetry and Feminism

MARGARET RABB & JACKSON WHEELER
Kizer’s Commandments: Dicta for Student Writers

ROBERT PHILLIPS
Larger Than Life:
Mythology and Carolyn Kizer

ANNIE FINCH
Carolyn Kizer and the Chain of Women

FRED CHAPPELL
A Swift Education

JUDITH JOHNSON
Re/Membering the Goddess
Carolyn Kizer and the Poetics of Generosity

KIM VAETH
The House of Madame K.

DOMINIC CHEUNG
Carolyn Kizer and Her Chinese Imitations

HAYDEN CARRUTH
Afterword

POEMS FOR CAROLYN

MARIE PONSOT
Inviting Carolyn Kizer

ROBERT CREELEY
Bub and Sis

KELLY CHERRY
On Some Qualities in Her Self and Poetry

LUCILLE CLIFTON
Sisters

TERRY STOKES
Because You Are Always There

C.L RAWLINS
Drifting in Montana

CAROL MUSKE
Haiku

AGHA SHAHID ALI
I Dream It Is Afternoon When I Return to Dehli

ANNIE FINCH
A Carol for Carolyn

MAXINE KUMIN
Pantoum, with Swan

INTERVIEWS

MICHELLE BOISSEAU
Intensity and Effect: An Interview with Carolyn Kizer (1997)

WILLIAM HOLLAND
An Interview with Carolyn Kizer (1967)

BARBARA THOMPSON
Carolyn Kizer: The Art of Poetry

Bibliography
Contributors’ notes
About the Editors
Index

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CavanKerry Press, 2000