Women Poets on Mentorship:
Efforts and Affections
co-edited with Arielle Greenberg
(University of Iowa Press, April 2008)
Imagine being a young poet, nurturing your craft without the benefit of established mentors. Imagine having never been in a class taught by a woman poet or not having a bookshelf filled with books written by living women poets. Luckily, young women poets today don’t have to. Arielle Greenberg and Rachel Zucker’s Women Poets on Mentorship: Efforts and Affections collects both personal essays and representative poems by women born after 1960 whose careers were influenced-directly or indirectly-by the women who preceded them.
The poets in this collection describe a new kind of influence, one less hierarchical, less patriarchal, and less anxious than forms of mentorship in the past. Vivid and intelligent, these twenty-four essays explore the complicated nature of the mentoring relationship, with all its joys and difficulties, and show how this new sense of writing out of female experience and within a community of writers has fundamentally changed women’s poetry.
“I know of no other book like this one. It sheds light not on one woman poet or one facet of ‘women’s poetry,’ but on the many ways the poetic tradition is handed down from one writer to another. The multiplicity of voices in this book along with the wide variety of aesthetics and backgrounds of the contributors make it unique in the field. It is a significant and needed contribution.”
–Kevin Prufer, editor, Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing
“Much has been written by and about women poets and women’s poetry, but this is the first that addresses the topic of mentorship in a way that expands what we mean by ‘tradition.’ No other book looks at the question of how tradition moves from one generation to the next, from the younger generation’s point of view. My own poetry students have talked about the need for exactly such a book. Women Poets on Mentorship will be important to today’s (and tomorrow’s) poetry community, as well as to women’s studies.”
– Alicia Ostriker, author of Writing Like a Woman and Stealing the Language: The Emergence of Women’s Poetry in America