To an Unknown Poet Criticism

Carolyn Kizer
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"To an Unknown Poet" is included in Kizer's The Nearness of You, published in 1986 as a companion volume to her 1984 collection, Mermaids in the Basement. Whereas Mermaids consists of poems for women, Nearness consists of poems for men, and includes many poems from earlier volumes, including poems written or dedicated to other poets and writers, such as Robert Creeley, Bernard Malamud, Theodore Roethke, and James Wright. The book is separated into four sections, "Manhood," "Passions," "Father," and "Friends," and Kizer's address in this volume is more direct, her voice more personal, her style less formal. Reviewers gave the book a lukewarm reception. Anthony Libby, writing for the New York Times Book Review, asserts, "Despite many local triumphs, the new collection is in many ways less striking, technically and psychologically more self-conscious [than Mermaids in the Basement ]." Diane Wakoski, however, praises the risks Kizer takes in this collection, in her review...

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This section contains 251 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the To an Unknown Poet Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
To an Unknown Poet from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.