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In this evocative exploration, Cheryl Walker shows that there is adistinct tradition of women's poetry in America -- one that the poets themselveshave not always been fully aware of -- and that individual poems can be read asmanifestations of that tradition. Philomela, the nightingale of literary mythology, serves as a model for women poets, representing simultaneously both their particularforms of power and the frustrating powerlessness imposed on them by the culturalnorms for women. The author identifies a number of archetypal motifs: the powerfantasy, the sanctuary poem, the renunciation poem, the forbidden lover poem, the"burden of beauty," and the "secret sorrow." Among the poets discussed are AnneBradstreet, Phillis Wheatley, Lydia Sigourney, Frances Osgood, Julia Ward Howe, Margaret Fuller, Ella Wheeler Wilcox, and Louise Guiney.
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