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All-American Girl

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Overview


Winner of the 1996 Lambda Book Award for Lesbian Poetry.

“With poignancy, honesty, and grace, Becker contends with the messy implications of her lesbian sexuality, Jewish identity, and sister's suicide. . . . Becker is acutely aware of, and devastated by, her many losses, but emerges defiant and admirably without regret or shame.”

—Boston Review

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All American Girl

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Overview


Winner of the 1996 Lambda Book Award for Lesbian Poetry.

“With poignancy, honesty, and grace, Becker contends with the messy implications of her lesbian sexuality, Jewish identity, and sister's suicide. . . . Becker is acutely aware of, and devastated by, her many losses, but emerges defiant and admirably without regret or shame.”

—Boston Review

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“It is Becker's undefendedness that makes this collection so strong and appealing. Whether acknowledging childhood privilege . . . or admitting her part in creating her own destiny . . . Becker's direct, fluidly accessible lyric narratives move assuredly through even the most complex emotional terrain, living with the questions, letting us know that we are with a speaker we can trust.”
--Women's Review of Books

“With poignancy, honesty, and grace, Becker contends with the messy implications of her lesbian sexuality, Jewish identity, and sister's suicide. . . . Becker is acutely aware of, and devastated by, her many losses, but emerges defiant and admirably without regret or shame.”

—Boston Review

“Gathered at the edge of each poem in Robin Becker's fourth collection, palpable and terrible, wait the forces of chaos. Love affairs end, families dissolve, the kingdoms of childhood are lost. All-American Girl, despite it insouciant title, is a sad book recounting a life fully adult and aware of human limits.  As a lesbian and a Jew, Becker claims a history of expulsion and isolation. What is astonishing in these poems is how the author uses irony and humor-abundant in imagery as well as tone-to define rather than distance herself from such knowledge.”

--Ploughshares

“Robin Becker’s poetry is wise with the consolations and disconsolations of experience.  At once poignant, sinewy, and honest, these lyric narratives take exile to heart and to task.  The poet-speaker is unsparing in her self-appraisals, and this fine toughmindedness gives the work its gutsiness and edge. All-American Girl is a book of frontiers, in every sense.”

—Alice Fulton

“Robin Becker’s poems in her Lambda Book Award winner, rove ther terrain of loss and grief: the streets of childhood in Philadelphia where she courts other women against the backdrop of our country’s Founding Fathers; the arid deserts of the Soutwest where she examines her childless, often partnerless existence; and the romatic tapestry of Italy where she struggles as an outsider to make a life with other women work comfortably on her terms.”

—Prairie Schooner

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her third collection, Becker Giacometti's Dog presents a washed out, chiaroscuro portrait of the lonely woman, whose lover "...is beautiful and/ sees beauty where I see sadness..." Readers, too, may search for moments of beauty, but Becker holds them at bay. These poems focus on the lesbian trying to fake it in a heterosexual milieu, the suicide's sister, the traveler hoping to fit in somewherefrom the 1950s Philadelphia of her childhood, Italy, France, New Mexico, Wyoming. Ultimately, this volume is more about leaving than loving; the speaker of the final poem considers "how my life has been a flight/ from family, and how I've arrived/ at middle age without one." The poems are intense, and a few "Port-Au-Prince, 1960" and "The Ribbon" are stirring, but too many focus on similar events from similar emotional perspectives, leaving readers ultimately unmoved. Jan.
Booknews
For laryngologists and pathologists, this monograph considers epithelial hyperplastic lesions of the larynx with or without atypia irrespective of their gross appearance and etiology. It includes not only intraepithelial lesions per se, but also the ones with predominant involvement of the subepithelial stroma and secondary changes of the covering epithelium. The Kambic-Lenart classification of epithelial changes is used for histologic evaluation of abnormalities on the surface epithelium. Amply illustrated in color and b&w. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822955801
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1996
  • Series: Pitt Poetry Series
  • Pages: 69
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Robin Becker, professor of English and women’s studies at The Pennsylvania State University, is the author of six collections of poetry, including The Horse Fair, All-American Girl, and Giacometti’s Dog. In 2002, the Frick Art and Historical Center in Pittsburgh published Venetian Blue, a limited-edition chapbook of Becker’s art poems. Becker is the recipient of individual fellowships from the Bunting Institute, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2000, she won the George W. Atherton III Award for Excellence in Teaching from Penn State. For the Women's Review of Books, Becker writes a column on poetry called “Field Notes” and serves as poetry editor.
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Table of Contents

Shopping 3
The Crypto-Jews 5
My Grandmother's Crystal Ball 6
The Mystery, Then the Facts 7
Santo Domingo Feast Day 9
The Elimination of First Thoughts 10
A History of Sexual Preference 11
The Star Show 13
Solar 16
Brisk Autumn and the Querulous Trees 18
We Thought of Each Other as Food 19
Port-au-Prince, 1960 20
Quaker Meeting, the Sixties 22
Villanelle for a Lesbian Mom 24
In Pietrasanta 25
Haircut on Via di Mezzo 27
Family Romance 29
Peter Pan in North America 31
Spiritual Morning 33
Opals 34
Too Jewish 35
Telling Them Apart 36
Risk 37
Contradancing in Nelson, N.H. 38
The Woman Question 41
When Someone Dies Young 43
Bicycle Days 44
The Ribbon 47
Hold Back 48
Midnight Swim 50
Dreaming at the Rexall Drug 51
Meeting the Gaze of the Great Horned Owl 53
From Taos to Santa Fe 55
The New Year 58
Yom Kippur, Taos, New Mexico 59
Kindness 61
Death of the Owl 62
The Roast Chicken 64
Notes 67
Acknowledgments 69
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