Masks: With an Introduction by Marge Piercy

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Best Poetry of 1999-Library Journal

Well known by readers of gay and lesbian fiction for her award-winning short story collections and novels; notorious in the legal profession as the nation's "foremost authority on lesbians and law" (Village Voice), a professor at the City University of New York, a young mother raising a son, Ruthann Robson's breadth of experience is unique among American poets. With seamless use of poetic craft and ironic wit, Robson tackles subjects as ...

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Overview


Best Poetry of 1999-Library Journal

Well known by readers of gay and lesbian fiction for her award-winning short story collections and novels; notorious in the legal profession as the nation's "foremost authority on lesbians and law" (Village Voice), a professor at the City University of New York, a young mother raising a son, Ruthann Robson's breadth of experience is unique among American poets. With seamless use of poetic craft and ironic wit, Robson tackles subjects as political as they are bizarre: the young woman chained to a radiator by her mother to keep her safe from harm; the teenager who gets herself knocked up because it's less dangerous to be an unwed mother than a lesbian. Affecting, terrifying, but always bathed in a clear hard light, these poems introduce a stunning intelligence and a bold new voice in American poetry.

"Ardent, passionate, and exquisitely queer…Robson's sense of playfulness is wonderful …The poems in Masks are startling not only for their quirky, often whimsical, humanity, but also for their imaginative use of form… There is history in this book. Witch burnings. Concentration camps. Poverty. Robson covers terrifying, white hot terrain with unflinching honesty and a poet's heart… She takes the magnifying glass of poetic language and investigates detail by detail every aspect of the female condition."-Lambda Book Report

"Another excellent book of poetry from 1999, Masks reveals how time and the moment of vision drive the poet to turn upon experience and make language out of it. These impressive poems swallow any distance between maker and reader as they pass from the glories of relationships to the price of loss. Some of Robson's best work is poems about famous women such as Frida Kahlo, Alice B. Toklas, Diane Arbus and Isadora Duncan. This is a truly marvelous collection that haunts the reader and never diminishes the art of the poem."-Bloomsbury Review

"Robson gives you more than you bargained for...Her first collection of poetry is terse yet throbbing, filled with the raw, aggressive energy of someone who can't be bothered with niceties...there is definite craft here: these lines aren't just thrown out but clearly thought and ret

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Editorial Reviews

Jennifer Sperry
Throughout Masks, Robson's voice is both strong and flexible, working in short-lined verse as well as longer-lined verse and prose poetry&#151the language at times round, fertile and forgiving and at other times coolly introverted.... Recommended to mature readers who have an interest in women's studies, Masks is a richly rewarding collection of poetry.
ForeWord Magazine
Library Journal
As with Campo, Robson gives you more than you bargained for; aside from having published four books of fiction, five books of nonfiction, and countless poems in all the major journals, she has also published numerous articles in legal journals. (A professor at CUNY's School of Law, she is an expert on lesbian rights issues.) Her first collection of poetry is terse yet throbbing, filled with the raw, aggressive energy of someone who can't be bothered with niceties: "No one needs to tell me/ this is forbidden." But there is definite craft here; these lines aren't just thrown out but clearly thought and rethought: "you spend your days modelling/ mask after mask," says Robson, who must spend her days modelling poem after poem. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780965457859
  • Publisher: Leapfrog Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/1999
  • Pages: 145
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
Genealogy 3
neolithic 7
the fifth month 23
the consort 25
the freeing of the hands 28
totem pole 32
White and Black Photography 39
Kathe Kollwitz, Graphic Artist, Sketches A German Working-Class Woman 46
Regine's Rebuke to Kierkegaard 48
Mary Cassatt, After Destroying the Letters of Edgar Degas 50
The Animus of Diane Arbus, the Photographer 52
Edith Lewis Comforts Willa Cather as They Spend a Night Lost in the Mesa Verde Canyons of Colorado 53
Another Version of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas 54
Isadora Duncan Swims in the Sea at Sunrise A Month After Her Children Drowned in the Seine 55
Romaine Brooks Names Herself Lapide 56
Self-Portrait of Frida Kahlo Without a Moustache 58
Witchcraft in the Nuclear Age: thirteen accounts 63
waves, night 70
a child's garden of verses 73
chain-links (in three voices) 75
not for my mother & father 79
each winter 82
departure 84
time, place, desire 86
the ledge 89
aesthetics 92
the last decade of patriarchy 93
text 101
Nightshade 107
historicity 116
authenticity 129
Notes 133
About the Author 135
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