The Little Space: Poems Selected and New, 1968-1998 (Pitt Poetry Series)


In this selection of poems from thirty years of a distinguished writing career, we see the growth of a poet?s mind, heart, and spirit as Ostriker struggles to love ?this wounded / World that we cannot heal, that is our bride.? Whether she probes the meaning of childhood, family, marriage, and motherhood, or art, history, politics, and God; whether she is celebrating sexuality or confronting mortality, the poet includes ?whatever I can grasp of human experience within my art?the good and beautiful, the evil and ...
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The Little Space: Poems Selected and New, 1968-1998

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In this selection of poems from thirty years of a distinguished writing career, we see the growth of a poet’s mind, heart, and spirit as Ostriker struggles to love “this wounded / World that we cannot heal, that is our bride.” Whether she probes the meaning of childhood, family, marriage, and motherhood, or art, history, politics, and God; whether she is celebrating sexuality or confronting mortality, the poet includes “whatever I can grasp of human experience within my art—the good and beautiful, the evil and chaotic. I tell my students that they must write what they are afraid to write; and I attempt to do so myself.”
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Ostriker is among America’s leading poet-critics . . . An academic with a comprehensive command of the male canon, Ostriker challenged it early in her career; and whatever her misgivings about being labeled an intellectual, she is justifiably stuck with that title. It’s not so terrible to be an intellectual if you’re also a visionary, and now that Ginsberg is gone, Ostriker is contemporary poetry’s most Blakean figure. Like Blake, her vision of how things might be is grounded in anatomy of how things are. Ostriker is in love with a wounded world and wants us to heal it with the force of human imagination, compassion, and love. And she thinks we actually could. Two hundred pages seems, well, too little a space for a poet this large. . . . If the poet is afraid of loss, separation, betrayal, death, violence from without and within--and she is--she is fearless about her fear."
--Women's Review of Books

The Little Space provides an excellent introduction to the work of American’s most fiercely honest poet. Alicia Suskin Ostriker is a political poet in the best sense. She is not afraid to names names or state her opinions, but her poems could nver be seen as political essays in verse. . . . Ostriker puts the reader to work, and she blenches at nothing that experience offers up.”

—The Progressive

“Openness and transparency mark this lively and moving collection by award-winning poet and feminist literary critic Ostriker. . . . Highly recommended.”

—Library Journal

“Ostriker’s emotional range is wide and intensely felt. She gives voice to the extreme edges.”

—World Literature Today

World Literature Today
Among the finest American poets.
Diana Hume George
[Ostriker] asks for an answer that she does not expect, because that answer would take the form of global transformation.
The Women's Review of Books
World Literature Today
Among the finest American poets.
Joel Brouwer
Ostriker puts the reader to work....[She] has an amazing knack for describing those bewildering moments when our assumptions crash to pieces against actual experience....The Little Space provides an excellent introductin to the work of America's most fiercely honest poet.
The Progressive
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822956808
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1998
  • Series: Pitt Poetry Series
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Alicia Suskin Ostriker is one of America’s premier visionary poets and critics.  She is the author of fourteen poetry collections, including The Book of Seventy; The Mother/Child Papers; No Heaven; the volcano sequence; as well as several books on the Bible.  She has received the Paterson Poetry Prize, the William Carlos Williams Award, the San Francisco State Poetry Center Award, the National Jewish Book Award, and has twice been a finalist for the National Book Award. Ostriker is Professor Emerita of English at Rutgers University and teaches in the low-residency MFA program of Drew University.
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Table of Contents

The Anniversary 3
Excerpts from Once More Out of Darkness 4
Wrinkly Lady Dancer 8
Becky and Benny in Far Rockaway 11
Sonnet. To Tell the Truth 12
Annie, Aphrodite, and the Elevator 13
Portraite de l'Artiste 15
Portrait of a Man 16
The Fool Stands Up to Teach King Lear Again 17
Cambodia 21
Excerpts from "Mother/Child" 26
Mother/Child: Coda 36
Excerpt from "Propaganda Poem: Maybe for Some Young Mamas" 38
The Leaf Pile 39
The Change 41
In the Dust 43
His Speed and Strength 44
The Waiting Room 47
After the Shipwreck 49
The Crazy Lady Speaking 50
The Exchange 51
The History of America 52
Dream: The Disclosure 53
Homecoming 54
The Impulse of Singing 56
Excerpt from "Message from the Sleeper at Hell's Mouth" 57
The Runner 59
A Minor Van Gogh (He Speaks) 61
Waterlilies and Japanese Bridge 62
The Singing School 64
Cows 67
Horses 69
Staring at the Pacific, and Swimming in It 71
Three Men Walking, Three Brown Silhouettes 73
Mother in Airport Parking Lot 75
The Marriage Nocturne 77
Surviving 79
Meeting the Dead 86
Listen 88
A Question of Time 90
Years 92
I Brood About Some Concepts, for Example 93
Taking the Shuttle with Franz 95
Everywoman Her Own Theology 97
Poem Beginning with a Line by Fitzgerald/Hemingway 99
The War of Men and Women 103
A Clearing by a Stream 111
Letting the Doves Out 113
Fifty 117
A Young Woman, a Tree 119
Helium 122
George in Hospital 123
Excerpts from "A Birthday Suite" 124
Stream 128
The Pure Products of America 130
Windshield 132
The Bride 133
The Death Ghazals 136
A Meditation in Seven Days 141
Excerpts from "Homage to Rumi" 152
To Love Is 157
Move 159
The Dogs at Live Oak Beach, Santa Cruz 163
Boil 164
Marie at Tea 166
Migrant 169
Globule 170
Nude Descending 172
The Studio (Homage to Alice Neel) 174
Appearance and Reality 175
The Boys, the Broomhandle, the Retarded Girl 177
The Eighth and Thirteenth 178
Saturday Night 181
The Book of Life 183
Middle-Aged Woman at a Pond 191
The Nature of Beauty 192
The Class 194
Locker Room Conversation 196
Jonah's Gourd Vine 198
Still Life: A Glassful of Zinnias on My Daughter's Kitchen Table 199
Excerpts from "The Mastectomy Poems" 202
April One 217
From the Prado Rotunda: The Family of Charles IV, and Others 220
A Chinese Fan Painting 222
O'Keeffe 223
Anselm Kiefer 224
Holocaust 225
Diaspora 227
Millennial Polka 228
About Time 229
Acknowledgments 231
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