Impertinent Voices : Subversive Strategies in Contemporary Women’s Poetry

How do women’s poetic voices disrupt cultural forms? What is the relationship between female desire and the structures of poetry? Is ‘writing the body’ essentialist?Originally published in 1991, Impertinent Voices explores these questions in a sensitive and challenging study of female poetic strategies. Looking closely at the intricate and disturbing poetry of some of the twentieth century’s greatest poets – Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, H. D., Audre Lorde – Liz Yorke uses the theories of Irigaray, Cixous and Kristeva to illuminate her own clear and original analyses of the ways in which feminist understandings have been produced within poetic and cultural forms. Although they struggle with a language which has traditionally excluded female sexuality and subjectivity, women poets refuse to be silenced. Their ‘impertinent’ voices break out of the constraining myths of the prevailing culture, precipitating new beginnings and new ways of looking at the world. Detailed close readings of the poems are here matched with a clear theoretical approach, making this both an exciting exploration of new terrain and an excellent introduction to the ways in which, for women writers, theoretical models and creative practice work hand in hand.