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Flawed Light: American Women Poets and Alcohol

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The relationship between alcoholism and the poetic process has been well established, but the history of heavy-drinking poets in the twentieth century tilts disproportionately toward male writers such as John Berryman, Robert Lowell, or Theodore Roethke. Women poets, however, were just as susceptible to alcohol, and they very often wrote about its effects on their bodies, minds, and lives. In this study, Brett C. Millier looks at the role of drinking in the lives and poetry of American women poets in the first half of the twentieth century. Millier reads the poems of Dorothy Parker, Louise Bogan, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Elinor Wylie, L\u00e9onie Adams, Isabella Gardner, and Elizabeth Bishop--and in counterpoint, the poems of Jean Garrigue--to see how they negotiated their alcoholism with their art.







Despite the shame and isolation these writers suffered as a result of their heavy drinking and despite the oppressive restrictions on subject matter placed on women poets by the critical establishment in this era, these female poets nevertheless wrote about alcohol. Millier looks at figures for alcohol and inebri Please click here to ask a question
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