Elizabeth Dodd

The Veiled Mirror
and the Woman Poet

box"Dodd's thorough readings of the poetry contribute significantly to ongoing conversations about how 'gender-identified emotion' affects the production and reception of women. Her emphasis on personal classicism contributes a vocabulary to explain how female poets rename rather than retreat from cultural conditions that would seek to mute them.... Moving from impersonal modernism to he honesty of the confessionals and beyond, Dodd's careful close readings—as both a poet and a critic—illustrate that the task for the twentieth-century woman writer continues to be 'not merely to look back at an existing body of work and see it anew, but to look inward and envision a path for her own potential.' — Tony Trigilio, Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature

In The Veiled Mirror and the Woman Poet, Elizabeth Dodd explores the lives and work of four women poets of the twentieth century—H. D., Louise Bogan, Elizabeth Bishop, and Louise Gluck. Dodd argues that sexist and male-dominated cultural forces in their personal and professional lives challenged these women to find a unique mode of expression in their poetry, a practice Dodd defines as personal classicism. Dodd uses the term personal classicism to examine modern and contemporary poetry that appears torn between two major modes of poetic sensibility, the Romantic and the Classical. While the four poets she addresses exhibit a poetic sensibility that is primarily Romantic—valuing Wordsworth's "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings"; adopting a natural, spoken tone; and relying on personal subject matter—they have nonetheless employed masking and controlling strategies that are more nearly Classical.


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