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A book of women poets from antiquity to now [Unknown Binding]

Aliki Barnstone
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 612 pages
  • Publisher: Schocken (1987)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0007BPQH4
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
Enheduanna (born ca. 2300 B.C.). Enheduanna was a moon priestess, the daughter of King Sargon of Argade (2334-2279 B.C.) who reigned over the world's first empire, extending from the Mediterranean to Persia. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Resource! 20 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is my all-time favorite anthology; I give it as a gift whenever I can. I like the idea of presenting voices that have not always gotten the attention they deserve, but even more than that I am amazed at the the sheer range of genius. There's hardly a dud in here.
I particularly love the translation of Marina Tsveteyeva's "Poem of the End." The punctuation so accurately reflects the language and tone. I once saw another translation in one of those "Best Loved Poems of Insipid People" anthologies that was painfully stupid. I wish I could read the Russian original....
Anyway, I can't think of a better resource to introduce you to a wide range of poets you might not otherwise have access to.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Celebration of Life and Women's Wisdom 4 Mar 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I read it ... cover to cover ... a little at a time, over a month perhaps. Poetry suddenly took on another dimension for me. I selected this book because I've read a lot of poetry, and never really had a sense of the unique contribution of women to poetry. After reading this book, I could see that women had contributed entirely new ways to write about their experiences, and very little of it had ever found it's way into the traditional anthologies, such as "Norton's". If you are interested in poetry, this book is really a treasure. If you are a woman, perhaps this book will speak directly to your heart. For me, as a man, this book simply opened up again the amazing diversity of life. I'm truly thankful to Aliki and Willis Barnstone for creating this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent anthology 26 Feb 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Okay, I'll admit that I am not the most educated when it comes to poetry, in spite of my english major. This anthology caught my eye because it spans the history of the written word, as evidenced by the title, and because it focuses on women poets. There are some fantastic poems in here, and it's actually made me appreciate a medium I had little patience with. The editors took on a gargantuan task, and I only wish that there had been a little more room for a greater number of modern poets from other countries. A great resource.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great collection 6 Dec 2005
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Format:Hardcover
I fell in love with this book when I lived for a time in the Barnstone 'barn' in Bloomington, Indiana, for a term in the early 1980s. I met both Aliki Barnstone, the editor of this text, as well as her father Willis Barnstone, a poet and scholar in his own right. Aliki Barnstone was a published poet as early as the age of nine. This was almost a guarantee for a lifelong love of poetry and literature, which comes through in this collection.
The collection begins in the very beginnings of written literature, with pieces from Sumerian, Akkadian, Egyptian, ancient Hebrew and Aramean literature. It is rare enough for works from these time periods to have any author ascribed at all, and doubly rare for women to be credited as authors, so this represents an important collection. Barnstone also includes some ancient poems from Asian languages such as Chinese later in the collection.
The organisation is not strictly by chronology, but does follow a more-or-less chronological progression both in terms of the overall languages (Sumerian as a language preceded the Latinate languages, which preceded the English language, and so forth), and the primarily chronological listing within the language groups. Thus, one gets modern Hebrew poets in the book prior to the listing of ancient Greek poets such as Sappho and Praxilla.
Some of these more ancient pieces could be questioned editorially the Song of Deborah (from the biblical book of Judges) and the Magnificat (from the gospel of Luke) are included because they represent women's voices, but may not be originally women's compositions as literary texts.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great collection 6 Dec 2005
By FrKurt Messick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I fell in love with this book when I lived for a time in the Barnstone 'barn' in Bloomington, Indiana, for a term in the early 1980s. I met both Aliki Barnstone, the editor of this text, as well as her father Willis Barnstone, a poet and scholar in his own right. Aliki Barnstone was a published poet as early as the age of nine. This was almost a guarantee for a lifelong love of poetry and literature, which comes through in this collection.

The collection begins in the very beginnings of written literature, with pieces from Sumerian, Akkadian, Egyptian, ancient Hebrew and Aramean literature. It is rare enough for works from these time periods to have any author ascribed at all, and doubly rare for women to be credited as authors, so this represents an important collection. Barnstone also includes some ancient poems from Asian languages such as Chinese later in the collection.

The organisation is not strictly by chronology, but does follow a more-or-less chronological progression both in terms of the overall languages (Sumerian as a language preceded the Latinate languages, which preceded the English language, and so forth), and the primarily chronological listing within the language groups. Thus, one gets modern Hebrew poets in the book prior to the listing of ancient Greek poets such as Sappho and Praxilla.

Some of these more ancient pieces could be questioned editorially - the Song of Deborah (from the biblical book of Judges) and the Magnificat (from the gospel of Luke) are included because they represent women's voices, but may not be originally women's compositions as literary texts. The more modern the language or composition, the more likely it is to have an identifiable author, so one cannot fault Barnstone for striving for inclusivity to this extent.

Not only does this represent one of the best anthologies of women's poetry overall, it also represents a grand collection for many of the subsections, such as the African languages, Chinese, and international French and Spanish. Barnstone's brief commentaries throughout are accessible and useful, introducing context and biographical information to help place the literary features and meaning-ful elements in such a way that readers will more easily identify with the poetry.

This is a great collection.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Celebration of Life and Women's Wisdom 4 Mar 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I read it ... cover to cover ... a little at a time, over a month perhaps. Poetry suddenly took on another dimension for me. I selected this book because I've read a lot of poetry, and never really had a sense of the unique contribution of women to poetry. After reading this book, I could see that women had contributed entirely new ways to write about their experiences, and very little of it had ever found it's way into the traditional anthologies, such as "Norton's". If you are interested in poetry, this book is really a treasure. If you are a woman, perhaps this book will speak directly to your heart. For me, as a man, this book simply opened up again the amazing diversity of life. I'm truly thankful to Aliki and Willis Barnstone for creating this book.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what a find! 31 Mar 2000
By "gabecca" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is one of my favorite poetry anthologies because it covers such a wide expanse of time and includes women's voices from all over the world. This anthology has introduced me to so many women poets that I otherwise never would have met. It is incredible to realize that women have ALWAYS and everywhere been writing, and I am always inspired by the tradition of my mothers when I read this book. As Sappho said, "Someone, I tell you/ will remember us."
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent anthology 26 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Okay, I'll admit that I am not the most educated when it comes to poetry, in spite of my english major. This anthology caught my eye because it spans the history of the written word, as evidenced by the title, and because it focuses on women poets. There are some fantastic poems in here, and it's actually made me appreciate a medium I had little patience with. The editors took on a gargantuan task, and I only wish that there had been a little more room for a greater number of modern poets from other countries. A great resource.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Resource! 20 Aug 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is my all-time favorite anthology; I give it as a gift whenever I can. I like the idea of presenting voices that have not always gotten the attention they deserve, but even more than that I am amazed at the the sheer range of genius. There's hardly a dud in here.
I particularly love the translation of Marina Tsveteyeva's "Poem of the End." The punctuation so accurately reflects the language and tone. I once saw another translation in one of those "Best Loved Poems of Insipid People" anthologies that was painfully stupid. I wish I could read the Russian original....
Anyway, I can't think of a better resource to introduce you to a wide range of poets you might not otherwise have access to.
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