In this unusual and insightful collection, fourteen full-length literary interviews with innovative female poets of the last forty years, enhanced with a selection of their poems and prefaced by short introductions, present a wide and accessible range of forms, schools, politics, and conversations. By giving us each poet’s own voice in a medium other than poetry, the interviews provide important cultural and historical contexts that help define notions of innovation and contribute to a fuller understanding of these experimental poems.

Poets and literary scholars Elisabeth Frost and Cynthia Hogue selected writers with particular attention to diversity in terms of ethnicity, philosophical concerns, and aesthetic movements, including the New York School, the Black Arts Movement, and language writing. By bringing together poets not usually considered in the same critical context, the editors clarify the ways in which these innovative women have affected ideas of poetry and poetic practice.

The engaging interviews (whose questions are often as interesting and informed as the responses), introductory texts, and selected poems allow readers to forge productive connections among the most important voices of late twentieth-century American poetry.

“Readers interested in women’s writing, innovative writing, and American poetry in general will find this collection useful and informative—perhaps indispensable. The poets gathered here are among the most important voices in late twentieth-century poetry in the U.S., and the anthology offers an excellent introduction to their work. But even readers already familiar with these poets will find new insights, new connections, new ways of thinking about their challenging and diverse poetics. Innovative Women Poets is likely to become a staple in personal and academic libraries as well as university course syllabi.”—Megan Simpson, author, Poetic Epistemologies: Gender and Knowing in Women’s Language-Oriented Writing
“This critical anthology of poetry by and interviews with contemporary women poets represents an important step in charting a history of women’s poetry in America. Particularly in bringing together a collection of interviews with women poets who have made distinct, but often unrecognized, contributions to contemporary innovative poetry, this collection promises to fill a number of gaps.”—Linda A. Kinnahan, author, Lyric Interventions: Feminism, Experimental Poetry, and Contemporary Discourse


Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa


An Interview with Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa by AnaLouise Keating

Cihuatlyotl, Woman Alone

Del otro lado

Don’t Given In, Chicanita


Poets Have Strange Eating Habits


Mei-mei Berssenbrugge


Two Conversations with Mei-mei Berssenbrugge by Laura Hinton

Chinese Space


I Love Morning



Jayne Cortez


An Interview with Jayne Cortez by Sascha Feinstein

So Many Feathers

If the Drum Is a Woman

Lynch Fragment


About Flyin’ Home

States of Motion

Bumblebee, You Saw Big Mama


Rachel Blau DuPlessis


An Interview with Rachel Blau DuPlessis by Jeanne Heuving

from Crowbar

from Writing

Draft 27: Athwart

from Draft 52: Midrash


Alice Fulton


An Interview with Alice Fulton by Cristanne Miller

= =

Fuzzy Feelings

from Give: A Sequence Reimagining Daphne & Apollo

The Permeable Past Tense of Feel


Susan Howe


An Interview with Susan Howe by Lynn Keller

from The Nonconformist’s Memorial


Harryette Mullen


An Interview with Harryette Mullen by Elisabeth A. Frost

from Trimmings

from S*PeRM**K*T

from Muse & Drudge

All She Wrote

Bilingual Instructions

Black Nikes

Zen Acorn


Alice Notley


An Interview with Alice Notley by Claudia Keelan

from Désamère


Alicia Ostriker


An Interview with Alicia Ostriker by Cynthia Hogue

The Eighth and Thirteenth

About Time

from The Volcano and the Covenant


Sonia Sanchez


An Interview with Sonia Sanchez by Sascha Feinstein



Sister’s Voice (Read to “Round Midnight”)

A Poem for Ella Fitzgerald


Leslie Scalapino


An Interview with Leslie Scalapino by Elisabeth A. Frost

as -- leg

Crowd and not evening or light


C. D. Wright


An Interview with C. D. Wright by Sarah Vap and Charles Jensen

from Deepstep Come Shining


Barbara Guest and Kathleen Fraser


An Interview with Barbara Guest and Kathleen Fraser by Elisabeth A. Frost and Cynthia Hogue

Parachutes, My Love, Could Carry Us Higher

An Emphasis Falls on Reality

The Rose Marble Table

Spirit Tree




from “Türler Losses”

Norchia from Etruscan Pages

from “Wing”



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