Diane Wakoski

b. 1937
Diane Wakoski

Diane Wakoski, described as an "important and moving poet" by Paul Zweig in the New York Times Book Review, is frequently named among the foremost contemporary American poets by virtue of her experiential vision and her unique voice. Wakoski's poems focus on intensely personal experiences—on her unhappy childhood, on the painful relationships she has had with men and, perhaps most frequently, on the subject of being Diane Wakoski. This is not to say, however, that her work is explicitly autobiographical. She has invented and incorporated personae from mythology and archetype as a liberation from what she has called the "obsessive muse," that spurs writers to face their personal terrors and turn them into art.

Occasionally some critics have found Wakoski's thematic concerns difficult to appreciate, especially the recurring "anti-male rage" theme noted by Peter Schjeldahl in the New York Times Book Review. Wakoski's poems, according to Schjeldahl, "are professionally supple and clear . . . but their pervasive unpleasantness makes her popularity rather surprising. One can only conclude that a number of people are angry enough at life to enjoy the sentimental and desolating resentment with which she writes about it."

Many other critics, however, believed that it is through this very rage and resentment that Wakoski makes a significant statement in her work. James F. Mersmann, for example, commented in Margins that Wakoski's poetry "gives us a moving vision of the terrible last stages of a disintegrating personality and a disintegrating society, and it painfully embodies the schizophrenia, alienation, and lovelessness of our time." Douglas Blazek concluded in Poetry that Wakoski's poems have the "substance necessary to qualify them notches above the works of creative 'geniuses,' 'stylists,' and 'cultural avatars' who have little to say."

The stylistic and structural aspects of Wakoski's poetry are as unique as her poetic statement. Often described as prosy, her poems are usually written in the first person. Rosellen Brown wrote in Parnassus that Wakoski "is a marvelously abundant woman" who sounds in her poetry "like some friend of yours who's flung herself down in your kitchen to tell you something urgent and makes you laugh and respect her good old-fashioned guts at the same time."

"Diane's style of writing," said David Ignatow in Margins, "reminds me of the baroque style of dress . . . the huge flounces, furbelows, puffed sleeves, trailing skirts, tight waist, heaving bosoms and stylishly protruding buttocks, all carried off with great elegance of movement and poise." In Mediterranean Review, critic Robert DeMaria found that, "stylistically, [Wakoski] has a marvelous and distinctive voice. It lingers in one's mind after one has read her. . . . Her timing is excellent, so excellent that she can convert prose into poetry at times. And most of what she writes is really prose, only slightly transformed, not only because of its arrangement on the page, but because of this music she injects into it."

While the structure of Wakoski's poems appears to be informal and casually built, her artistic control is tight. As Hayden Carruth suggested in the Hudson Review, "Wakoski has a way of beginning her poems with the most unpromising materials imaginable, then carrying them on, often on and on and on, talkily, until at the end they come into surprising focus, unified works. With her it is a question of thematic and imagistic control; I think her poems are deeply, rather than verbally, structured." In Contemporary Literature, Marjorie G. Perloff spoke of Wakoski's purpose in writing nontraditionally structured poems, saying that Wakoski "strives for a voice that is wholly natural, spontaneous, and direct. Accordingly, she avoids all fixed forms, definite rhythms, or organized image patterns in the drive to tell us the Whole Truth about herself, to be sincere."

"Although Wakoski's poems are not traditional structures," said Debra Hulbert in Prairie Schooner, "she builds them solidly with words which feel chosen, with repetition of images throughout a poem." This repetition, an element that critics mention often, makes its own statement apart from the individual themes of the poems. "Repetition," remarked Gloria Bowles in Margins, "has become Wakoski's basic stylistic mode. And since form is an extension of content (et vice versa) Wakoski's poetic themes have become obsessive. Repetition is a formal fact of her poetry and, so she suggests, the basic structure of our lives."

Wakoski's poems often rely on digressions, on tangential wanderings through imagery and fantasy, to present ideas and themes. Blazek observed that "many of her poems sound as if they're constantly in trouble, falling into triteness, clumsiness, or indirection. She is constantly jumping into deep water to save a drowning stanza or into burning buildings to recover disintegrating meaning, always managing to pull these rescues off, sometimes with what appears to be a superhuman determination, drawing gasps from witnesses who never lose that initial impression of disaster." But, he said, these "imaginative excursions and side-journeys (she can get strung-out in just about any poem over a page long) are well-founded in her life—they're not just facile language cyclone-spinning itself to naught. They are doors into her psyche."

Toby Olson, writing in Margins, believed that "one of the central forces of . . . [Wakoski's] poems proceeds from a fundamentally serious playfulness, an evident desire to spin out and open the image rather than to close the structure. . . . One of their most compelling qualities is their obsessiveness: the need at every turn to digress, to let the magic of the words take her where they will, because they are so beautiful, because the ability to speak out is not to be taken for granted, is to be wondered at in its foreignness, is to be followed." Dictionary of Literary Biography contributor Mark Harris observed: "In many of Wakoski's poems the obsessive muse focuses on the idea of beauty. Taken as a whole, her work may be regarded as a linguistic/poetic quest for beauty."

The "magic" of Wakoski's words is also wrought through her use of imagery and through her creation of a consistent personal mythology. Commenting on two of the poet's earliest works, Coins and Coffins and Discrepancies and Apparitions, Sheila Weller wrote in Ms. that the books "established [Wakoski] as a poet of fierce imagination. She was at once an eerie imagist (always the swooping gulls, deciduating hands, the hawk that 'pecks out my eyes like two cherries'); and a rapt parablist, reworking Wild West legend and cosmological symbols, transmuting fairy-tale scenes ('three children dancing around an orange tree') into macaberie ('Do you see the round orange tree? . . . glinting through the leaves, / the hanged man'). These poems are vivid landscapes—as diabolic as Dali, as gauzy as Monet."

In Poetry, Sandra M. Gilbert described Wakoski as "a fabulist, a weaver of gorgeous webs of imagery and a teller of archetypically glamorous tales [who has] always attempted self-definition through self-mythologizing. 'The poems were a way of inventing myself into a new life,' she has said." "The myth of herself," said H. Zinnes in World Literature Today, is of "one 'clothed in fat,' with an ugly face, without wit, brilliance or elegance, but having some 'obsession for truth and history.' This plain seeker after love . . . is of course a poet with a great deal of wit. . . . a poet who in her work and life is not merely searching for a lover," although many of her poems touch on this theme.

Harris wrote: "Wakoski's preference for single words and rhythms that mirror the patterns of speech can mislead the reader into reading her poems too literally. This mistake in turn leads the reader to consider her themes trivial, for by reading on only the literal level, one misses the substance and complexity provided by the emblematic level. . . . The strength of the poetry . . . is that both sides of a paradox can be presented together, equally and simultaneously, a situation that life cannot duplicate. At its best, Wakoski believes, poetry employs the objects, events and experiences of life in a way that allows the reader to experience their emotional substance. Her emblematic use of language is one of her methods for obtaining this result."

Wakoski's personal mythology embraces many archetypal figures as well, including George Washington, the king of Spain, the motorcycle mechanic, the "man in Receiving at Sears," Beethoven, the "man with the gold tooth," and the "man who shook hands." These characters, most of whom appear more than once in Wakoski's canon, serve as symbols, emblematic of emotional states, past experiences, fantasies, and, sometimes, of real people in the poet's life.

George Washington, for example, appears in The George Washington Poems, a collection Weller called "witty, caustic takes on the male mystique. In a voice by turns consciously absurdist and tremulously earnest, she takes the first President as her 'mythical father-lover,' romanticizes and barbs 'the militaristic, penalizing, fact-over-feeling male mind that I've always been afraid of and fascinated by.'" Wakoski speaks to George Washington in the poems with various voices—as Martha Washington, as a bitter child whose father has left home, as a lover left behind in the Revolutionary War. As Norman Martien explained in Partisan Review, "the George Washington myths serve to express the failure of a woman's relations to her men, but the myths also give her a means of talking about it. Partly because 'George' is so distant, he can be a safe listener. . . . [and] he can allow her a voice that can reaffirm human connection, impossible at closer ranges." This theme of the failure of relationships, of betrayal by others (especially men), is a central concern of Wakoski's, and many of her mythological figures embody one or more of the facets of human relations in which she sees the possibility of betrayal or loss.

The figure of the motorcycle mechanic in The Motorcycle Betrayal Poems symbolizes, as Wakoski says in her dedicatory statement, "all those men who betrayed me at one time or another." According to Zweig, the book is "haunted by a curious mythology composed of mustached lovers, 'mechanics' who do not understand the engine humming under [the narrator's] skin, the great-grandfatherly warmth of Beethoven and George Washington, to whom she turns with humor but also with a sort of desperation." In this book, said Eric Mottram in Parnassus, Wakoski "operates in a world of women as adjuncts to men and the erotics of bikes; the poems are survival gestures." According to Weller, the book "made . . . women start at [Wakoski's] power to personalize the paradox" of male-female relationships—"their anger at the rejecting male archetype . . . yet their willing glorification of it . . . The book's theme is the mythology and confusions of . . . love, and the fury at betrayal by symbols, envy, lovers, and self."

The theme of betrayal, and its resulting pain, also appears in Inside the Blood Factory. Here, as Zweig observed, Wakoski writes "poems of loss. The loss of childhood; the loss of lovers and family; the perpetual loss a woman lives with when she thinks she is not beautiful. These losses [create] a scorched earth of isolation around her, which she [describes] harshly and precisely. . . . From this vulnerable retreat, a stream of liberating images [emerges] to grapple with the world and mythify it." Peter D. Zivkovic, writing in Southwest Review, believed that Inside the Blood Factory is "significantly more than a memorable reading experience. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about . . . [the book] is the consistent strength of the individual poems. There is not," Zivkovic concluded, "a single weak poem in the volume—an achievement worthy of Frost and other American giants." Fourteen years after Inside the Blood Factory, Wakoski produced Saturn's Rings and The Magician's Feastletters. Saturn's Rings is a collection of surrealist poems loosely connected by the metaphorical theme of self-banishment and characteristic self-scrutiny. Holly Prado noted in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, "Fearing decay, ignorance, and the inevitability of death, Wakoski writes with the intensity of someone fiercely alive, who still wants to unscramble failures, loneliness, the image of herself as the homely girl who was never acceptable." Noting the limitations of her shorter pieces in the collection, Paul Oppenheimer commented in American Book Review on the concluding series of eleven poems from which the title of the collection derives: " Saturn's Rings . . . is an often captivating, often self-pitying cry from the depths. . . . The cry is especially moving when uttered in the bright, chromic voice of Wakoski's most surrealistic lines. She is fine at depicting the possibility that 'the world / is flying out of control,' and that we may be living in 'a disintegrating time.'" In The Magician's Feastletters, arranged in four sections that parallel the four seasons, Wakoski uses food as a metaphor for love and deprivation. Though tending toward abstraction, Clayton Eshleman noted the concreteness of Wakoski's imagery and description of everyday items. He wrote in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, "Wakoski [begins] to reverse a whole system of frozen values geared to affirm youth/sexuality/summer/product and to denigrate aging/impotence/winter/soul. Especially in the light of current fashions in American poetry (where empty description is as touted as pretentious nonsense), Wakoski's poetry is extremely valuable."

The Collected Greed, Parts 1-13 and Emerald Ice: Selected Poems 1962-1987 bring together examples of Wakoski's finest writing over a twenty-five-year period. The Collected Greed is an assemblage of poetry from previous installments of Greed published between 1968 and 1973, with the addition of two previously unpublished parts. In the Los Angeles Times Book Review Kenneth Funsten offered high praise for "The Greed to Be Fulfilled," one of the new sections. Here Wakoski traces her personal quest for purpose and completion in a surreal glass house where she revisits George Washington and representations of Charles Bukowski and the king of Spain. Funsten wrote, "The confessional voice of the self-centered ego reaches a new plane of maturity when it decides that intellectual things, not emotional ones, are what matter." Throughout the collection Wakoski explores various manifestations of greed, defined by her as "an unwillingness to give up one thing / for another," as quoted in Funsten's review.

In the 1990s Wakoski produced Jason the Sailor and The Emerald City of Las Vegas, both belonging to the "Archaeology of Movies and Books" series that began with Medea the Sorceress in 1991. In Jason the Sailor, consisting of poems, letters, and excerpted texts by Camille Paglia, Nick Herbert, and Jeremy Bernstein, Wakoski explores archetypal love, betrayal, and the dynamics of male-female relationships, concluding, as quoted in a Kliatt review of the work, "Women need men, the other halves of ourselves." The Emerald City of Las Vegas similarly examines the mythology of modern America in casinos and through excerpts from L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz. A Publishers Weekly reviewer concluded that the book represents Wakoski's "inner conversation about what it means to be a woman, to be no longer young, to be a poet." The fourth book in the series is Argonaut Rose, in which Wakoski writes of her own history and popular culture. Library Journal reviewer Graham Christian said that she "remains an interesting poet to watch."

The Butcher's Apron: New and Selected Poems, Including "Greed: Part 14" focuses on the purchase, preparation, and enjoyment of food. Some of the poems read as recipes, as in "Braised Short Ribs." Wakoski writes of food failures, such as a pumpkin pie that won't set, and food she ate as a child. Library Journal contributor Judy Clarence wrote that the volume is pervaded by Wakoski's "feminine gentility," and felt that it should not be read in one sitting, but should "be dipped into now and then, as if one were sticking a finger into a pot of honey." A Publishers Weekly reviewer commended the work for its "plainly spoken, autobiographically grounded line."

Wakoski lives and works in East Lansing, Michigan. She is planning another extensive sequence of poems, possibly running to multiple volumes. In her work "The Blue Swan: An Essay on Music in Poetry" she summed up the process of poetry writing: "first comes the story. Then comes the reaction to the story. Then comes the telling and retelling of the story. And finally . . . comes boredom with the story, so that finally we invent music, and the nature of music is that you must hear all the digressions."

Career

Poet and educator. British Book Centre, New York, NY, clerk, 1960-63; Junior High School 22, New York, NY, teacher, 1963-66; New School for Social Research, New York, NY, lecturer, 1969; writer-in-residence, California Institute of Technology, 1972, University of Virginia, 1972-73, Willamette University, 1974, University of California, Irvine, 1974, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1975, Michigan State University, 1975, Whitman College, 1976, University of Washington, 1977, University of Hawaii, 1978, and Emory University, 1980, 1981; member of faculty at Michigan State University, 1976—.

Bibliography

POETRY

  • Coins and Coffins (also see below), Hawk's Well Press (New York, NY), 1962.
  • (With Rochelle Owens, Barbara Moraff, and Carol Berge) Four Young Lady Poets, edited by LeRoi Jones, Totem-Corinth (New York, NY), 1962.
  • Dream Sheet, Software Press (New York, NY), 1965.
  • Discrepancies and Apparitions (also see below), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1966.
  • The George Washington Poems (also see below), Riverrun Press (New York, NY), 1967.
  • The Diamond Merchant, Sans Souci Press (Cambridge, MA), 1968.
  • Inside the Blood Factory, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1968.
  • (With Robert Kelly and Ron Loewinsohn) The Well Wherein a Deer's Head Bleeds: A Play for Winter Solstice, Black Sparrow Press (Los Angeles, CA), 1968.
  • Greed, Black Sparrow Press (Los Angeles, CA), Parts 1 and 2, 1968, Parts 3 and 4, 1969, Parts 5, 6, 7, 1971, Parts 8, 9, 11, 1973.
  • The Lament of the Lady Bank Dick, Sans Souci Press (Cambridge, MA), 1969.
  • The Moon Has a Complicated Geography, Odda Tala Press (Palo Alto, CA), 1969.
  • Poems, Key Printing Co., 1969.
  • Some Black Poems for the Buddha's Birthday, Pierripont Press, 1969.
  • Thanking My Mother for Piano Lessons, Perishable Press (Mount Horeb, WI), 1969.
  • Love, You Big Fat Snail, Tenth Muse (San Francisco, CA), 1970.
  • Black Dream Ditty for Billy "the Kid" M Seen in Dr. Generosity's Bar Recruiting for Hell's Angels and Black Mafia, Black Sparrow Press (Los Angeles, CA), 1970.
  • The Wise Men Drawn to Kneel in Wonder at the Fact So of Itself, Black Sparrow Press (Los Angeles, CA), 1970.
  • The Magellanic Clouds, Black Sparrow Press (Los Angeles, CA), 1970.
  • On Barbara's Shore, Black Sparrow Press (Los Angeles, CA), 1971.
  • (Contributor) The Nest, Black Sparrow Press (Los Angeles, CA), 1971.
  • The Motorcycle Betrayal Poems, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1971.
  • This Water Baby: For Tony, Unicorn Press (Santa Barbara, CA), 1971.
  • Exorcism, My Dukes (Boston, MA), 1971.
  • The Purple Finch Song, Perishable Press (Mount Horeb, WI), 1972.
  • Sometimes a Poet Will Hijack the Moon, Burning Deck (Providence, RI), 1972.
  • Smudging, Black Sparrow Press (Los Angeles, CA), 1972.
  • The Pumpkin Pie: or, Reassurances Are Always False, Tho We Love Them, Only Physics Counts, Black Sparrow Press (Los Angeles, CA), 1972.
  • Winter Sequences, Black Sparrow Press (Los Angeles, CA), 1973.
  • Dancing on the Grave of a Son of a Bitch, Black Sparrow Press (Los Angeles, CA), 1973.
  • Stilllife: Michael, Silver Flute, and Violets, University of Connecticut Library (Storrs, CT), 1973.
  • The Owl and the Snake: A Fable, Perishable Press (Mount Horeb, WI), 1973.
  • (Contributor) Karl Malkoff, editor, Crowell's Handbook of Contemporary American Poetry, Crowell (New York, NY), 1973.
  • The Wandering Tatler, Perishable Press (Mount Horeb, WI), 1974.
  • Trilogy (includes Coins and Coffins, Discrepancies and Apparitions, and The George Washington Poems), Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1974.
  • Looking for the King of Spain (also see below), Black Sparrow Press (Los Angeles, CA), 1974.
  • Abalone, Black Sparrow Press (Los Angeles, CA), 1974.
  • Virtuoso Literature for Two and Four Hands, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1975.
  • The Fable of the Lion and the Scorpion, Pentagram Press (Milwaukee, WI), 1975.
  • The Laguna Contract of Diane Wakoski, Crepuscular Press (Madison, WI), 1976.
  • George Washington's Camp Cups, Red Ozier Press (Madison, WI), 1976.
  • Waiting for the King of Spain, Black Sparrow Press (Santa Barbara, CA), 1976.
  • The Last Poem, Black Sparrow Press (Santa Barbara, CA), 1976.
  • The Ring, Black Sparrow Press (Santa Barbara, CA), 1977.
  • Spending Christmas with the Man from Receiving at Sears, Black Sparrow Press (Santa Barbara, CA), 1977.
  • Overnight Projects with Wood, Red Ozier Press (Madison, WI), 1977.
  • Pachelbel's Canon (also see below), Black Sparrow Press (Santa Barbara, CA) 1978.
  • The Man Who Shook Hands, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1978.
  • Trophies, Black Sparrow Press (Santa Barbara, CA), 1979.
  • Cap of Darkness (includes Looking for the King of Spain and Pachelbel's Canon), Black Sparrow Press (Santa Barbara, CA), 1980.
  • (With Ellen Lanyon) Making a Sacher Torte: Nine Poems, Twelve Illustrations, Perishable Press (Mount Horeb, WI), 1981.
  • Saturn's Rings, Targ Editions, (New York, NY), 1982.
  • Divers, Barbarian Press, 1982.
  • The Lady Who Drove Me to the Airport, Metacom Press (Worcester, MA), 1982.
  • The Magician's Feastletters, Black Sparrow Press (Santa Barbara, CA), 1982.
  • The Collected Greed, Parts 1-13, Black Sparrow Press (Santa Barbara, CA), 1984.
  • The Managed World, Red Ozier Press (New York, NY), 1985.
  • Why My Mother Likes Liberace: A Musical Selection, SUN/Gemini Press (Tucson, AZ), 1985.
  • Celebration of the Rose: For Norman on Christmas Day, Caliban Press (Montclair, NJ), 1987.
  • Roses, Caliban Press (Montclair, NJ), 1987.
  • Husks of Wheat, California State University, Northridge Library (Northridge, CA), 1987.
  • Emerald Ice: Selected Poems 1962-1987, Black Sparrow Press (Santa Rosa, CA), 1988.
  • Medea the Sorceress ( "Archaeology of Movies and Books" series), Black Sparrow Press (Santa Rosa, CA), 1991.
  • Jason the Sailor ( "Archaeology of Movies and Books" series), Black Sparrow Press (Santa Rosa, CA), 1993.
  • The Emerald City of Las Vegas ( "Archaeology of Movies and Books" series), Black Sparrow Press (Santa Rosa, CA), 1995.
  • Argonaut Rose ( "Archaeology of Movies and Books" series), Black Sparrow Press (Santa Rosa, CA), 1998.
  • The Butcher's Apron: New and Selected Poems, Including "Greed: Part 14," Black Sparrow Press (Santa Rosa, CA), 2000.

OTHER

  • Form Is an Extension of Content (essay), Black Sparrow Press (Los Angeles, CA), 1972.
  • Creating a Personal Mythology (essays), Black Sparrow Press (Los Angeles, CA), 1975.
  • Variations on a Theme (essay), Black Sparrow Press (Santa Barbara, CA), 1976.
  • (Author of introduction) Barbara Drake, Love at the Egyptian Theatre, Red Cedar Press (East Lansing, MI), 1978.
  • (Author of introduction) Lynne Savitt, Lust in Twenty-eight Flavors, Second Coming Press (San Francisco, CA), 1979.
  • Toward a New Poetry (essays), University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1980.
  • Unveilings, photographs by Lynn Stern, Hudson Hill Press (New York, NY), 1989.

Contributor to "Burning Deck Post Cards: The Third Ten," Burning Deck Press, and to periodicals. American Poetry Review, columnist, 1972-74.

Further Reading

BOOKS

  • Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 2, 1974, Volume 4, 1975, Volume 7, 1977, Volume 9, 1978, Volume 11, 1979, Volume 40, 1986.
  • Contemporary Poets, 6th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
  • Contemporary Women Poets, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1998.
  • Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 5: American Poets after World War II, Part 2, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1980.
  • Lauter, Estella, Women as Mythmakers: Poetry and Visual Art by Twentieth-Century Women, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 1984.
  • Roberts, Sheila, editor, Still the Frame Holds, Borgo Press (San Francisco, CA), 1993.

PERIODICALS

  • American Book Review, September-October, 1987, Paul Oppenheimer, review of Saturn's Rings.
  • Contemporary Literature, winter, 1975; winter, 1976, "An Interview with Diane Wakoski," pp. 1-19.
  • Far Point, spring/summer, 1970, Philip L. Gerber and Robert J. Gemmett, "A Terrible War: A Conversation with Diane Wakoski," pp. 44-54.
  • Gypsy Scholar, summer, 1979, "A Colloquy with Diane Wakoski," pp. 61-73.
  • Hudson Review, summer, 1974.
  • Kliatt, September, 1993, p. 26, review of Jason the Sailor.
  • Library Journal, June 1, 1982, p. 1100; November 15, 1986, p. 100; December, 1988; February 1, 1991; August, 1993, p. 109; August, 1995, p. 80; March 1, 1998, Graham Christian, review of Argonaut Rose, p. 92; February 15, 2001, Judy Clarence, review of The Butcher's Apron: New and Selected Poems, Including "Greed: Part 14," p. 172.
  • Los Angeles Times Book Review, July 18, 1982, p. 11; November 4, 1984, p. 4; October 26, 1986, p. 14.
  • Margins, January, 1976.
  • Mediterranean Review, spring, 1972.
  • Ms., March, 1976, Sheila Weller, reviews of Coins and Coffins and Discrepancies and Apparitions.
  • New York Times Book Review, December 12, 1971; August 13, 1978.
  • Parnassus, fall-winter, 1972; spring-summer, 1973.
  • Partisan Review, winter, 1971, Norman Martien, review of The George Washington Poems.
  • Poetry, June, 1974; August, 1976.
  • Prairie Schooner, spring, 1973.
  • Publishers Weekly, July 31, 1995, p. 74, review of The Emerald City of Las Vegas; February 23, 1998, review of Argonaut Rose, p. 71; December 4, 2000, review of The Butcher's Apron, p. 67.
  • Southwest Review, spring, 1975, Peter D. Zivkovic, review of Inside the Blood Factory.
  • Virginia Quarterly Review, autumn, 1972.
  • World Literature Today, autumn, 1978.
  • Writer's Digest, November, 1991.

ONLINE

  • Academy of American Poets Web site, http://www.onlinepoetryclassroom.org/poets/ (July 15, 2003).

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Articles About DIANE WAKOSKI

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LIFE SPAN 1937–

Diane Wakoski

Biography

Diane Wakoski, described as an "important and moving poet" by Paul Zweig in the New York Times Book Review, is frequently named among the foremost contemporary American poets by virtue of her experiential vision and her unique voice. Wakoski's poems focus on intensely personal experiences—on her unhappy childhood, on the painful relationships she has had with men and, perhaps most frequently, on the subject of being Diane . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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