Cover image for It's a woman's world : a century of women's voices in poetry
It's a woman's world : a century of women's voices in poetry
Philip, Neil.
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dutton Children's Books, 2000.
Physical Description:
93 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm
An anthology of poetry by twentieth-century women from around the world including, Sylvia Plath, Nigar Hanim, Sonia Sanchez, and Nellie Wong.
General Note:
Includes indexes.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN6110.W6 I87 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Sixty poems by fifty-five different twentieth-century women poets have been selected in this remarkable anthology celebrating the power and strength of women. Drawing from poets both familiar (Gwendolyn Brooks, Adrienne Rich, Dorothy Parker, Sylvia Plath) and less well known, this collection traces women's diverse experiences through the turbulent years of this century and represents voices from many different cultures, including Native American, African-American, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and Nigerian. Quirky, moving, surprising, amusing--these poems let women speak for themselves about love and war, work and play, marriage and family, power and ambition. With striking black-and-white photographs, a preface, and a handy index of titles and first lines, this elegant compilation makes an ideal gift for poetry lovers and women's history buffs.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-12. In his fine introduction to this global anthology, Philip talks about the new freedom of twentieth-century women writers and quotes Virginia Woolf's call to kill the passive tradition of the "angel in the house." Nevertheless, the focus of much of this collection is on domestic power and inner strength, "the flame of hearth not history," and the subjects may appeal more to adults than to contemporary teens. There are some great selections for everyone: Linda Pastan's "To a Daughter Leaving Home," Sandra Cisneros' "My Wicked Wicked Ways," Anna Wickham's "The Marriage" ("What a great battle you and I have fought!"), Lucille Clifton's "My Mama Moved among the Days," and many more. In a section about women in wartime, Kurihara Sadako's "Let Us Be Midwives!" tells the story of a baby born in an atomic bomb shelter. The book design is open and handsome, one poem per page, with an occasional stirring full-page photo. The index includes each poet's nationality. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

This anthology of 20th-century women's poems contains an impressive sampling from poets of diverse cultures. However, Philip's (Singing America) organizing principle, how poetry of this era "shows an attitude to love and marriage that would have been unthinkable in previous generations," necessarily results in a selection that is not representative. The poems here are heavily weighted toward pessimism and discontent, with little humor or joy. Eavan Boland's "It's a Woman's World," citing women's staying power; Judith Rodriguez's "Eskimo Occasion," which celebrates the joy of a new day; and May Sarton's "On a Winter Night," in which a woman contemplates her own burning desire to live and grow as she stares into a hearth fire, are the exceptions. More common are sentiments such as those expressed in Elizabeth Riddell's bleak "News of a Baby," which opens the section on childhood. After welcoming the baby "to the world of swords/ and deadlier words" and promising other horrors, the poet concludes, "Welcome, baby, no dread thing will be omitted./ We are your eager hosts." Marvelous black-and-white photographs of intriguing women from various countries preface each section, but they sometimes belie the contents of the poems to follow. The section on falling in love and getting married, for instance, features a cheery photograph of an embracing couple to usher in such poems as Dorothy Parker's sardonic "Chant for Dark Hours": "(All your life you wait around for some damn man!)." A narrow view of 20th-century women's voices. Ages 11-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-The elegant cover photo (from 1939) shows a model on top of the Eiffel Tower, yards of fabric in her dress billowing gracefully in the breeze. The lives of the women who speak through these poems are generally more prosaic than this but often just as compelling. The collection of 20th-century poems has an international scope and includes both unfamiliar and well-known writers such as Gertrude Stein, Dorothy Parker, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Gwendolyn Brooks. It is divided into seven sections: "Dear Female Heart," "News of a Baby," "A Freedom Song," "Domestic Economy," "Power," "I Live with a Bullet," and "The Old Women Gathered." Most of the poems are complete but some excerpts from longer works are included; subjects range from the political to the personal. Beautifully reproduced black-and-white photos introduce each section. Overall, this book is dense, challenging, and provocative, and many students will appreciate the sophisticated look and subject matter. Philip's introduction is interesting. It is unfortunate that there is no biographical information about the poets, since many of them will be new to readers.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.