“Jeweled Bindings”

Melissa Girard

in The Oxford Handbook of Modern and Contemporary American Poetry

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780195398779
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

“Jeweled Bindings”

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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)
  • Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)



This article charts the making-conventional of modernist women's poetry: a critical and institutional process that began in the modernist era, accelerated with the New Criticism, and persists stubbornly into our present moment. It argues that modernist women poets continue to face charges of sentimentality and, hence, conventionality even today. Although the article focuses on Bogan, Millay, Taggard, and Wylie, it suggests the need to take a decidedly unsentimental look at a much broader field of modernist women's poetries. Sentimentalism, in this modernist context, is a compromise position. It has given us a language for revaluing this poetry, but one that never quite fit. To correct these longstanding misconceptions, we need to restore to these poets the distinctively modernist discourses that they produced and that once surrounded their poetries.

Keywords: modernist women's poetry; modern poetry; New Criticism; sentimentality; convetionality

Article.  11447 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (20th Century onwards) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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