"Just one of / the girls:-- / normal in the extreme": Experimentalists-To-Be Starting Out in the 1960s

"Just one of / the girls:-- / normal in the extreme": Experimentalists-To-Be Starting Out in the... “Just one of / the girls:— / normal in the extreme” Alice Notley, Mary Oliver, Robert Pinsky, Mark Strand, James Tate, John Wieners, and Charles Wright, generally remained outside or on the borders of recognized artistic movements. The three poets I will discuss, all of whom are noted experimentalists now, were born between 1935 and 1940, and they all began publishing in the 1960s. That these poets are women lends an additional betweenness to their historical situation: a betweenness in relation to American feminism. They began their careers after the deadly gender oppressions of the 1950s had been exposed, but before the full flowering of the women’s movement in the seventies. They had Betty Friedan and Simone de Beauvoir to read, and consciousness-raising groups were certainly flourishing, but women’s liberation was in its early stages in the sixties. When conjuring that decade, we tend to think of social and sexual liberation, alternative lifestyles, countercultural values, and tumultuous political activism. We think of an era of transformation and extremism, making it easy to overlook the strong thread of fi fties conformity extending into the period as well. For women, the ideals of fi fties normality were still powerfully present, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies Duke University Press

"Just one of / the girls:-- / normal in the extreme": Experimentalists-To-Be Starting Out in the 1960s

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2001 by Brown University and differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies
ISSN
1040-7391
eISSN
1527-1986
DOI
10.1215/10407391-12-2-47
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

“Just one of / the girls:— / normal in the extreme” Alice Notley, Mary Oliver, Robert Pinsky, Mark Strand, James Tate, John Wieners, and Charles Wright, generally remained outside or on the borders of recognized artistic movements. The three poets I will discuss, all of whom are noted experimentalists now, were born between 1935 and 1940, and they all began publishing in the 1960s. That these poets are women lends an additional betweenness to their historical situation: a betweenness in relation to American feminism. They began their careers after the deadly gender oppressions of the 1950s had been exposed, but before the full flowering of the women’s movement in the seventies. They had Betty Friedan and Simone de Beauvoir to read, and consciousness-raising groups were certainly flourishing, but women’s liberation was in its early stages in the sixties. When conjuring that decade, we tend to think of social and sexual liberation, alternative lifestyles, countercultural values, and tumultuous political activism. We think of an era of transformation and extremism, making it easy to overlook the strong thread of fi fties conformity extending into the period as well. For women, the ideals of fi fties normality were still powerfully present,

Journal

differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural StudiesDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2001

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