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dc.contributor.authorCrowe, Melissa McLaughlin
dc.description.abstractThe manifesto provides critical readings of poems by Mina Loy and Sylvia Plath, arguing that their poetics (word choice, line, image, and voice), as applied to the subject of maternity, are artistically and politically ground breaking. Loy’s work in The Lost Lunar Baedeker combines acerbic wit and striking image to explode assumptions about women’s writing and maternity, while Plath’s poems in Ariel render an ambivalence largely absent in poems about motherhood, even to this day. The essay argues that conventional criticism applied to women’s writing about motherhood tends to be dismissive. Critics who use detachment as the yardstick of literary merit claim that confessional poets fail to achieve artistic distance and instead practice an intimacy that places the hearer in a position of power over the writer. The manifesto presents the theory that such an intimacy is an intentional displacement of notions of the poet as “the man in the tower” and an attempt to trouble dearly-held and dangerous beliefs about the mother as treacherous maw or selfless caregiver. Milk and Paper, greatly influenced by the work of both Loy and Plath, practices an intense poetic intimacy. The book consists largely of poems addressed to the speaker’s child, from conception through weaning, and its narrative arc functions to explore the expanding distance between mother and baby. The poems in this collection seek to reveal the profound questions of identity raised by childbearing and rearing, as the speaker attempts to become a mother while the baby also becomes within her, as she witnesses the baby’s continuous efforts to individuate through language and motion, and as she negotiates her own physical and ego boundaries. The book attempts a structural ambivalence, as one poem praises the perfect infant and the next violently bemoans the profound loss of freedom that comes with motherhood.
dc.rightsOn Campus Only
dc.subjectSylvia Plath
dc.subjectMina Loy
dc.subjectConfessional Poetry
dc.subjectbreast feeding
dc.titleMilk and paper
dc.title.alternativenew and original poems with a manifesto
dc.description.advisorJudith Ortiz Cofer
dc.description.committeeJudith Ortiz Cofer
dc.description.committeeT. R. Hummer
dc.description.committeeSusan Rosenbaum
dc.description.committeeAnne Williams

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