Marilyn Hacker

(1942 / The Bronx, New York City, New York)

Marilyn Hacker Quotes

  • ''Poetry seems to have been eliminated as a literary genre, and installed instead, as a kind of spiritual aerobic exercise—nobody need read it, but anybody can do it.''
    Marilyn Hacker (b. 1942), U.S. poet and editor. As quoted in A Gift That Cannot be Refused, ch. 7, by Mary Biggs (1990). Said in 1983.
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  • ''The woman poet must be either a ... sexless, reclusive eccentric, with nothing to say specifically to women, or a brilliant, tragic, tortured suicide.''
    Marilyn Hacker (b. 1942), U.S. poet and editor. As quoted in How to Suppress Women's Writing, ch. 6, by Joanna Russ (1983). Said on November 2, 1976. The lesbian feminist poet was commenting on the small amount of attention given to Muriel Rukeyser's collected poems, as compared with the much greater amount given to Marianne Moore (the "eccentric") and Sylvia Plath (the "suicide").

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Against Elegies

James has cancer. Catherine has cancer.
Melvin has AIDS.
Whom will I call, and get no answer?
My old friends, my new friends who are old,
or older, sixty, seventy, take pills
before or after dinner. Arthritis
scourges them. But irremediable night is
farther away from them; they seem to hold
it at bay better than the young-middle-aged

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