Katha Pollitt is an acclaimed essayist. Her writing in the Nation defines for many women how we feel about ourselves in regards to abortion and other feminist issues. Her poetry is prized because it is rare. Publication of a new book, her first in 25 years, is cause for celebration. Here is the beginning of a poem:
Lives of the Nineteenth Century Poetesses
As girls they were awkward and peculiar,
wept in church or refused to go at all.
Their mothers saw right away that no man would marry them.
So they must live at the sufferance of others,
timid and queer as governesses out of Chekhov,
malnourished on theology, boiled eggs, and tea,
but given to outbursts of pride that embarrassed everyone.
Katha Pollitt speaks for me, and for so many other women who feel underrepresented, or unnoticed, not that she carries a political banner in her poetry. In fact, she is very careful about her politics, and almost apologizes about it in a touching poem for her daughter. But she cannot help but demonstrate her bracing intelligence, and her wit, which are most welcome.