Form and Content

(Masterpieces of Women's Literature)

Daughters, I Love You is a collection of nine poems ranging in length from thirty-two to sixty-five lines and using the rhythms and vocabulary of ordinary conversation in conjunction with bold imagery and surprising, highly telescoped syntax to develop, from a variety of perspectives, the theme of protest against the life-defeating forces that threaten the environment and all life on Earth. The poems, taking the form of meditations arising in the poet’s consciousness and phrased as her thoughts, move from the personal to the public and political spheres with an immediacy that suggests the impossibility of individual escape from the consequences of public events and the obligation of the individual, and especially the individual woman, to speak out against the madness generated by a male-dominated political order.

Hogan says that she began writing poetry in an attempt to heal the dissonance she felt between her two cultural heritages, white Nebraska immigrant and Oklahoma Chickasaw, but the Chickasaw clearly dominates the body of her poetry—though less so in Daughters, I Love You than in most of her other work. She has become one of the most widely known American Indian writers. In addition, Hogan’s commitment to the struggle to nourish and preserve life, her rejection of any kind of destruction of the land, her disillusionment with so-called development, and her long-standing awareness of the spiritual nature of women’s relationships to the land led her to the growing conviction that to remain silent is a form of dishonesty. Believing that progress has brought the world to the edge of total destruction, she has decided that if she and her family are going...

(The entire section is 692 words.)