Laura Nyro Richard Mortifoglio - Essay

Richard Mortifoglio

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Laura Nyro emerged a decade ago, when the "counter-culture" began to seep in the mainstream. Beloved by middle-class girls moving away from the brutal slums of adolescence to the high life of college, she presented the perfect bohemian image, funky, wild, and peaceful all at once. And while her willfully narcissistic lyrics meant freedom, her overwrought delivery conveyed desperation with a naked violence that eluded even Janis Joplin. This makes her something of an embarrassment today. But most girls I knew could sing Nyro's odd shifts of meter and abrupt stops and starts by heart. She represented the poetics of their hysteria and commanded an adoration and respect no woman songwriter has enjoyed before or since....

(The entire section is 518 words.)