Linda (Olenik) Pastan 1932–
Since the publication of her first collection of poetry, A Perfect Circle of Sun, in 1971, Pastan has evidenced a gift for expressing the everyday events of human life in a compelling manner. The poet considers this "dailiness" to be the soul of her work. She writes of the complications of family relationships in Aspects of Eve (1975), the acceptance of loss in The Five Stages of Grief (1978), and the conflicts of desire and obligation in Waiting for My Life (1982).
Pastan has been praised for her clear, unpretentious writing. Such writing, critics feel, effectively persuades the reader to look closely at the commonplace and to see its wonder. Because of her spare style and domestic subject matter, however, Pastan's critics have also noted that, at times, her poems are saved from sentimentality only by their disarming, yet dignified innocence. She uses traditional topics such as love, aging, loss, loneliness, and the search for identity, and pairs them with established allusions from folktales, legends, and biblical stories.
(See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 61-64 and Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 5.)