Marilyn Hacker Analysis

Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

Marilyn Hacker has published translations, criticism, and reviews in periodicals including Grand Street, The Nation, and Ploughshares. She has also translated the works of French poets. In 2010, she published a book of criticism, Unauthorized Voices.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Marilyn Hacker brings together a sophisticated and urbane intelligence, technical and verbal virtuosity, and a level of wit that is not always found in such a committed feminist and lesbian poet. Her work has been greeted with awards and grants since the publication of Presentation Piece, which received the National Book Award in 1975 and was a Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets in 1973. She won the Levinson Prize from Poetry magazine in 1980. She was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1980-1981 and an Ingram Merrill Fellow in 1984-1985. Winter Numbers was awarded the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize (1995), a Lambda Literary Award (1994), the John Masefield Memorial Award of the Poetry Society of America, and the Bernard F. Conners Prize for Poetry from Paris Review (1994). In 1995, she received the Poets’ Prize for Selected Poems, 1965-1990. Hacker has had considerable influence as an editor of literary magazines. She has been editor-in-chief of Thirteenth Moon: A Feminist Literary Magazine and editor of The Little Magazine and Woman Poet: The East. From 1990-1994, she served as editor of the highly regarded and venerable Kenyon Review. Hacker also served as a guest editor for Ploughshares. In 2004, she received the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was elected to the Academy of American Poets’ board of chancellors in 2008.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Campo, Rafael. “About Marilyn Hacker.” Ploughshares 22 (Spring, 1996): 195-199. One of the few complete biographical resources chronicling Hacker’s life. Helpful in understanding her work as poet and editor, covering the literary practices and preferences and personal struggles surfacing in her poems.

Cucinella, Catherine. Poetics of the Body: Edna St. Vincent Millay, Elizabeth Bishop, Marilyn Chin, and Marilyn Hacker. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. Cucinella’s study looks at “how the poetic bodies” of poets such as Hacker “negotiate the intersecting ideologies that attempt to regulate the body, its characteristics, and its behaviors.” Includes a chapter on Hacker, “Persistently on Paper We Exist: Stories and Desire On and Through the Body.”

Hacker, Marilyn. Interview by Karla Hammond. Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies 5 (Fall, 1981): 22-27. In this thoughtful interview from the late 1970’s, Hacker makes a strong case for her formal and technical approach to writing. She discusses the poets from whom she learned and whose work has become a part of her own. Her early exposure to the classic male poets (John Donne, W. H. Auden, William Butler Yeats, E. E. Cummings, T. S. Eliot, and Ezra Pound) is complemented by her adult reading of modern and contemporary women poets.


(The entire section is 524 words.)