Molly Peacock Analysis

Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

Although she is best known as a poet, Molly Peacock published a memoir, Paradise, Piece by Piece (1998), which gained a wide following for its straightforwardness in dealing with controversial issues and the vividness of its character portrayals, as well as for the laugh-out-loud humor that contrasts with and relieves the bleakness of some of its scenes. Also, Peacock is a poetry activist, helping through her books, presentations, and public activities to bring poetry back into the general culture. She has coedited two anthologies, Poetry in Motion: One Hundred Poems from the Subways and Buses (1996) and The Private I: Privacy in a Public Age (2001), essays on contemporary privacy issues. She has also written a handbook on poetry appreciation, How to Read a Poem and Start a Poetry Circle (1999).


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Molly Peacock’s work has been recognized by numerous honors and awards. When her first collection appeared in 1980, it was immediately acclaimed; her work over the years has won her multiple grants and honors, including a grant from the Lila Wallace/Woodrow Wilson Foundation (1994), a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (1990), a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts (1985), the Ingram Merrill Foundation Award (1981), and many others. She has served in numerous elected or appointed poetry posts, including a term as president of the Poetry Society of America.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Allen, Frank. Review of Original Love. Library Journal 120 (February 15, 1995): 159. A brief but insightful review of Original Love.

Benfey, Christopher. Review of Take Heart. The New Republic 201 (July 17-24, 1989): 31. A description and ambivalent judgment of Take Heart.

Muratori, Fred. “Traditional Form and the Living, Breathing American Poet.” New England Review 9, no. 2 (Winter, 1985/1986): 219-241. Muratori discusses contemporary use of poetic forms and prosody by Peacock and others. Uses poems from Raw Heaven as examples.

Phillips, Robert. “Poetry Chronicle: Some Versions of the Pastoral.” Hudson Review 34, no. 3 (Autumn, 1981): 420-434. Peacock is discussed along with other contemporary nature poets.

Seaman, Donna. Review of The Second Blush. Booklist 104, nos. 19/20 (June 1/June 15, 2008): 24. A favorable review of Peacock’s poetry collection that notices, in particular, her juxtaposition of the bright side of life with its downturns and troubles.

Walzer, Kevin. The Ghost of Tradition: Expansive Poetry and Postmodernism. Ashland, Oreg.: Story Line Press, 1999. Analyzes Peacock’s (and others’) work in the context of the neoformalist movement. Especially useful for those interested in how Peacock uses form and for an understanding of contemporary formalist poetry in general.