Critical Overview

Cisneros has attracted more attention for her novel The House on Mango Street and her short-story collection Woman Hollering Creek (1991) than for her poetry, which has been largely ignored by academic critics. A Publishers Weekly reviewer notes similarities between the poems in Loose Woman and Cisneros’s coming-of-age novel The House on Mango Street: “We meet again a powerful, fiercely independent woman of Mexican heritage.” The reviewer concludes, however, the poems cannot match the “depth, the complexity and the lyrical magic” of Cisneros’s novels and short stories.

Susan Smith Nash in World Literature Today comments on the “sometimes rather flat, unadorned diction and the earthy explorations into the nature of desire” that characterize the poems in Loose Woman. Nash describes the “heightened awareness of the textures, colors, and physical sensations of the world” revealed by the poems. Because all the poems in Loose Woman express different aspects of the female experience and challenge conventional notions of identity, Nash also notes, “the reader gains the opportunity to celebrate the diversity of human experience.”