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Marilyn Hacker Biography

(1942– ), Presentation Piece, Separations, Taking Notice, Assumptions, Love, Death and the Changing of the Seasons

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American poet, born in New York City, educated at Washington Square College of New York University and the Art Students League. In her first volume of poetry, Presentation Piece (1974; National Book Award, 1975), and in Separations (1976), Hacker begins to articulate her dissatisfaction with woman's traditional roles. Taking Notice (1980) and Assumptions (1985) contain reflections on the women in her life, including her mother, friends, and lovers. Love, Death and the Changing of the Seasons (1986), a poetic novel of a lesbian love affair, is an evocative and sensual work containing graphic sexual descriptions. In Going Back to the River (1990) the poet comes to terms with loss after the dissolution of a love affair as she writes of loves and life in Paris and New York. In Winter Numbers (1994) Hacker evokes memories linking the historical and personal disasters of her generation: the Holocaust, AIDS, and Hacker's own fight with breast cancer. Selected Poems, 1965–1990 (1994), which contains work from five of her published books, reveals the many voices (lesbian, feminist, mother, Jew, intellectual) with which the poet speaks.

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