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Daphne Marlatt Biography

(1942– ), Touch to My Tongue, Steveston, Zocalo, How Hug a Stone, Frames, Leaf/leafs, Rings

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Madras House to Harriet Martineau Biography

Canadian poet, born in Melbourne, Australia; she moved with her family to Vancouver in 1951, later attending the Universities of British Columbia and Indiana. Marlatt's poetry is influenced by French feminist linguistic theory and the work of some of her Quebec women contemporaries; her concern with showing how personality and gender identity are constructed by language is particularly evident in Touch to My Tongue (1984). Steveston (1974) is a discontinuous long poem that, in part, offers a social history of a small Japanese fishing town in British Columbia, but at the same time questions the very mode of documentary that it employs by constantly emphasizing the writer's involvement in creating the world of the poem. Much of Marlatt's work, including her Mexican ‘novel’ Zocalo (1977) and How Hug a Stone (1983), an account of a journey to England with her son to rediscover the maternal side of her family, mixes travel-journal and autobiography with literary forms traditionally more associated with creativity to suggest the factitious nature of all writing and constructs of the self. Marlatt's other works include Frames (1968), Leaf/leafs (1969), Rings (1971), Vancouver Poems (1972), Our Lives (1975), and Here and There (1981).

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