Anne Collett


Looking back on the nineteenth century and beyond from her vantage point of the early twentieth century, Virginia Woolf wrote that 'if we [women] had the habit of freedom and the courage to write exactly what we think ... then ... the dead poet who was Shakespeare's sister will put on the body which she has so often laid down'. 1 This body of which she speaks is the form of our artistic choosing - the body of mind - the only body over which we have shaping control. The choice of form and the consequences of that choosing is the subject of this paper. Emily Dickinson chose the hyphenated hymnal, Elizabeth Barrett Browning chose the verse novel, Pauline Tekahionwake johnson chose the literary ballad but regretted what she perceived as the lost poetic status involved in not choosing lyric.



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