Unauthorized Voices

Essays on Poets and Poetry, 1987-2009
Marilyn Hacker

Editor of the acclaimed Poets on Poetry series collects her own essays on the subject


A volume in the Poets on Poetry series, which collects critical works by contemporary poets, gathering together the articles, interviews, and book reviews by which they have articulated the poetics of a new generation.

For over twenty years, award-winning poet, translator, and editor Marilyn Hacker has been writing incisive criticism and reviews of contemporary poetry, with particular attention to the work of feminist poets, poets of color, and any poets whose work she judged worthy of more attention from the American (and sometimes British) reading public.

Unauthorized Voices is Hacker’s first collection of critical prose, bringing together her essays on American, British, Irish, and French poets. It includes pieces on Adrienne Rich, Hayden Carruth, Elizabeth Bishop, Tony Harrison, Marilyn Nelson, and June Jordan; on French and Francophone poets including Vénus Khoury-Ghata and Guy Goffette; on poetry and politics; and on the contemporary sonnet, all affirming Hacker as a lively, unabashedly opinionated American critical voice.

Praise for Marilyn Hacker:

"How piercing the duet we're offered between Marilyn Hacker and the reality principle. Reality saying, it’s impossible, something's always sacrificed: you can't be so merry and so raw; so learned and earthy; so gut-wrenching, so danceable at once. Can you? To which, steadily, the voice of Marilyn Hacker: Yes. Evidently; Evidently so."
—Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, author of Epistemology of the Closet and Touching Feeling

"Hacker is one of our best singers—by turns elegiac and fierce, sweet and witty. With each new collection her voice grows richer, more resonant, sorrowing and lovely."
—Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies and How the García Girls Lost Their Accents

"Marilyn Hacker joins a marvelous facility with poetic forms to a shockingly intense sensuality. Not unlike Baudelaire, you might say, and indeed like him, she shares a taste for excess, drink, Paris, women, crowds. 'Enivrez-vous!' Baudelaire ordered his readers, and Marilyn Hacker has taken his advice seriously."
—Edmund White, author of Hotel de Dream, City Boy, and Le Flâneur

"Everything is thrilling and true, fast and witty, deep and wise; her vitality is the pulse of life itself."
—Derek Mahon, author of Harbour Lights and An Autumn Wind

Marilyn Hacker is the author of twelve books of poems, most recently Names and Essays on Departure, and of ten collections of poetry translated from the French, including Marie Étienne's King of a Hundred Horsemen, recipient of the 2009 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. She has been the recipient of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, two Lambda Literary Awards, and the National Book Award for her own poetry and is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Praise / Awards

  • "Never dry and often charged with wit, Hacker's (Essays on Departure) writing reveals a fluent, demanding intellect that urges readers to venture beyond the mainstream."
    Publisher's Weekly, Oct. 2011

  • Marilyn Hacker is the winner of the 2010 Voelcker Award for Poetry, offered biennially by PEN

Look Inside

Copyright © 2011, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

News, Reviews, Interviews

Read: Review of Marilyn Hacker Lambda Literary | 7/15/10

Read: On the Seawall Ronslate.com | 12/13/10  

Read: Review Publisher's Weekly | 9/26/11

Media Kit

Product Details

  • 5.375 x 8.
  • 216pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2010
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-07115-9

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  • $84.95 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2010
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-05115-1

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  • $33.50 U.S.



  • Poetry criticism, Women's poetry, Feminist criticism, Contemporary American poetry, Contemporary poetry in English, Literary translation, Formal poetry, Contemporary French poetry, Political poetry