Women's History
Book Reviews


Women in Praise of the Sacred:
43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women

Edited by Jane Hirshfield, HarperCollins, 1994

This anthology is truly world history in scope. The selections are not numerous, but are presented with full page background information on the author and her times. Beginning with the hymns of the world's earliest identified author, the Sumerian priestess Enheduanna, and ending with a lovely poem written by a Korean Buddhist nun in the 1950s, the book celebrates female expressions from the major religious traditions of East and West, as well as from several indigenous cultures. It joins earlier poetry and prose collections which are also well worth acquiring: Women Poets of the World, Bankier & Lashcari, eds. MacMillan Press, 1983; A Book of Women Poets from Antiquity to Now, Schocken Books, 1980; The Defiant Muse Series from the Feminist Press at the City University of New York, and European & American literature in by a Woman writt: Literature from Six Centuries by and about Women, Joan Gouliano, Penguin Books, 1973.

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