Rochelle Ratner's

The journey from poet to critic to novelist was a heavily intertwined one for Rochelle Ratner. It begins shortly after she moved to New York, when she wrote two poetry columns for the soon-to-be-defunct East Village Other. She joined the staff of American Book Review in 1978, was Executive Editor from 1982 to 2005, and she continued her association with ABR as Associate Editor until the end of her life. She reviewed several poetry books a year for Library Journal, and also audio fiction and poetry titles for Library Journal. In late 2006 she began regularly reviewing audio books for Audiofile Magazine.

Had her editor at Soho Weekly News (where she wrote a regular poetry column from 1975 to 1982) not encouraged her to review some of the more "poetic" novels, she probably wouldn't have begun writing fiction herself.

Other highlights of her reviewing career included serving on the National Book Critics Circle board of directors for six years (where she also edited the NBCC Newsletter and chaired the Poetry and Reviewer's Citation committees), writing a monthly small press column for Library Journal, and working as a regular poetry reviewer for Publishers Weekly from 1989-1997.

She was a panelist on "Reviewing Reviewing" at the AWP Conference (2004) and "Poetry & Reviewing: The State of the Art" (Poets House, 1992). In 2000 she conducted a workshop, "The Poet as Reviewer," also at Poet's House.

Trying To Understand What It Means To Be A Feminist:
Essays on Women Writers

Format: Paperback, 100pp.
ISBN: 0936556102
Publisher: Contact/II Publications
Pub. Date: January 1983

"This collection of Rochelle Ratner's reviews serves as a valuable introduction to some of the most important themes and writers in contemporary women's literature."
      - Jessica Tarahata Hagedorn

"Finally, and, to my mind, most interesting of all, among these reviews and essays written over a number of years Rochelle Ratner inscribes her own paso por aqui, a good critic's and poet's honest account of her own changing perceptions of women's poetry. She passed this way, and she's got some provocative ideas about both earlier and contemporary travelers through the territory."     
     - Patricia Smith

(includes essays and reviews of H.D., Helen Adam, Denise Levertov, Diane DiPrima, Diane Wakoski, Rochelle Owens, Susan Sherman, Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, Yvonne, Leslie Silko, Carolyn Forché, Susan Howe, Muriel Rukeyser, Adrienne Rich, and Laura Riding)

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Other critical writings have appeared in:
The New York Times Book Review, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Voice of America's American Writing Today, The Baltimore Sun, The Chicago Sun-Times, Newsday, Raleigh News & Observer, Kirkus Reviews, The Columbus Dispatch, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Small Press, Vermont Life, Midstream, Parabola, Film Quarterly, The Minnesota Review, Helicon Nine, Contact II, Margins, Ararat, New Women's Times, & other magazines. Selections from several reviews reprinted in Gale Research's Contemporary Literary Criticism  

Links to Rochelle Ratner's criticism on the Internet: