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
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
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.
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
- 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
- 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)
* * * * *
Other critical writings have appeared in:
Links to Rochelle Ratner's criticism on the Internet:
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
- from Speaking in Tongues: A Study of Persona in American.Canadian, and British
Poetry -- written in 1984, this critical study has never been published.Now Galatea Resurrects will be publishing selected chapters.
- The Poetry of Put-On
examines the work of Bill Knott, Andrei Codrescu, Armand Schwerner, and Jack Spicer.
- Mythic & Heroic Women discusses writings by HD, Diane DiPrima, and Margaret Atwood.
Note -- the entire book, which begins with the works of Tennyson and Browning, is available for publication if a press is interesred.
- Rochelle Owens:
Personae Circa 1980 (From Rochelle Owen's Home Page)
John Taggart's Slow Song for Mark Rothko and Inside Out (With KarlYoung, from John Taggart
issue of Paper Air magazine, edited by Gil Ott)
Real Things: An Anthology of Popular Culture in American Poetry, Edited by Jim Elledge
and Susan Swartout
Girl Imagined by Chance by Lance Olsen
The Poetry Renaissance (on e-chapbooks published free on the internet,
from American Book Review, March-April 2004)
- Bonfire Of The Vanities
(on the shifting understanding of self-publishing)
- Help Wanted
: Submitting Books For Review - The Formalities, from Small Press Magazine, 1984