Scheming Women

Poetry, Privilege, and the Politics of Subjectivity

By Cynthia Hogue

Subjects: American Literature
Series: SUNY series in Feminist Criticism and Theory
Paperback : 9780791426227, 262 pages, September 1995
Hardcover : 9780791426210, 262 pages, September 1995

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents




1. Conceiving a Girl: Introduction to a Female Poetic Subjectivity

2. "I Did'nt Be-Myself": Emily Dickinson's Semiotics of Presence

3. Less is Moore: Moore's Poetic Subject

4. Equi/Vocations: H.D.'s Demasculinization of the Subject in Helen in Egypt

5. Living with/in Difference: Adrienne Rich's Double Vision


Works Cited


This book uses post structuralist, psychoanalytic, and feminist theories to read the poetry of Dickinson, Moore, H.D., and Rich.


Scheming Women charts a trajectory of American female poetic speakers from within a heterosexual lyric framework to bisexual and lesbian subjects outside that pervasive frame. In close readings of Dickinson, Moore, H.D., and Rich, the author makes a new argument about the division that permeates their poetic speaking subjects. Postulating a revolutionary female subject, she extends Julia Kristeva's theory of poetic language through an intertextual approach, and shows that these relatively advantaged female poets destructure the very poetic power they are able to assert. Hogue concludes that in not reproducing positions of dominance and privilege indicative of larger cultural trends, these key poets exemplify important alternatives to class, race, and gender hierarchies—persuasively demonstrating the promise of what she terms an ethical feminist poetic practice.

Cynthia Hogue is Assistant Professor of English at Bucknell University. She has previously published two collections of poetry, The Women in Red and Where the Parallels Cross.


"Few critics today are both well versed in contemporary theoretical debates and skilled readers of poetry. Hogue manages both categories of analysis with conviction and grace. This book will join a very small number of others in filling a significant gap in feminist criticism, namely that of theoretically informed and knowledgeable analysis of the poems and poetic projects of major American women poets. This is excellent and important work." --Cristanne Miller, Pomona College

"Cynthia Hogue's Scheming Women lays supple hands on a body of theory the death announcement of which she demonstrates to have been premature. Hogue revivifies psychoanalytic theory in her deft revoicing of lyric poetry and its imbrication in cultural constructions of subjectivity and its border territories."--Lynda Zwinger, University of Arizona