Her Slender Dress

by Susan Yuzna

Pages: 73

Size: 6 x 9
Series: Akron Series in Poetry


Winner of the 1995 Akron Poetry Prize
Winner of the
1997 Norma Farber First Book Award, Poetry Society of America

Her Slender Dress, the first volume of poetry to win the Akron Poetry Prize, follows Virginia Woolf’s advice to women writers: to move out of the sitting room and into reality. The staccato, often fragmented, syntax of these poems is an attempt to recreate an attitude of perception in which the postmodern female is “assaulted” by various stimuli with the dizzying speed made possible by the electronic age. The world now happens faster than it can possibly be integrated into an individual consciousness.

The postmodern American reality for women consists of a society in which the confrontation with “the streets” (including drug abuse, sexual or physical abuse) can be as immediate, as influential as the previous zone of power and comfort, “home.”

But motherhood and marriage continue in importance, despite the changing cultural expectations. The title, taken from Blake’s “Little Girl Lost” of the “Songs of Innocence,” reflects the essential and unifying element of this book: Her Slender Dress is more than a Vogue magazine cover, but may be interpreted as Blake’s simple, elegant image of female corporeality. And it is from the physical body, the slender dress, that both the pain and the joy of being female emanate.

There is no let-up in the linguistic intensity, imagistic intensity, or narrative intensity. The spirit of the word-warrior is in this writer. Its aura surrounds each one of these poems, creating a mesmerizing and disturbing book out of a deep and iron-bound necessity.
—Charles Wright

Susan Yuzna’s Her Slender Dress is a breathtaking and memorable debut. These are poems of such clarity, such harrowing self-reckoning, that the reader–like the poet herself–emerges bruised but triumphant. Beautifully and powerfully written, Her Slender Dress instantly places Susan Yuzna among the finest poets of her generation.
—David St. John

About the author

Susan Yuzna, a native of Minnesota, teaches writing at the University of North Dakota. She has a BA in English from the University of Iowa and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Montana. Her first book, Her Slender Dress, won the Akron Poetry Prize and the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. She has held a Bush Artist Fellowship and the Richard Hugo Memorial Poetry Scholarship, and has been resident at several artist colonies, including Yaddo and MacDowell.

Other books by Susan Yuzna

Additional information


Akron Series in Poetry


Susan Yuzna

Pub date



poetry; akron poetry prize; postmodern woman; abuse

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