Alicia SuskinOstriker

Alicia Suskin Ostriker’s award-winning poetry and groundbreaking literary criticism are profoundly shaped by her feminist activism. Ostriker graduated from Brandeis in 1955 and earned her PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 1964. The following year, she began teaching at Rutgers University. She published her first poetry collection, Songs, in 1969, and as of 2014 has published thirteen collections. Her 1980 poem cycle, The Mother/Child Papers, powerfully juxtaposed the Kent State shootings and the US invasion of Cambodia with the unwanted medical interventions in the birth of her third child. In 1986 she wrote Stealing the Language: The Emergence of Women’s Poetry in America, which showed how women writers were forced to work around the prejudices of male-dominated criticism. Her other critical works include 1983’s Writing Like a Woman and 1994’s Nakedness of the Fathers: Biblical Vision and Revision. Ostriker has won countless honors for her work, including fellowships from the Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundations and the National Foundation for the Arts. She was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1996 and 1998, and won the National Jewish Book Award for The Book of Seventy in 2010.


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Being a poet, a Jew, and a woman defines all of Alicia Ostriker's work. She approaches the history of both poetry and Judaism from an unorthodox, feminist point of view.
Institution: Private collection
Date of Birth

New York, NY
United States

Poet, Writer, Editor, Professor

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Alicia Suskin Ostriker." (Viewed on August 8, 2020) <>.


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