whatever Rochelle was about as a writer had much to do with positioning herself in the world. Fundamentally, the speaker of her poems felt she didn’t belong here or could be here only by the most strenuous efforts of accommodating herself to an inhospitable world, or ignoring it altogether. This sounds like the description of a confessional poet, and while she wrote during the heyday of that kind of poetry, and recognized the necessity, no matter what you wrote, of writing from the self, she avoided the self-flagellations that felt like self-advertisements, common to the poetry of Lowell, Plath, Sexton, Berryman and others. As with any poetry, what her work presents is not, strictly, her life but the life her art and its vision called for. The result, just in bibliographic terms, is a large body of diverse work, only the main portion of which is poetry, the one I’m sure she would have put first among her kinds of work, had she ever had reason to choose among them. For someone who never reached 60, it’s a prolific body of work.
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