“What is particularly powerful about The Pink Guitar is the way its readings of prior texts are simultaneously a form of critical
intervention and poetic evocation. [...] In her writing, DuPlessis allows
herself as much critical and emotional range as possible--of didactic
statement, poetic evocation, theoretical pronouncements, emotional
equivocation, polished writing, and flattened speech. [...] The supreme quality of The Pink Guitar is how
insightfully and thoroughly DuPlessis understands the ways that gender
relations are embedded within signifying practices--and how a feminist writing
practice must disrupt these practices on multiple levels, in multiple ways. The
Pink Guitar establishes a powerful feminist writing practice not because of
DuPlessis’s refusal of authority, transcendence, and singularity, but because
of the ways she redeploys these.” (pp. 322 and 324) Jeanne Heuving, in Contemporary Literature XXXVII, 2 (1996): 315-332.
“Postmodern criticism is marked most of all by
‘self-reflexivity’, by the interweaving of autobiography and theory. Rachel
Blau DuPlessis is a spectacular exponent of this postmodern technique. In her
essays DuPlessis makes daring combinations of her poetry and extracts from her
daily diary together with literary criticism, history and psychoanalysis.” (p.
162) Maggie Humm, A Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Feminist Criticism.
Brighton: Harvester, 1994.
“With the dazzling, sometimes breathtaking The Pink
Guitar, Rachel Blau DuPlessis has produced one of the boldest, most
enlightening, innovative, challenging, and knowledgeable works of feminist
theory to grace the last couple of decades....” (p. 385) Martha Nell Smith, Tulsa
Studies in Women’s Literature 13, 2 (Fall 1994): 385-388.
“This is one of the most pleasurable works of criticism I
have read for years. These essays fuse disparate voices, colloquial,
theoretical, autobiographical. They intercut DuPlessis’ own words with those of
other writers and poets. They draw together aspects of being usually sundered
in criticism, without imposing systems or closure.” [...] Poetry, fiction,
works of art, criticism, theory all appear as different kinds of attempts to
make and unmake meanings [in The Pink Guitar]. Rachel Blau DuPlessis’
book continually asks rather than answers questions, hazards provisional
phrasings which she continually reworks. She draws on a wide range of current
theory, and is, in her own way, a rigorous thinker, but she is concerned with
practice, hers and other’s.” (pp. 171 and 170) Helen Carr, in New Formations 20 (Summer 1993): 167-172.
“In a highly polysemic and mobile style [DuPlessis] then
attempts to actualize through readings of various poets, the relation between
female writers, feminist theory and modernism. In ‘Otherhow,’ the title of one
of her most interesting pieces, she addresses the ‘terrible inadmissible
congruence of gender and poetry,’ by which she alludes to the male-gendered
‘poetic voice’ or ‘genius’ while seeking ‘another kind of textual space through
which and one to which a plethora of “polygynous” practices teem’ as a
plausible female practice of poetry.” (p. 31) “It is salutary that writers and
critics such as Rita Felski, Rachel Blau DuPlessis and Nicole Brossard, for all
their basic differences, are all operative in developing forms of writing that
are wide and sophisticated enough to question the assumptions of deconstruction
at its breaking-point with feminism, hence in developing a practice and
critique utilizing arguments from both movements while remaining resolutely at
their vanguard.” (p. 37) Caroline Bergvall, in fragmente 5 (1993):
“The Pink Guitar is the freshest and most stimulating
collection of critical writing that I’ve read in the last couple of years.
...This is deft improvisation--a dance between the categories and tropes of the
poetic and the critical much in the manner that Lennie Tristano reinterpreted
the jazz tradition in his work.” (p. 9) Joel Lewis, in The Poetry Project
Newsletter #141 (1991): 8-9.