In the U.S. literary world, critics and scholars of poetry forever move in circles around a few sacred beings; Shakespeare, Keats, Poe, Blake, Byron, Whitman, Shelley, and T. S. Eliot. Even among our women poets there are three Empresses - Dickinson, Moore, and Plath - who beguile countless eager academic courtiers to their thrones. Sadly, it was Plath's early death by suicide that won her great devotion. But it is no more odd than the fact that their prestige has kept the great achievements of our mainstream lyrical women poets unrecognized, stifled, and hidden from readers' eyes. Even the few women lyricists w ho remain in print - such as Millay, H.D., and Bogan - appear in demeaning printed versions with everything they wrote being stuffed between two covers with no regard for assessing the poems' quality and no help from sympathetic editors. Conversely, in selections of their poetry, only the most academic verses are chosen to represent their poetry. Covering the period from Emily Dickinson to the present day, this anthology collects classic women poets in one volume for the first time. It proposes that their best poems have a value different from but equal to the writings of the most admired poets. With a few exceptions, the eighteen poets included are represented by coherent sequences of poems that develop lines of thought and display the poets' stylistic brilliance. Part Four consists of critical-biographical essays on these women. These incorporate extensive biobliographies, which enhance the book's value as a reference tool. Though many of these poets' volumes are out of print, and most of them are unknown even to the most literate readers, these women belong at the center of American literature, masters of their art who contributed unique insights into the human experience.