Review of The Virgin of Bennington

Citation metadata

Author: A. J. Hewat
Editor: Jeffrey W. Hunter
Publisher: Gale, part of Cengage Group
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 739 words

Document controls

Main content

Article Preview :

[(review date spring 2001) In the following review, Hewat finds that The Virgin of Bennington is not the memoir it appears to be but that its extended biographical treatment of Betty Kray is well worth reading.]

"My story ... begins with an untidy but cheerful job interview on a snowy day in early December 1968," writes Norris [in The Virgin of Bennington]. A senior at Bennington College in Vermont, and an aspiring poet, Norris had gone down to New York to apply for an assistant's job at the Academy of American Poets. The director of the Academy, Elizabeth Kray, then in her mid-fifties, was friendly with one of Norris's professors at Bennington (a poet with whom Norris was about to lose her virginity). Norris was nervous about her lack of sophistication and East Coast credentials--her family was from South Dakota and Hawaii, where her father played in the Honolulu Symphony. Precisely for those deficiencies, the woman gave Norris the job.

Betty Kray, as Norris discovered, was that rare soul, a true appreciator of poetry without ambition to be a poet herself. Kray sent...

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|H1100080189