Designated as the prestigious 1989 Lamont Poetry Selection by the Academy of American Poets, and winner of the 1991 American Library Association Gay/Lesbian Book Award, Pratt’s Crime Against Nature is a stunning achievement.

This beautifully crafted sequence of poems takes its title from language in the statute under which the author could have been prosecuted as a lesbian if she had sought legal custody of her children. These are poems of despair, self-doubt, sexual bliss, sexual shame, exhilaration, rage, hope, victory.

In Crime Against Nature, Pratt breathes new life into the words lesbian, poet, mother. Without contradiction or self-denial, she holds herself, her loves, and her children in a world of passion, of power being realized, of wholeness.

A New York Times 1990 Notable Book of the Year:

"This book is a publishing event, but not only because of its radical or its ‘marginalized’ lesbian feminist viewpoint. It deserves maximum attention because it is original, startling in the beauty of its unadorned voice. Ms. Pratt’s poems do possess a very emphatic perspective, but that perspective derives from personal experience. What authenticates the imagination at work here is its refusal of received poetic ideas, as well as an eroticism that is new and fearless in describing women’s love for women. Further, Ms. Pratt’s experience transforms itself into a pure obsession that is Antigone-like: the trauma of separation from her young sons (the result of her husband'’ refusal to accept her lesbianism) flows directly into poetry, first as fixated grief, then as a gradually evolving awareness that becomes a fearless moral stand."
Carol Muske, New York Times Review of Books, January 27, 1991


From the judges of the Academy of American Poets:

"In spare and forceful language Minnie Bruce Pratt tells a moving story of loss and recuperation, discovering linkages between her own disenfranchisement and the condition of other minorities. She makes it plain, in this masterful sequence of poems, that the real crime against nature is violence and oppression."

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year:

"These poems have an emphatic perspective—that of a feminist, lesbian mother—derived from personal experience. They have a familiar, elegant tonal beauty, but each one is a verbal emergency, original and startling."

Selections from Crime Against Nature here and on line at Ploughshares magazine: 

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Order Information

Crime Against Nature by Minnie Bruce Pratt
is currently out-of-print. Occasionally copies can be found at the used book site http://www.abebooks.com.
 
An extensive selection of poems from this book is available in
The Dirt She Ate: Selected and New Poems by Minnie Bruce Pratt (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003).
http://www.upress.pitt.edu/upressIndex.aspx