|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, Pratts 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. Pratts 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 womens
love for women. Further, Ms. Pratts 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
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 perspectivethat of a feminist, lesbian
motherderived from personal experience. They have a familiar, elegant tonal beauty,
but each one is a verbal emergency, original and startling."
from Crime Against Nature here and on line at Ploughshares
for Crime Against Nature
Reviews of Crime
Crime Against Nature by Minnie Bruce Pratt
is currently out-of-print.
Occasionally copies can be found at the used book site
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).