Mary Loeffelholz: On "A Mona Lisa"

"A Mona Lisa," which Grimké did publish, can be read both as a poem about the painting and a love poem. "I should like to creep / Through the long brown grasses / That are your lashes," the speaker begins, but she fears the outcome may be drowning, leaving "only white bones / Wavering back and forth" in the beloved's eyes. Traditionally, the famous women of Western art are assumed to pose for (beckon to, or hide their secrets from) desiring male eyes. This poem imagines a different possibility, that the Mona Lisa's mysterious gaze invites another woman, but the poem's ending implies that this possibility is uncertain, perhaps threatening.


Title Mary Loeffelholz: On "A Mona Lisa" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Mary Loeffelholz Criticism Target Angelina Weld Grimké
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 15 Jun 2020
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication Experimental Lives: Women and Literature, 1900-1945
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