So a few days back I kicked off National Poetry Month with a “six pack” of poems I liked. I was horrified to discover that, among my numerous oversights, I hadn’t chosen a single poem by a woman. Does this mean my subconscious has betrayed my feminist street cred? Ugh.
But I need to make amends. So here, again with minimal explanation, are six poems by women I like:
- The Prologue — Anne Bradstreet. One of the most interesting facts about American “Literature” (define it how you will) is that the first published author in New England was a woman. While she’s better known for her more “domestic” poems, I always prefer this one, as it gives the reader / student some good things to chew on.
- #324 — Emily Dickinson. Lots of poems to choose from here, but I think this one will amuse frequent visitor and fellow literary chap Misha.
- Poetry — Marianne Moore. How do we find the “imaginary gardens with real toads”? This is the challenge faced by all fiction writers.
- We Real Cool — Gwendolyn Brooks. The voice here is cutting, powerful, and important.
- The Well — Denise Levertov. This is one I’ve only recently come across. I really like it, and want an excuse for teaching it in combination with something like Speak, perhaps.
- Living in Sin — Adrienne Rich. It’s the details in this poem that always attracted me; the “beetle-eyes”; the yawn of the boyfriend. The cat actually prompted me to write a fiction story once.
Again, no order or ranking is intended here. These are just a set of poems by women I like. There are others. Anyone have any other favorites?