National Poetry Month: The women’s six-pack

National Poetry Month posterSo 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:

  1. 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.
  2. #324 — Emily Dickinson.  Lots of poems to choose from here, but I think this one will amuse frequent visitor and fellow literary chap Misha.
  3. Poetry — Marianne Moore.  How do we find the “imaginary gardens with real toads”?  This is the challenge faced by all fiction writers.
  4. We Real Cool — Gwendolyn Brooks.  The voice here is cutting, powerful, and important.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?


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