Poetry written by women, for women
September 22, 2016 6:34 AM   Subscribe

So I recently realized that a favorite poet of mine, Alice Duer Miller, published one more book of poems than I thought she had. I have been consequently wallowing in feminist poetry with snappy meter and rhyme for the last couple of days. Now that I'm done with my book, I'm looking for more poetry that strikes a chord, especially poetry by and about women. Where should I look, and who should I read?

I will read blank verse happily, but I do prefer metered poetry--I just never can seem to find it in the topics I like best. I mentioned Alice Duer Miller, but I also love Margaret Atwood's poetry and Emily Dickinson's. I love everything that Ursula Vernon has ever produced, which includes her occasional poems, and "This Vote is Legally Binding" struck just the right itch. Susan Donnelly's "Inoculation" worked well for me, too. So did Jennifer Sweeney's "How to Make Armor" and Denise Levertov's "In Mind" and Ann Sexton's "The Black Art."

On a less explicitly political note, Marilyn Hacker's "you did say, need me less and I'll want you more" was also an example of a second category of poetry about women I really love. Songs, which are basically poems set to music anyway, are fine; there I think Tracy Chapman, Dessa, and Vienna Teng hit the right mix of evocative and vivid emotional imagery that I really like.

Where do I find the good stuff?
posted by sciatrix to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Adrienne Rich; Audre Lord; Diane Di Prima; Alice Walker; Marge Piercy; Anne Waldman; Carolyn Kyser.
posted by mareli at 6:41 AM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Katha Pollitt
posted by 15L06 at 7:07 AM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sharon Olds
posted by drlith at 7:36 AM on September 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

This talented young woman is the daughter of a former coworker.

Jane Huffman

And I think might fit the bill for what you're looking for.

Peonies, by Jane Huffman
posted by bricksNmortar at 7:42 AM on September 22, 2016

mareli already mentioned, but I'll repeat Diane Di Prima. She was part of the Beat group of the 60s, from New York and San Francisco area. Her work often deals with feminism, leftist politics, and spirituality (usually in Eastern and Neo-Pagan forms). Her book "Loba" is a vast exploration of feminist spirituality, drawing from a range of mythologies and images.
posted by dnash at 8:18 AM on September 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Heather McHugh, C.D. Wright, Anne Carson, Mary Ruefle.
posted by torridly at 8:49 AM on September 22, 2016

Bronwen Wallace
posted by SyraCarol at 9:49 AM on September 22, 2016

Stevie Smith
posted by MsMolly at 10:07 AM on September 22, 2016

Carol Ann Duffy, especially The World's Wife
posted by cadge at 10:08 AM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I discovered Wendy Cope recently and enjoyed reading her collection Serious Concerns
posted by JonB at 10:25 AM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Eavan Boland, specifically Against Love Poetry
posted by fshgrl at 10:53 AM on September 22, 2016

Judy Grahn
and Eeva Kilpi, though i'm not entirely sure if her work has been translated (formally) into English
posted by speakeasy at 11:59 AM on September 22, 2016

Surely you've thought of it, but Dorothy Parker's collected poems are full of total mic-drops.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:43 PM on September 22, 2016

Jane Hirshfield
Jane Kenyon
Lisel Mueller
Linda Pastan
Sharon Olds
Adrienne Rich
Lucille Clifton
Joy Harjo
Kay Ryan
Mary Oliver
posted by enzymatic at 3:57 PM on September 22, 2016

Louise Gl├╝ck!
posted by Ragged Richard at 5:23 PM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Roz Kaveney!
posted by Mistress at 8:49 PM on September 22, 2016

May Swenson
Denise Duhamel
posted by valannc at 9:44 PM on September 22, 2016

Judith Wright
posted by jojobobo at 12:53 AM on September 23, 2016

Daphne Marlatt, especially "Touch to My Tongue"
Nicole Brossard
posted by GreenEyed at 12:22 PM on September 23, 2016

Maggie Nelson is really good; Bluets is a good place to start with her.

The Minola Review is a fairly new online journal that publishes exactly this kind of poetry.
posted by spindle at 9:39 AM on September 25, 2016

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