list of favorite female poets

by katefantastic

I’m interning right now at the fabulous CALYX, Inc., a feminist publishing company, & it’s inspired me to think about women writers. Mostly, about how I do & don’t read them.

Mostly, I haven’t been reading nearly as much as I would like. I think partly it’s because I’m home right now, wanting to squeeze in as much time with my people as possible, & reading can be such a solitary act. Reading is also good, grounding & inspiring for me, & sometimes that’s worth a little alone time. It certainly improves the quality of my together time.

So, there is more more more reading to be done. This list, folks, is the “before” photo.

1. Marge Piercy: the first poet I ever loved. Homegirl completely changed the course of my life. Whew.

2. Maggie Nelson: I used to have this thing about standardizing punctuation in a poem. If some of the sentences end in periods but others don’t, I’m pretty much in bonkers-red-pen mode. It is a testament to Nelson that her work convinced me that sometimes, disarray is the way. Her poems felt, when I found them a few years ago, like they were in a voice eerily close to mine, a little older, a little more dangerous. Perfect, perfect.

3. Jane Mead: Oh lord. Oh Lord and the General Din of the World. That book! Is so good! Concerning That Prayer I Cannot Make convinced me for a minute that it might be possible to have a favorite poem.

4. Anne Sexton: Speaking of prayers, you could go read With Mercy for the Greedy right now & then come back. You did that? Right? It’s astounding. Anne Sexton had ridiculous amounts of talent. Again, a life-changer.

5. Claudia Rankine: author of Please Don’t Let Me Be Lonely. Imma be real, I haven’t read more than that one book. Just saying, that’s all it took.

Honorable Mention–Thylias Moss: Slave Moth blew my mind and heavily informed The Joy Experiments. &, I’m still working on connecting with some of her denser, more experimental work.


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