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You cannot make a list of Women’s Day Poetry, without including this poem. The earth would shake, much like it did beneath this phenomenal woman’s hips. Maya Angelou‘s Phenomenal Woman is one of the most renowned celebrations of womanhood there is.
This is a poem that smacks you in the heart. Every time I read it, I have to read it again and again and again. Marty McConnell lays bare the truth of letting go, hanging on, being lonely and looking for love. I prefer to read her poem Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell (and you can do so here), but there is also a video of her performing it below.
Andrea Gibson is the kind of woman, other women fall in love with. Sing My Body Electric is an astounding celebration of the body and an exploration of learning to love yourself.
Stacey Anne Chin is brave, bold and beautiful. Here she angrily responds to a misogynistic internet troll. Even just the title is entertaining. Tweet This, You Small Minded Motherfucker.
Marilyn Hacker is a poet of astounding strength. It’s hard to pick one poem, I’d throw them all in. But her poem Iva’s Pantoum is a lyrical dance. For me it’s about a mother and daughter, but it really could be about a relationship between any two women. You can read it here.
Lauren Zuniga is a poetry powerhouse. Personhood is a poem about our rights as women, and abortion. Tender and angry. Zuniga’s gift is preaching without ever sounding preachy.
When I think of feminist poets, Elaine Feeney is one of the first poets that come to mind. Mass is a poem full of humour and Irish culture, with a punch right at the very end. You can listen to it and read it here.
Eavan Boland‘s The Pomegranate is one of the most touching tributes, you will read, to the complex relationships between mothers and their daughters. You can read it here.
In The Way To a Woman’s Heart, Jenesis Fonseca teaches us the lessons her mother showed her. A poem about learning from the mistakes of women who have come before us.
Margaret Atwood‘s Against Still Life, is a powerful piece about looking for connection and answers. The kind of poem that seems to reveal a new truth at each reading. You can have a read here.
Elayne Harrington (aka Temper-Mental MissElayneous) is a feminist who is tired of the way she sees wimmen (not a misspelling) treated. A powerful advocate for wimmen, this is her memorable manifesto
Woman to man by Ai, is a powerful poem about a love affair that feels toxic and dangerous. It’s an angry and startlingly honest woman talking about the darkness of her emotions. You can read it here.
Unsolicited Advice to Girls with Pink Hair and Crooked Teeth by Jeanann Verlee (who is always impeccable) is a gorgeous tribute to the girls that don’t fit in and the women they become.
In the poem Warning, Jenny Joseph pokes fun at the ideas of growing old and the fun she’ll have. While also drawing an important line under the expectations society has of young women. You can read it here.
Sophie Collins has captured the falling apart of a woman in the poem Healers. An astounding description of a woman’s clarity of her own fate. Read it here.
Pretty by Katie Makkai is probably one of the most powerful poems about the pressure on young women to look a certain way. Her energy and the venom with which she recites are both contagious.
Doireann Ni Ghriofa is an irish poet of extraordinary skill. In Birthburst she brings us into the intimate world of childbirth. You can read this gorgeous piece here.
Bodies by Denice Frohman and Ms. Wise, is really important. It shows us the importance of the legacy we hand down to younger women.
Dimitra Xidious writes the most beautiful celebrations of the female body. She explores our sensuality and strength as women, in a way that is liberating to read. You can read one of her poems here (or two).
Lily Myers strikes with a compelling account of how women contain themselves for men. In Shrinking Women, she shows us the way this can manifest itself in our everyday experiences.