Thursday, October 8, 2015

Celebrating Three Brilliant Female Poets for #NationalPoetryDay

Today is National Poetry Day and so it seems fitting to celebrate some fantastic women poets. We hope these inspire you.





Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson defied perceived limitations becoming an extremely popular poet in a time when most women used male pseudonyms to publish their work. Challenging conventions of the time by being both well-educated and never marrying, her poetry often confronted what it meant to be a woman in her era. In her poem 'She Rose to His Requirement' she talks trivially of 'the playthings of her life' reflecting how women often put away their own hopes and aspirations as though they were nothing to rise to expectations of being a wife, mother and home maker.

She Rose to His Requirement

She rose to His Requirement—dropt
The Playthings of Her Life
To take the honorable Work
Of Woman, and of Wife—

If ought She missed in Her new Day,
Of Amplitude, or Awe—
Or first Prospective—Or the Gold
In using, wear away,

It lay unmentioned—as the Sea
Develop Pearl, and Weed,
But only to Himself—be known
The Fathoms they abide— 



Carol Ann Duffy

The first female, Scottish Poet Laureate in the role's 400 year history holding the role since 2009. Her poetry often explores gender inequality and oppression, with famous poem Little Red Cap looks at male-dominated fairytale Little Red Riding Hood and the loss of innocence.

Little Red Cap

I lost both shoes

but got there, wolf’s lair, better beware. Lesson one that night,
breath of the wolf in my ear, was the love poem.
I clung till dawn to his thrashing fur, for
what little girl doesn’t dearly love a wolf?
Then I slid from between his heavy matted paws
and went in search of a living bird – white dove –

which flew, straight, from my hands to his hope mouth.



Maya Angelou

American writer, Maya Angelou survived a tough childhood and early adulthood to become a singer, actress, activist, and writer. In 1993, she came to much wider attention when she recited a poem of her own composition at the first inauguration of President Bill Clinton. Here is her fantastic poem Phenomenal woman.

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing of my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can't see.
I say
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
The palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.


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