Poetry for Man-Haters

Are you a feminist and/or queer woman? Do you enjoy reading poetry in your free time? Do your social and political views sometimes come off as borderline-misandrist? Well fear not, cool individual, do I have a set of poetry recommendations for you. Follow me on this journey while we explore some of the most popular, as well as a few obscure, female and/or lesbian poets that I and your average 21st century man-hater can equally obsess over. 

  1. 1. Sappho

    Stay true to your roots. If you are a queer woman, you likely know Sappho as the 6th century BCE poet who is the namesake of the term sapphic (derived from her name) and lesbian (derived from her birthplace, the Isle of Lesbos). Take some time to appreciate her fragmented poems, especially her most infamous work, Sappho 31, that details her jealously when watching a beautiful woman talk to a man. 

  2. 2. Audre Lorde

    Celebrate queer Women of Color. Audre Lorde is arguably the most successful self-proclaimed, "Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet" of the 20th century (Poetry Foundation). Check out her pieces "Recreation" or "Martha", where Lorde explores her female-female relationships in stunning prose. 

  3. 3. Wu Zao

    Lesbianism was never Western. Female poet, Wu Zao, born in the Zhejiang province of China in 1799 is widely regarded as one of the greatest female poets in Chinese history. She wrote openly erotic love poetry to female courtesans of the time, for example, the piece "For the Courtesan Ch'ing Lin"

  4. 4. Sophia Parnok

    Did you say queer Imperial Russia? I think you did. Sophia Parnok is referred to as the "Russian Sappho", born in Taganrog in 1855. Her work is famous for exploring her identity as a Russian Jew, as well as frequently mentioning several lesbian relationships that she had throughout her life. I would suggest looking at her work, "Poem #59", which references a popular Sappho fragment. 

  5. 5. Adrienne Rich

    Check out the pioneer of lesbian poetic discourse. Adrienne Rich had a hugely influential career and was known as one of the greatest American and feminist poets upon her death in 2012 (Poetry Foundation). Make sure to read her best collection in my opinion, The Dream of a Common Language, featuring lesbian love poems such as "Twenty-One Love Poems [Poem II]"

  6. 6. Alicia Mountain

    She is the cool, lesbian, semi-professional that my parents never wanted me to be. As for an example of a modern queer poet, I present to you Alicia Mountain. Based in NYC, Mountain authored the collection, High Ground Coward in 2018. Make sure to read her pieces, "Electrocardiogram" and "Orange Grove and a View of the Pacific".  

Exploring some of the most popular, as well as a few obscure, female and/or lesbian poets is a never ending journey. Enjoy these recommendations!