Feminist Poetry Recommendations

I am aware that not everyone enjoys reading poetry, but there are too many negative stereotypes about the genre. Contemporary poetry is entirely different from the dull poems we were forced to read in high school English classes. I ended up coming to Susquehanna University and discovering one of my new favorite genres: feminist poetry. There's something magical that happens when you read a poem you love, and it makes the world feel a little bit better. It's challenging to choose a book of poetry because what if you don't like it? Since I've been reading an effusion of poetry lately, I thought it would be helpful if I shared some empowering poems that I've enjoyed.

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The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

What I love about Lovelace's writing is that it's not stereotypical feminist writing. Lovelace praises both the men and women in her life and doesn't display a preference for either gender; instead, stating that everyone is magical in their own right. Lovelace crafts all her writing into narrative poems and the reader feels like, by the time they've finished the book, that they've been on an entire journey with the narrator. For example, each of Lovelace's poetry collections is based on a fairytale topic, and the narrator spends the duration of the poems finding themselves. All of the poems in this collection are empowering, beautifully written, and totally unique. I recommend this collection to people who are reading feminist poetry because this is a good place to start. The Princess Saves Herself in This One is easy to follow and any person can relate to its themes.

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Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur rose to fame during the Instagram poetry trend and has since published several phenomenal poetry collections. Ever since I listened to her one book, Milk and Honey, in audiobook form, I have been impressed with her work. Kaur writes about her Indian heritage, relationships with men, and what has personally empowered her. I love how vulnerable and passionate she is in her writing. Somehow Kaur uses language to describe what I'm thinking about but can't express. This book is perfect for introverted writers and struggling storytellers!

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Say Her Name by Zetta Elliott

This is one of the most underrated feminist works! I devoured it in a day. It's empowering, original, and enthusiastic in its use of experimental forms. You can interpret it almost any way, as a feminist text, as a new poetry style, as a political agenda. This collection is inspired by the #SayHerName campaign in tribute to victims of police violence and Black Lives Matter activists. Each poem is heartfelt and fantastic, one of my favorites being the ones inspired by Audre Lorde's writing. The book is advertised to young Black girls, but I think anyone can read this collection and learn something from it!

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The Girl and the Goddess by Nikita Gill

This poetry collection was published just a few short weeks ago, and it is a must-read! Nikita Gill has already made her mark writing amazing feminist poetry, but I am in love with her newest book. Not only did I find the themes relatable and important, but this collection really sets itself apart by including gorgeous illustrations! Gill includes poems about gender identity, friendship, love, family, and mythology, and I adored every minute of it. If you've already read Gill's poetry, you need to add this other book to your collection. If you've never read a poem by Nikita Gill before, what are you waiting for?

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Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism edited by Danielle Barnhart and Iris Mahan

This is another cruelly underrated feminist read. I found my copy by chance in a bookshop, and now I can't stop recommending it! This is definitely a contemporary work as it references modern issues and conflicts. I admire the unabashed wordplay used in each poem. There's nothing boring about this book at all. It's breathtakingly free, so hopeful and pessimistic at the same time. I wanted to highlight every stanza because that's how beautiful each line was. If there can be yet another point in its favor, the book's cover is gorgeous!

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