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Women poets

Yesterday, or so my f'list tells me, was National Poetry Day. The BBC, in celebration, posted the nation's top ten poets. None, as brisingamen observed, were female. Five females made the also-ran list. She challenged her readers to come up with a list of (at least) ten female poets. Here's what I got out of reading all the post and comments responding to her challenge (although I have failed to stick with the UK):

Sappho, Bronte, Angelou,
Smith, Brown, Hacker,
Stein, Plath, Montagu,
Sexton, Bishop, Parker,

Rich, Duffy, Dickinson
Plath, Teasdale, Livesay,
Webb, Wright, Winterson,
Walton, Yolen, Katsuri.

"Female poets? Worthy? Pro?"
"I can't think of any, no."



Oct. 9th, 2009 03:28 pm (UTC)
I haven't thought about it enough to defend or strongly condemn the BBC on this one yet (though it does seem a bit odd to say the least)...
However at least some of the people you list, may not be thought of as poets, especially if one's idea of a poet is someone who starves in a garret and occasionally sends out a few verses of prose as their only written work. For example, Maya Angelou does not spring to my mind as a poet, but as a writer (of prose), despite being both, because I happen to have read 3 of her books and zero of her poetry.
Oct. 9th, 2009 03:37 pm (UTC)
I failed to include Mary Stewart since I suspect almost no one thinks of her as a poet; but I have a volume of her published verse.

You're right that not everyone I've listed escaped the metaphorical poetic garret, but that's true of some of the men already on the BBC's list too.

I included some poets on this list whose work I don't know, but which were listed in other peoples' comments or posts; largely in the name of scansion, rhyme, and other peoples' authority.
Oct. 9th, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
I've read Angelou's poetry and I wouldn't include her on the list!

I would, however, add Eavan Boland, Denise Levertov and Muriel Rukeyser.