Four 20th century Feminist poets you should know about
Before women could turn to social media or organize slut-walks, their most powerful tool was (and still is) a pen. The English author, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, said: ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’ but some women actually proved this. The twentieth century saw the feminist movement take a great turn that resulted in equal rights for women for the first time in centuries. Along with the protestors and leaders, the women poets and writers played a very important role in awakening and empowering the suppressed women.
Today, we give you four such feminist women poets:
“The fact that the adult American Negro female emerges a formidable character is often met with amazement, distaste and even belligerence. It is seldom accepted as an inevitable outcome of the struggle won by survivors, and deserves respect if not enthusiastic acceptance.”
One of the most dynamic women born in the past century, Maya Angelou is world-wide recognized poet and author. Having written about subjects like gender, racism, identity, family, and travel; Angelou was mainly prized as a spokesperson for black people and women. She famously said, “I’m a feminist. I’ve been a female for a long time now. I’d be stupid to not be on my own side.”
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
Credited with advancing of the confessional poetry genre, Plath has continued to inspire many feminists through her poetry. After a failed marriage, Plath lived and worked as a single mother and yet continued to write poems. Coming from a generation where women existed for, and because of the men in their lives, Plath found her own voice and continued to write untill her untimely death.
“It’s high time we talked about female sexuality, what the female body is, images of female sexuality, what women really desire. For years women have not been allowed to explore what their self-images are, what could be possible self-images, or what images of desire are. These issues are fascinating to me!”
Acker was a sex-positive American poet, and novelist who was considered a post-modern feminist writer. Her work, often considered controversial, was both loved by feminists; for an unapologetic approach towards women’s sexuality and criticized by some, because of the violence. Nonetheless, Acker was a revolutionary poet and has since inspired many to take up her writing style.
“The poem is built of non-sequiturs, because that’s what’s left in the wake of the death. We cannot follow the dead, whether they are persons or ideas. Instead we remain, but in a situation that, in their absence, makes no sense.”
An American poet and essayist, Hejinian is considered a leading language writer (an aesthetic, political, and social movement of Bay Area poets). A recipient of several awards, she currently teaches poetics at University of California, Berkeley and sponsors the NBC Thursday Night DeCal course at UC Berkeley.
[Featured Picture Courtesy: Funny or Die.com]