Celebrating Women’s History Month

As March, and Women’s History Month, comes to a close, I thought I’d mark the cause by sharing some great poems from some great poets.

Amy Lowell’s “Penumbra

The Modernist poet Amy Lowell wrote a ton throughout her life. Among the some 650 published poems is “Penumbra,” a beautiful piece that imagines the world, and more specifically, her house,  as it will be once she’s gone.

from “Penumbra”

Sitting here in the Summer night,
I think of my death.
What will it be like for you then?
You will see my chair
With its bright chintz covering
Standing in the afternoon sunshine,
As now.
You will see my narrow table
At which I have written so many hours.
My dogs will push their noses into your hand,
And ask—ask—
Clinging to you with puzzled eyes.

Lola Ridge’s “Altitude

Irish-American poet Lola Ridge is perhaps best known for her longer works that explore, in part, the effects of capitalism on the disenfranchised. She was also an influential editor for several avant-garde literary magazines of the time. Her focus on the politics of class can, to a certain degree, be seen even in shorter works such as “Altitude,” a brief poem full of beauty and longing.

I wonder
How it would be here with you,
Where the wind
That has shaken off its dust in low valleys
Touches one cleanly,
As with a new-washed hand,
And pain
Is as the remote hunger of droning things,
And anger
But a little silence
Sinking into the great silence.

Marianne Moore’s “Poetry

Perhaps one of Marianne Moore’s greatest strengths as a poet was her ability to bend and force words into a form while maintaining the raw and forceful feeling of a spontaneous confession. Her prowess can be seen in any number of her poems, but, her mastery, wit, and honesty come to full bore in her take on the very art she worked so hard to create.

from “Poetry”

the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand

 Hilda “H.D.” Doolittle’s “Evening

Having moved to London prior to start of World War I, H.D. met and befriended the hugely influential Ezra Pound. While a majority of her work focuses on her interest in Greek mythology, the influence of the Imagists such as Pound certainly sneak through in works such as “Evening.”

The light passes
from ridge to ridge,
from flower to flower—
the hepaticas, wide-spread
under the light
grow faint—
the petals reach inward,
the blue tips bend
toward the bluer heart
and the flowers are lost.


The cornel-buds are still white,
but shadows dart
from the cornel-roots—
black creeps from root to root,
each leaf
cuts another leaf on the grass,
shadow seeks shadow,
then both leaf
and leaf-shadow are lost.
As you might have noticed, I tended to focus on a particular time period, Modernism. I’d love to hear what some of your favorite poems by female poets are.

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