Not only is March Women’s History Month, but March 8 was International Women’s Day. I am celebrating women by reading historical books read by women, for women, such as “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” which I covered in this column last week. For those who want shorter but just as meaningful messages, though, a great way to celebrate women everywhere is through their poetry.
Potentially the most well-known female poet is Emily Dickinson. She has many great mysterious, riddle-like works, but this one stands out as one for 2021. In these unprecedented times, I believe we are all full of birds of hope.
Though the poem was originally written by Jorge Luis Borges, Veronica A. Shoffstall added a stanza and copyrighted this poem in 1971. This bittersweet poem is about growing and learning as a person, especially in relationships. Perhaps what stands out the strongest is, “And you begin to accept your defeats / With your head up and your eyes open, / With the grace of a woman, / Not the grief of a child.” Though this poem can be dedicated to any gender, it speaks especially to women in times of sorrow.
Like most of Rupi Kaur’s work, this brief poem says a lot in a very few words. In a sense, this is the quintessential poem for both International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, as it not only highlights past women’s efforts, but the world through the eyes of a modern woman seeing what they can do next.
Reese Levya is a Pacific Northwestern writer and poet who is most well-known for her poem, “Remember, Woman.” It is a brief but powerful poem dedicated to the present woman, reminding her of what she is (a “life giver, miracle creator, magic maker”) and who she has been. Levya highlights how women were “born with the fire of Queens & conquerors” and “with the wisdom of sages & shamans.” Though a modern poem, it is a wonderful dedication to International Women’s Day as well as Women’s History Month.
You can read more of Reese Levya’s poetry here.
There are so many more women in poetry, historical and modern, but this list may serve as a way to reflect upon the voices of women everywhere.