POEMS FROM THE WOMEN'S MOVEMENT -- poems that gave voice to a revolution, from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s
Poems From the Women's Movement by Honor Moore (2009, Library of America; 200 pages)
Poet and writer Honor Moore was a witness to the beginning of the modern women’s movement, a movement born in the 1970s. This book is a collection edited by her and, as she points out in her fantastic introduction, gives eloquent voice to lives that had been unspoken. In fact, poetry was vital to the movement, and as a friend of Moore’s claims in the introduction: “The women’s movement was poetry.”
This incredible collection is part of the American Poets Project from the Library of America and spans works from 1965 to 1982. These two decades altered the face of American poetry forever, and savoring this book, you can dive in on the work of 58 woman poets and nearly a hundred poems. The selection of this poems offers a portrait of how the inner lives of women came into language during that crucial decade and a half. The reader can find this manifesto in poems that range from furious to contemplative, from outright funny to analytical, grief-stricken to visionary. The reader will also find a new language, at least one new to her or him - a language that places the core and power on speaking what was hidden, to show how women start identifying with one another and becoming a “we.”
The poet opening the book of poems is Sylvia Plath, and the selected poem is The Applicant, a work that starts with a radical question: “First, are you our sort of a person?” From there the book navigates among incredible literature written by woman poets that answer many questions. In “Polemic #1,” a poem by Honor Moore we learn:
“This is the poem to say “Write poems, women” because I want to
read them, because for too long, we have had mostly men’s lives
or men’s imaginations wandering through
our lives, because even the women’s lives we have details of
come through a male approval desire filter which diffuses imagination, that most free part of ourselves.”
And that poem tells you what this fantastic collection is all about.
Also, though it's too long to include here, be sure to check out “I Like to Think of Harriet Tubman” by Susan Griffin, one of the poems that touched me the most.
Honor Moore, the editor of this wonderful book of women’s poetry, has authored three collections of her own poetry, Red Shoes, Darling, and Memoir, and she has also written plays and a celebrated memoir, The Bishop's Daughter, which was a National Book Award finalist.
If you like poetry, and you want to listen women’s voices, this is a book that will delight you.
Find this title in our catalog: Poems From the Women's Movement
Recommended by: Maite