Women's Strength

My Mother by Ellen Bryant Voigt

‘My Mother’ by Ellen Bryant Voigt explores a speaker’s understanding of her mother and how her mother considered her as she aged.

The One Who Goes Away by Sujata Bhatt

‘The One Who Goes Away’ by Sujata Bhatt shares her emotional journey of leaving India and traveling to America. She entails the internal struggle to define what ‘home’ is during that period.

Void in Law by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

‘Void in Law’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning depicts the scuffle many Victorian women endured after getting married. The woman has been left alone with no real resources by a husband who prefers to spend time with his mistress.

The Same Note by Jackie Kay

‘The Same Note’ by Jackie Kay depicts Bessie Smith’s musical ability and how she could unite people from all walks of life. 

In the Seventh Year by Jackie Kay

‘In the Seventh Year’ by Jackie Kay is a short, beautiful lyric poem. It describes the timeless and changing nature of a speaker’s relationship.

Queenhood by Simon Armitage

‘Queenhood’ by Simon Armitage was written to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022. It celebrates the Queen’s lifetime of service and describes the unique features of her life. 

Plague by Jackie Kay

‘Plague’ by Jackie Kay is a poem about death, specifically about the plague in London and how a mother is forced to contend with the knowledge that both her sons are going to die.

Women and Roses by Robert Browning

‘Women and Roses’ by Robert Browning conveys a man’s perspective on women throughout time. They are represented by three apples on his metaphorical apple tree.

Amethyst Beads by Eavan Boland

‘Amethyst Beads’ by Eavan Boland alludes to Greek mythology and the suffering of a child, Persephone, after she was separated from her mother, Demeter.

Anorexic by Eavan Boland

‘Anorexic’ by Eavan Boland conveys the mindset of a woman determined to destroy her physical body through starvation and filled with hatred for her sinful past, as according to the Biblical story of Adam and Eve.

Break of Day by John Donne

‘Break of Day’ by John Donne is an aubade told from a female perspective. It conveys a woman’s understanding of her relationship with a busy lover. 

She rose to His Requirement—dropt

‘She rose to His Requirement – dropt’ by Emily Dickinson speaks to the lack of freedom and respect women had in Dickinson’s time. It emphasizes the confining nature of marriage and society’s expectations for a married woman.

Sonnet 35 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

‘Sonnet 35’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning expresses the speaker’s worries about the changes in her life. She embarks on a new life with her beloved and hopes he’s ready to accept her in the same way she’s accepting him.

Sonnet 8 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

‘Sonnet 8’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, also known as ‘What can I give thee back, O liberal,’ is a Petrarchan sonnet. It explores the poet’s relationship with her new lover, Robert Browning. 

A still— Volcano —Life

‘A still— Volcano —Life’ by Emily Dickinson is an unforgettable poem that uses an extended metaphor to describe the life of the poet. She compares herself to a volcano that erupts under the cover of darkness.

I can wade Grief-

‘I can wade Grief-‘ by Emily Dickinson is a fairly simple poem about strength in the face of sorrow. The speaker describes the detrimental effect of happiness during a period of struggle.

Who in One Lifetime by Muriel Rukeyser

‘Who in One Lifetime’ by Muriel Rukeyser is a poem about resistance in the face of war and suffering. The speaker asserts that a woman referred to only as “she” is standing strong despite what she’s seen. 

Singapore by Mary Oliver

‘Singapore’ by Mary Oliver is a highly relatable poem that speaks about life’s struggles and the beauty of mundane and graceful work. It is set in an airport bathroom in Singapore. 

The Language of the Brag by Sharon Olds

‘The Language of the Brag’ by Sharon Olds is an unforgettable poem about the strength and exceptionality of women’s bodies. It is set against the backdrop of giving birth. 

A Woman Waits for Me by Walt Whitman

Formerly known as ‘Poem of Procreation,’ Whitman’s ‘A Woman Waits for Me’ is all about the power of regeneration, procreation, and creativity.

To a Dark Girl by Gwendolyn Bennett

‘To a Dark Girl’ by Gwendolyn Bennett is a moving and inspiring poem that seeks to uplift Black girls and women and remind them of their beauty and strength. 

Fragment by Angelina Weld Grimké

‘Fragment’ by Angelina Weld Grimké is a short and powerful poem in which a woman discusses, in simple terms, who she is and how she toils on a day-to-day basis.

The Mechanic by Diane Wakoski

‘The Mechanic’ by Diane Wakoski discusses men’s intuitive powers and the complexity of women’s hearts. The poet uses an extended metaphor comparing men to mechanics and women to the complex engines of cars. 

I Shall Paint My Nails Red by Carole Satyamurti

‘I Shall Paint My Nails Red’ by Carole Satyamurti is a poem about why a female speaker painted her nails. The simple premise is made more complicated as she lists out the reasons why she painted her nails red. 

The Poem as Mask by Muriel Rukeyser

‘The Poem as Mask’ by Muriel Rukeyser is a powerful, feminist poem that speaks to the poet’s experiences in life and with her poetry. 

The Window by Diane di Prima

‘The Window,’ an interesting poem is written by the Beat poet Diane di Prima, compares poetry to a “window” to a writer’s soul. It showcases how poetry captures the very essence of the poet and her thoughts.

i am water by Rupi Kaur

‘i am water’ by Rupi Kaur is a thoughtful poem that uses water as a metaphor. The speaker sees their soft and tough qualities. 

Legacy by Rupi Kaur

‘Legacy,’ also sometimes known as ’I stand on the sacrifices’ is one of Rupi Kaur’s best-known poems. It is about the sacrifices women have made throughout time to improve the lives of women who followed.

to my last period by Lucille Clifton

‘to my last period’ by Lucille Clifton is a thoughtful poem. In it, the speaker mourns for her lost youth and acknowledges further changes to come. 

Women by Alice Walker

‘Women’ is a short poem praising previous generations of African American women who fought for the education of girls.

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