6 Notable South African Women Poets

The landscape of Southern Africa is sometimes harsh and unforgiving. The same may be said about much of the country’s history. Still, it is impossible to experience the country without feeling inspired by its culture, nature, and sheer spirit.

The country’s literary legacy has produced legendary authors like Olive Schreiner, Nadine Gordimer, and Elsa Joubert. There are just as many poets, like Ingrid Jonker, Elisabeth Eybers, and the others listed here, who have forever etched their words and phrases in world literature.

Here are six notable South African women poets to add to your reading list, with links to samples of their poetry if English translation is available. Read More→

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10 Iconic Poems by Amy Lowell, American Imagist Poet

It’s not easy to choose a few of best or most famous poems by Amy Lowell (1874 – 1925), the influential American imagist poet. She was quite prolific, so choosing just ten iconic poems from her vast trove to represent her large body of work is no easy task.

The poems presented here are among Lowell’s most iconic and anthologized. She defined Imagist poetry as the “concentration is of the very essence of poetry” which aimed to “produce poetry that is hard and clear, never blurred nor indefinite.”

Amy Lowell was also a practitioner of “vers libre,” or free verse poetry (here’s the poet herself on vers libre). Her contemporary reconsideration reflects her rediscovery as a lesbian poet (“A Decade”), and she was also an antiwar poet (“Patterns”) of some distinction. Read More→

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13 Love Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Though Edna St. Vincent Millay wasn’t considered a confessional poet, her prolific love life was often reflected in her lines, sometimes obliquely, other times directly. Following is a small sampling of love poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Some of Millay’s love poems hint at cynicism, others sorrow, while others still reflect a women in full charge of her sexuality and aware of her power over those whose hearts she won — or broke.

It has been argued that tales of Millay’s love life have eclipsed her reputation as a poet — and that this should be corrected, as she was a brilliant poet. In hindsight unjustly, er reputation began waning even before her untimely death. Read More→

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Body of this Death: Poems by Louise Bogan (1923) – full text

Louise Bogan (1897 – 1970) has largely fallen off the radar when it comes to American poetry of the 20th century, yet in her time she was one of the most lauded poets of her generation. Presented here is the full text of her first published book of poems, Body of this Death (1923).

The title is derived from the quote, “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” from the King James Bible.

Bogan’s poetry was praised by her contemporaries for its spare, restrained style. Much of her expression and subject matter was derived from her personal life (which wasn’t an easy one), yet her subtlety prevented her poems from becoming confessional. Read More→

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The Poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning: A 19th-Century Analysis

The following analysis and overview of the poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861), the esteemed British poet, is excerpted from Essays by Arthur Christopher Benson.

Rich in insights and references to other poets of the period, this essay and the book (published in London by William Heinemann in 1896) from which it came are in the public domain. Read More→

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