How many female poets can you name? Would you recognize their work if you saw it? So, let’s put your knowledge to the test by highlighting a collection of famous female poets and seeing how many are familiar to you.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” It’s one of the most popular sonnets of all time, but its author, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, is lesser-known, at least to modern audiences.
Emily Dickinson is one of the most famous female poets of all time, and her collection spans more than 1,800 works, including classics such as “Hope is the thing with feathers” and “Because I could not stop for death.”
Gwendolyn Brooks spoke for more than just herself. Her works explored identity, poverty, racism, humanism, and civil rights themes.
Throughout her poetry and literary career, Brooks won several accolades. She was the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize and the first to be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Sappho is a legendary figure that lived sometime around 630 BC. Sappho garnered so much fame and attention that she was often given glowing nicknames such as “The Tenth Muse” and “The Poetess.” Sadly, much of Sappho’s poetry has been lost to time. We only have a few partially completed works like the “Ode to Aphrodite.”
Though best known for her autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” Maya Angelou was a prominent poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter. She even wrote cookbooks!
Many consider Sylvia Path a rebellious figure, a troubled soul who committed suicide at age 30.
Plath’s first poetry collection, “The Colossus and Other Poems,” tackled heavy subjects ranging from death and duty to the suffering of women who don’t prescribe to traditional ideas of femininity.
Despite being one of the younger names on this list, Rupi Kaur is already one of her generation’s most famous female poets. Her debut poetry collection, “Milk and Honey,” was a New York Times bestseller, and her follow-up, “The Sun and Her Flowers,” repeated that success.
With a remarkable life story, Phillis Wheatley is known for her personal history and poetry.
She was born in Africa, sold as a slave at age seven or eight, and taken to Boston to serve a wealthy family. They educated her, and by age 12, she was plowing through Greek and Latin texts while composing her works. By age 20, she had published a poetry collection, the first African-African person to ever do so in America.
The recipient of everything from the National Book Award to a Pulitzer Prize, Mary Oliver earned a reputation as “indefatigable” as she published new poetry collections every few years.
“Love came down at Christmas / Love all lovely, love divine…”
You might be familiar with this carol, which is ubiquitous in Britain at Christmastime, but you might not know it came from Christina Rossetti.
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