Big news in the poetry world today as the American Academy of Poets announced that Nikky Finney has won the Wallace Stevens Award. It was established in 1994 and is awarded annually to honor outstanding artistic achievement in the art of poetry over the poet’s career.
In honor of Women’s History Month, here are nine contemporary female poets that are making a big impact!
1. Warsan Shire
Even before her poetry was featured in Beyonce’s Lemonade, Warsan Shire has been a poetic super-star with a cult following. Shire’s work centers around feminist issues, race displacement, immigrant and refugee experiences, trauma, and politics. Her most notable works include Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth and Her Blue Body.
image via The New Yorker
2. Rupi Kaur
Another poetic super-star, Rupi Kaur, initially gained a following through social media. She was one of the forerunners of the Instapoetry movement, sharing her poems along with her own illustrations. Kaur’s work focuses on abuse, femininity, self-care, love, and heartbreak. Kaur’s two books are titled Milk and Honey and The Sun and Her Flowers.
image via The Michigan Daily
3. Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi
Author, trans performance artist, priestess. Amid an impressive and expansive bio, Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi has received multiple awards for her work in both literature and the trans community. Her works feature themes of liberation, revolution, love, and healing among others. Her poetic works include Baltimore: A Love Letter, Remains: A Gathering of Bones, The Blood of a Thousand Roots, For Black Trans Girls Who Gotta Cuss a Motherf***er Out When Snatching an Edge Ain’t Enough, and Klytmnestra: An Epic Slam Poem.
image via theatre washington
4. Megan Falley
Megan Falley is a queer femme author and powerful slam poet. Her Youtube Channel, where she posts her epic performances, has garnered over a million views and she has been named a National Poetry Slam Finalist and Pushcart Prize nominee. Her work focuses on LGBTQ issues, sex and body positvitiy, sexism, homophobia, and love. Some of her notable works include After the Witch Hunt, Drive Here and Devastate Me, Bad Girls Honey (Poems About Lana Del Rey).
image via meganfalley.com
5. Elizabeth Alexander
An American poet, essayist, and playwright, Elizabeth Alexander is well known for her poem Praise Song for the Day, which was written and performed by the poet for President Barack Obama’s 2009 presidential inauguration. Alexander’s most notable poetic works include The Venus Hottentot, Body of Life, Antebellum Dream Book, and American Sublime.
image via Elizabeth Alexander
6. Evie shockley
Evie Shockley is somewhat of an experimental poet, often stepping outside of the box in terms of structure, form, and themes within her work. Her work focuses on race and feminism and are often presented in the form of a retold fairytale. Some of Shockley’s most recent and prominent works include the new black, and semiautomatic.
image via Poetry foundation
7. Olena Kalytiak Davis
Poet Olena Kalytiak Davis’ work gives voice to all the female experiences that are otherwise not often talked about. Themes of her poems include love, sexual violence, and aging as a woman. Davis’s honors include a 2004 Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry and a 1996 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award in poetry. Her most recent works include The Poem She Didn’t Write and Other Poems and shattered sonnets love cards and other back handed importunities.
image via official uk chapbook chart
8. Suheir Hammad
Inspired by New York City hip hop and the traditional Palestinian stories of her grandparents, poet Suheir Hammad explores the destruction and reconstruction of the female body, of culture, and of language in her work. Hammad has received many awards, including a Tony award for her work on Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam on Broadway (2003). Some of her collections include Born Palestinian, Born Black; Zaatar Diva; and Breaking Poems.
image via medium
9. matthea harvey
Poet Matthea Harvey has a unique talent for blending the most iconic commercialized images and blends them all together into one. She describes herself as a “gatherer” collecting inspiration for her poems from music, scraps of conversations, images, and paintings. Harvey’s most prominent works include If the Tabloids Are True What Are You?, Modern Life, and Sad Little Breathing Machine.
image via the New Yorker
Featured Image via Penguin Random House Audio
Bookstr is community supported. If you enjoy Bookstr’s articles, quizzes, graphics and videos, please join our Patreon to support our writers and creators or donate to our Paypal and help Bookstr to keep supporting the book loving community.
Become a Patron!