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Poetry and Women

The global explosion of the female voice in recent times has not gone unnoticed by anyone who is vaguely aware of social and political issues around the world.  Today more than ever women have found their voices and a platform by which to have them heard. The advent and accessibility of the internet and social media has created an awareness and global community unmatched elsewhere in history. It is a sad truth that women have been consistently marginalized in societies across the earth, but today the divide between the treatment of men and women is more exposed and less tolerated then before.

The Desire to Be Heard

Out of this oppression and mix of heightened emotions grows a need and desire to speak up and be heard. Today the female voice can be eloquently heard all around the world in the written and spoken words of the female poets that are eager and willing to share their deeply personal, sometimes painful stories. Unlike many of their male counterparts the women in this medium are more willing to share the very depths of their souls and to expose the stories and experiences that will resonate with others and confront the often-taboo subjects of womanhood and society.

Opposite to many peoples view of poetry, as something to be endured as part of school studies, the poetry of today and especially as delivered by women, seems more personal and relevant and above all accessible. Through the many avenues of social media, the poet can offer up an immediate response to any number of social, political or environmental issues. The aptly timed twitter remark or Facebook post can generate a global conversation that informs and provokes and gives the poet a powerful voice and relevance in todays’ ever-changing world.

Young Poets Influence

Recently the power of the medium was harnessed by such young poets as Rupi Kaur an Indian-Canadian who having garnered an impressive following on Instagram went on to see her work published and sell out to the newly awakened generation of readers. Poets, like the British writer Salena Godden, are acutely aware of the fertile landscape of international politics, feminism and the like. Embracing and commentating on these issues they lend a weighty voice and a female one at that! In todays’ world the female voice is not content to occupy the back seat but fully intends to be sitting in the driver’s and there is no subject that is off the table when it comes to poetry.

Young and old women alike are demanding to be heard, whether like young American Nina Donavan their thoughts become an anthem in response to government in her country, or the brutal honesty of poems like Patricia Lockwood’s Rape Joke or When A Man Tells Me I’m Beautiful from Indian poet Naina Katania. Women poets are certainly a diverse group around the globe using mixed media to reach the masses across many divides. Their willingness to be candid, unapologetic and unafraid makes them a powerful force in literature and the world. Their talent can also be seen rewarded when such poets as Melissa Lee-Houghton are short listed for the prestigious Ted Hughes award. Clearly the women poets of our time continue to emerge and grow in their numbers and presence and we can look forward to seeing what the next few years will bring.