Women’s History Month 2024: Celebrating Trailblazing Poets

Women’s History Month 2024: Celebrating Trailblazing Poets

March is Women’s History Month, and what better way to celebrate than to read the words of standout female poets and activists! In honor of the occasion, read below to learn more about some of our favorite trailblazing writers, and find selections of their incredible poetry.

Ada Limón (1976-present)

In 2022, Ada Limón was named the 24th Poet Laureate of the United States and, the following year, she received a MacArthur “Genius” Grant. Her writing is centered on gratitude, loss, presence with oneself as a fragile body, and humans’ connection with the natural world.

Audre Lorde (1934-1992)

Referring to herself as “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” Lorde had a formidable voice in the realms of literature and social justice. Much of her work braided rage and compassion into truth to build a world of harmony for everyone. Her work transcended poetic forms as with her essay, The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House, which highlighted and condemned racism, homophobia, and exclusionary practices of the feminist movement in the 70s and 80s. Empathy, equality, identity, and resilience are a few of the major themes present in her writing.

Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000)

As the first Black poet to win the Pulitzer Prize (1950) and serve as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (1985), Gwendolyn Brooks was a game changer for female writers. In her work, she offered portraits of poor, urban life for people of color; and these chronicles made her a strong voice in the Black Arts Movement in the 60s and 70s, helping fuel the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements.

Joy Harjo (1951-present)

Poet, performer, and member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Joy Harjo’s work focuses on First Nation storytelling, feminism, and social justice. From 2019 to 2022, she held the title of 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States. Incorporating indigenous myths and imagery, she highlights themes of resilience and remembrance.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

As an educator, activist, poet, writer, playwright, and editor, Maya Angelou approached her creative truth from all angles. As part of the Harlem Writers Guild, she was exposed to the ideas of Dr. Martin Luther King and eventually went on to serve as coordinator for the SCLC. Peace, equality, women’s strength, and the beauty of Blackness are common themes in her work. Her writing and activism career spanned over half a century; she earned outstanding accolades including the National Medal of Arts (2000) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2010), the highest civilian honor.

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