What I admire about female poets


What I admire about female poets

 For Clifton, Walker, Angelou and all the queens of verse


The female creative muse is expressed

in more ways than chick-lit,

romance and feminist canon.


With poetry, the female experience

is boiled down,

but not lost in heat and spice,

to one or more pages

of broken or consecutive stanza.


With poetry, a woman’s life

in the kitchen, in the bedroom, at work

becomes coded in metaphors,

lyrical rhythms, rhymes,

jagged imagery.

For those untrained

the verse has no identity.

For knowledgeable folk

the identity is identical

exact and comparable

to the raw realities of life.


With poetry, everything:

abuse, lost babies,

relationship heartache, period pains,

the shame of a chastity snatched away –

is reduced to a single maxim: survival.


With poetry, not just the earth

but being a woman is beautiful,

beautiful as the rise in ‘Still I rise,’

strong and defiant as the phenomenal

in ‘phenomenal woman.’

Broken words of hurt and loss turn,

to reinforced rods of majestic steel.


Brothers, with poetry there is a cipher

that can unlock the mine

that is the female mind

with all the riches we hope to find —

when solved.


For just as a sister’s style evolves every season,

so too should we men reason

that her poetry will be in a cycle

of submerged, alternating, meaning.


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