2018 in Poetry: Feminist Poets Celebrate the Year of the Woman
Dec 18, 2018
Looking back on 2018, we can all agree that the highs have been historic and the lows have been debilitating.
Despite the tumultuous events of the year, one constant emerged: Women refused to back down or give up. From the sister survivors of the #MeToo movement to the unprecedented number of female candidates up and down the midterm ballot, we have reclaimed our power and shown that we are a force to be reckoned with as we march into 2019.
As 2018 comes to a close, we asked our favorite feminist poets to sum up how they feel about the Year of the Woman.
Season of the Woman by Pavana Reddy
After watching Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimony, L.A.-based writer Pavana Reddy says she was furious with the outcome. "Some people were so complacent. They didn't care and that was hurtful to me as a woman," says Reddy. "That's what inspired this poem."
However, instead of becoming demoralized by the Supreme Court confirmation, Reddy wants women to be even more defiant in 2019. "We are fearless, but I want us to be even more fearless," says Reddy. "I hope that we're louder."
All I Can Tell You by Alison Malee
In her poem All I Can Tell You, writer Alison Malee celebrates resilience "in what seems like this never-ending stream of adversity."
"We're talking about things now in a way that we weren't previously and we're shedding a light on a lot of issues that were kept quiet," says Malee. With her poem, Malee hopes to encourage women to "continue to be that bold, empowered version of themselves"—especially to inspire the next generation. "I want [my daughters] to be able to speak for themselves, to give voice to their dreams, their fears, and the things that matter the most to them," says Malee. "And I want them to be heard."
Won't You Be My Sister? by Amanda Gorman
In Won't You Be My Sister?, Amanda Gorman, the youngest National Youth Poet Laureate, wants to recognize that this hallmark year was driven by women outside of mainstream media. "There's this epic feminist lifestyle that lived in the headlines," says Gorman, a 20-year-old student at Harvard. "But there was so much potential being activated upon outside of that focal point. I wanted this poem to speak to that cross-cultural, cross-global cross-class sisterhood."
And as 2019 approaches, Gorman has one message for all women: "Keep going."
"I know it feels like despair and heartbreak," she says. "But as the pendulum of justice might swing back and forth, it's the arc of life that we need to focus on."
The Beginning by Kim Guerra
2018 was "chaotic and painful" for women—but it was also revolutionary. "It's been a year where there's been a lot of heartache and anger, and battle after battle for women," says Kim Guerra, the CEO of Brown Badass Bonita, a brand that empowers Latinx and women of color. "But, women are taking charge and not being afraid or apologetic of fully owning their womanhood."
In her poem The Beginning, Guerra hopes not only to recognize the women's movement, but also the undercurrent of women of color rising up. "To us it's a matter of life and death," says the 26-year-old writer. "We can't opt out of politics because our people are being directly affected. This poem is celebrating that we've always had a voice and now, more than ever, it's necessary and it's getting stronger. It's just the beginning."