5 Female Authors Creating Moving Poetry

Unlike traditional narrative prose, poetry has the ability to transcend linguistic and formal boundaries, opening up the imagination and creating new ways of thinking and feeling. The female poets here are among those contributing their unique voices to this literary art, using their diverse perspectives and facility with verse to inspire and enrich. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

5 Talented & Diverse Female Poets

Author Book(s)
Andrea Spofford The Pine Effect
Zeina Hashem Beck 3arabi Song, There Was And How Much There Was, Louder Than Hearts
Trish Hopkinson Footnote, Almost Famous
Jennifer Zilm Waiting Room, The Missing Field, The Whole and Broken Yellows
Arisa White You're the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened, A Penny Saved, Black Pearl

3arabi Song by Zeina Hashem Beck, Featuring the Fayha Choir

Poetry Organizations

If you want to support the next generation of poets, consider looking into these non-profit groups that help build community and teach kids and teens how to raise their voices and make an impact.

Things Every Aspiring Poet Should Have

  • A journal where you can keep track of your thoughts & ideas
  • Some coffee or tea to get you through late-night bursts of inspiration
  • A good poetry book to inspire you
  • A comfortable keyboard so you don't end up with carpal-tunnel syndrome
  • A laptop that's easy to bring along to your local coffee shop
  • A height-adjustable desk to help you avoid hurting your lower back
  • A foam roller for when you inevitably hurt your lower back anyway

Arisa White Reads From Her Collection

In Depth

From Sappho in the sixth century B.C. to Phillis Wheatley in the eighteenth to Sharon Olds today, poetry has long been associated with women. This list, which unfolds in no particular order, surveys a number of female poets working in the United States and Canada today, publishing emotionally engaging verse.

Our #1 entry is Andrea Spofford. Based in Tennessee, she writes essays and poems and serves as Associate Professor of Poetry and Associate Dean for the College of Arts & Letters at Austin Peay State University. Spofford also acts as poetry editor for Zone 3 Press, a literary journal and book publisher. Her work has appeared in outlets including Tinderbox, New South, and Redactions.

Her published volumes include Phrasebook for the Common Era, a chapbook co-written with Stephanie Bryant Anderson. Frost & Thaw and Qikiqtagruk: Almost An Island are both short, artisanally produced volumes of poems from Red Bird Chapbooks. Spofford's full-length collection The Pine Effect brings together poems that locate self within geographical experience, examining the intersection of person and place.

Spofford's full-length collection The Pine Effect brings together poems that locate self within geographical experience, examining the intersection of person and place.

At #2, Zeina Hashem Beck is a Lebanese poet with a BA and an MA in English Literature from the American University of Beirut. Her poem "Maqam," won Poetry Magazine's 2017 Frederick Bock Prize, and she has also received a Best of the Net award. Her work has been published in outlets such as the New York Times, Ploughshares, and The Adroit Journal. She is the inventor of a bilingual poetic form called The Duet.

Beck's second full-length collection Louder Than Hearts received the 2016 May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize. A 2013 volume offers a series of 45 vignettes exploring life in Lebanon's capital. She is also the author of two chapbooks: 3arabi Song, which received a prize from Rattle and a blurb from luminary Marilyn Hacker, and There Was and How Much There Was, which was adapted for the stage by Lebanese director Sahar Assaf.

#3 is Trish Hopkinson, a writer, blogger, and advocate for the literary arts who describes herself as a "selfish poet," saying that she takes care of herself by participating in the writing community. She manages the regional group Rock Canyon Poets, which promotes the art form in the Utah Valley and is involved with the Poemball project, which packages verse from local writers into a Provo vending machine.

She manages the regional group Rock Canyon Poets, which promotes the art form in the Utah Valley and is involved with the Poemball project, which packages verse from local writers into a Provo vending machine.

Hopkinson has published her own work widely, placing poems in Literary Mama, The Rumpus, and Crab Fat Magazine, among other journals. Her chapbooks include Reconstructed Happiness, Almost Famous, and Footnote, which collects poems written in response to favorite writers, artists, and filmmakers. Hopkinson's writing has been included in a number of anthologies, such as From The Ashes, Women Speak, and Nuclear Impact: Broken Atoms in Our Hands.

In the #4 position, it's Jennifer Zilm. Based in the Greater Surrey Area of British Columbia, she's a poet who has published work in League of Canadian Poets, The Malahat Review, and Arc Poetry Magazine, among other journals. She describes herself as descending from "a long line of charismatic hillbillies, snake handlers and autodidact librarians."

Zilm has authored a number of printed volumes. Her chapbooks include October Notebook: of night I made a commonplace and The Whole and Broken Yellows, part of which is formed by a cycle of poems about Van Gogh. Her full-length collection Waiting Room was shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry.

Her full-length collection Waiting Room was shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry.

Lastly, the #5 entry on the list is Arisa White, a writer, Cave Canem fellow, and an MFA graduate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Among White's many chapbooks, there are "Fish Walking" & Other Bedtime Stories for My Wife, which won the inaugural Per Diem Poetry Prize, and Disposition for Shininess.

She has contributed to edited collections such as Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color and Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape. The poems in White's You're The Most Beautiful Thing That Happened stage intersectional encounters with gender, identity, and human barbarism. With illustrator Laura Freeman, she wrote a children's book, Biddy Mason Speaks Up, that tells the story of an early and unsung civil rights icon.