Little, Women

Katherine Hepburn as Jo in Little Women, 1933While she was on tv on a daily basis, I had encounters with Oprah’s world view on sick days and holidays and snow days, which added up to a general feeling that her good intentions went a long way to changing the lives of her audience members for the better.  I was very frustrated today to read (thank you Missouri Review blog) about her list of poems that every woman “must read.”  Really Oprah?  In the wide array of amazing women poets who are undisputed parts of the literary canon (and thus long dead), not to mention living women who have won the Pulitzer prize and other prestigious and well publicized awards, up and comers with writing that is directly related to the female experience – it didn’t even give you pause for one moment that your list included Yeats and a number of women which are -required- reading?  Why are you using your voice to support people who need less support, talking to people who would find a deeper connection to modern poetry addressing modern problems?  If you must use poems by dead poets, why not lesser known but equally brilliant people?  Or lesser known poems by the greats?  

“Have we come so far?”  I know, Ms. Bishop.  Right?  I reviewed Heid E. Erdrich’s latest work over at So to Speak, which is a feminist publication, all the while thinking that thanking our mothers (including our literary mothers) was an undercurrent in her writing.  Maybe that’s why this list got under my skin.  Thanks, literary mothers and sisters!

What poems would you add to this list, gentle reader?  I’ll start the ball rolling!  Every woman should read Shelley Puhak’s “Elaine of Corbenic, Lancelot’s Baby-Momma, Meets Guinevere at the Employee Picnic” found here at the Kenyon Review’s page.

Photo credit -By RKO Radio Pictures (work for hire) ([3] (direct link to image).) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.


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