07 February 2019

Poetry Thursday - young women poets

Young women, we are told, "are using their economic muscle to drive up sales of works by female poets, making poetry more diverse and representative than ever before:

"Rupi Kaur [the 26-year-old Canadian-Punjabi who dominated the bestsellers last year]  made nearly £1m from poetry sales last year. Her themes include menstrual taboos, sexual violence and women’s empowerment. Three other women – Pam Ayres, Helen Dunmore and Carol Ann Duffy – netted sales into six figures, something almost unheard of five years ago. Contemporary feminist poet Wendy Cope managed to sell almost as many volumes as perennial favourite Sylvia Plath."

The online availability of poetry - perfect for the mobile phone - is opening up the market to younger and more diverse female voices, as young women find they are writing about experiences that resonate with their own lives.

Dead white male poets, move over! Make way for the likes of Lucy Thynne, Hera Lindsay BirdFatimah Asghar, Amy Key, and Liz Berry ... and welcome back Audre Lorde, Imtiaz Dharker, Emily Dickinson ... and Lady Mary Wroth (contemporary of Shakespeare) - 
read parts 2 and 3 of her "crown of sonnets" here.

From A Crown of Sonnets Dedicated to Love

In this strange labyrinth how shall I turn?
Ways are on all sides, while the way I miss:
If to the right hand, there, in love I burn;
Let me go forward, therein danger is.

If to the left, suspicion hinders bliss;
Let me turn back, shame cries I ought return,
Nor faint, though crosses with my fortune kiss;
Stand still is harder, although sure to mourn.

Thus let me take the right, or left hand way,
Go forward, or stand still, or back retire:
I must these doubts endure without allay
Or help, but travail find for my best hire.

Yet that which most my troubled sense doth move,
Is to leave all, and take the thread of Love.

Note: “crosses” (1, line seven) is a noun and refers “to confusing intersections in the maze, or troubles”. There’s a further pun in line 12 on “travail/travel”.

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