In 1996, the Academy of American Poets established April as National Poetry Month to “celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture.” Many people, established writers and novice poets, often do a “challenge” to write a poem a day for the entire month of April. Even though the month is well underway, jump in if you like to write! Even if you’re not off writing your own poetry, we can celebrate spirit of this month by learning about some legendary women poets who vividly express the timeless and varied truths of womanhood and what we like to call, being a Fierce Woman.
A classic poem that celebrates women and encourages self-love is Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman.”
It brilliantly flips the script on the ways we often feel insecure about our physical appearance and instead celebrates our inner beauty, confidence and essence.
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s sizeBut when I start to tell them,They think I’m telling lies.I say,It’s in the reach of my arms,The span of my hips,The stride of my step,The curl of my lips.I’m a womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That’s me.
The world is full of women
who’d tell me I should be ashamed of myself
if they had the chance. Quit dancing.
Get some self-respect
and a day job.
Right. And minimum wage,
and varicose veins, just standing
in one place for eight hours
behind a glass counter
bundled up to the neck, instead of
naked as a meat sandwich.Selling gloves, or something.
Instead of what I do sell.
They took all the treesPut ’em in a tree museumAnd they charged the peopleA dollar and a half just to see ’emDon’t it always seem to goThat you don’t know what you’ve got Till it’s goneThey paved paradiseAnd put up a parking lotHey farmer farmerPut away that DDT nowGive me spots on my applesBut leave me the birds and the bees Please!
The song has a lovely light and airy vibe but still serves as a cautionary tale to appreciate the beauty of our environment and to protect it fiercely because once it’s gone…it’s gone.
Share with us one of your favorite poems and even one you wrote yourself. Let’s celebrate poetry together!