25 Feminist Poems to Provoke and Inspire Nasty Women

Sarah S. Davis

Staff Writer

Sarah S. Davis holds a BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master's of Library Science from Clarion University, and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Sarah has also written for Electric Literature, Kirkus Reviews, Audible, Psych Central, and more. Sarah is the founder of Broke By Books blog and runs a tarot reading business, Divination Vibration. Twitter: @missbookgoddess Instagram: @Sarahbookgoddess

There’s something that makes verse (both written and spoken) a uniquely powerful vessel to express the multifaceted experiences of feminism. It’s easier to discover new feminist poetry and strong woman poems. In this collection of 25 feminist poems, you’ll find a voice for every perspective from the feminist movement. From feminist love poems to poems about women’s rights, you can read, watch, and be inspired by some of the greatest feminist poets working past and present.

25 of the Best Feminist Poems

“Lady Lazarus” by Sylvia Plath


I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it—

A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot

A paperweight,
My face a featureless, fine
Jew linen.

“Planetarium” by Adrienne Rich, read by astrophysicist Janna Levin

“Marrying the Hangman” by Margaret Atwood


She has been condemned to death by hanging. A man
may escape this death by becoming the hangman, a
woman by marrying the hangman. But at the present
time there is no hangman; thus there is no escape.
There is only a death, indefinitely postponed. This is
not fantasy, it is history.

“Spear” by Elizabeth Acevedo

“what they don’t want you to know” by Amanda Lovelace

“what they don’t want you to know” by Amanda Lovelace

“I Am A Nasty Woman” by Nina Donovan, read by Ashley Judd at the 2017 Women’s March on Washington


“Her Kind” by Anne Sexton


I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

“All the Good Women are gone” by Susan Nguyen


Have you ever cried during an interview
because you started talking about your family,
or while serving tables in Virginia
when a man’s hand lands on your ass.
Have you ever had your boyfriend
tell you he wanted to go celibate,
which meant no kissing or holding hands,
or ever been pulled over for tailgating
a cop who called you stupid,
to which you agreed.

“Final Performance” by Cynthia Cruz


I crawl along the wet floor
Of my mother’s childhood,

A serpent, or a long-buried secret,
In my mother’s bisque
Chiffon gown with small stars

“Still I rise” by Maya Angelou, read by Serena Williams

“Respect” by Melissa Studdard


Because her body is winter inside a cave
because someone built
fire there and forgot to put it out
because bedtime is a castle
she’s building inside herself
with a moat
and portcullis
and buckets full of mist

“Wade in the Water” by Tracy K. Smith


for the Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters

One of the women greeted me.
I love you, she said. She didn’t
Know me, but I believed her,
And a terrible new ache
Rolled over in my chest,
Like in a room where the drapes
Have been swept back. I love you,
I love you, as she continued
Down the hall past other strangers,
Each feeling pierced suddenly
By pillars of heavy light.

“My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter” by Aja Monet

“A Woman Speaks” by Audre Lorde


Moon marked and touched by sun
my magic is unwritten
but when the sea turns back
it will leave my shape behind.

“Fire” by Nikita Gill

“Fire” by Nikita Gill

“Pocket-Sized Feminism” by Blythe Baird

“Poet as Housewife” by Elisabeth Eybers


Always a broom leaned against a wall,
meals never on time, if they come at all.

Days without dates through which she moves
empty and stubborn, slightly confused.

Ironing hung dejectedly over a chair,
gestures that come from who-knows-where.

“The Period Poem” by Dominique Christina

“They Shut Me Up in Prose— (445)” by Emily Dickinson


They shut me up in Prose—
As when a little Girl
They put me in the Closet—
Because they liked me “still”—

“what’s the greatest lesson a woman should learn?” by Rupi Kaur

“what’s the greatest lesson a woman should learn?” by Rupi Kaur

“Fantastic Breasts and Where to Find Them” by Brenna Twohy

“Sadie and Maud” by Gwendolyn Brooks


Maud went to college.
Sadie stayed at home.
Sadie scraped life
With a fine-tooth comb.

She didn’t leave a tangle in.
Her comb found every strand.
Sadie was one of the livingest chits
In all the land.

“10 Honest Thoughts on Being Loved by a Skinny Boy” by Rachel Wiley

“A Myth of Devotion” by Louise Glück


When Hades decided he loved this girl
he built for her a duplicate of earth,
everything the same, down to the meadow,
but with a bed added.

Everything the same, including sunlight,
because it would be hard on a young girl
to go so quickly from bright light to utter darkness

“Feminist or a Womanist” by Staceyann Chin

For more feminist writers on Book Riot, check out our collection of strong women quotes, our Buy, Borrow, Bypass guide to feminist poetry collections, and list of empowering feminist quotes.