October 4th. Today is National Poetry Day.
Typically, on this day, I post a poem of my own in celebration, but since I posted one yesterday and have a growing passion for reading poetry again (helped along by studying English Literature), and that’s how I’ve spent my day, I wanted to share some of my favourite poets with you.
I hope that you can go out and read them too. I wish someone had introduced me to some of these poets before I was because I am totally in love with them and their works of art.
Christina Rossetti is a poet I was introduced to reading through a huuuuge anthology of poets from pre C10 to the present day. I decided to work through the book a few years prior to now (I’d like to say three or four?) since it was an English student’s staple. I adore both reading and writing poetry, so wanted to ensure I was introduced to, and could form an opinion of as many classical poets as possible.
When I first read her poetry, I truly fell in love and had to drive my reading beyond the walls of an anthology providing only the introduction for one’s talent for verse. I read all of her poems and cannot speak negatively of any of them. Research also provided me with links to her brother (who I already was aware of) and suggested that many valued him over her works and… I’m not ashamed to say he doesn’t impress me much. And he was also a horrible person. My main point here is that I value the works of his sister significantly more than his and truly adore her magical speech.
I highly suggest reading Rossetti’s work and I promise you, you will seek immense beauty in it.
Favourite Poem: Echo
Anne Sexton is a poet I was introduced to whilst studying A Level literature, as part of the post-1900 Love Through The Ages anthology, and I don’t know what exactly did it… but I was drawn to her. When researching her and her other poems she proved to be quite dark in nature. I think the state of my own mind subsequently brought me closer to the poet and I started appreciating her way with words even more so than before.
Favourite poem: This might seem a bit of a cop out, but I can’t choose. However, I will pinpoint it down and tell you my favourite anthology of her works by far is The Death Notebooks.
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Like the works of Anne Sexton, I was introduced to Millay through A Level English Literature, but she wasn’t one I fell for straight away. I did enjoy reading and studying the poem by her on the syllabus but nothing intrigued me enough to make me want to look her up over other poets, but I wish I’d never prejudged her. In the summer of 2016, my friend Saskia loaned me an anthology of solely Millay works and I fell in love.
Favourite poem: Afternoon On A Hill
I find Emily Bronte to be a massively overlooked sister due to the grand overshadowing of her sisters’ popularity of publications. I would suggest that maybe, their books are a little more enjoyable, but that isn’t accounting for the beautiful poetic verse published by Emily herself. When I found out The Night Is Darkening Round Me was a compulsory part of our unit on The Gothic, I audibly squealed because I do love her poetry. It really does love to be appreciated more.
Favourite poem: Stars / Ah! Why, Because The Dazzling Sun*
*I admit, I’m not sure on the formal title of this. I seem to remember it as Stars but there is a dispute about this title online. Either way, it’s still the same, wonderful poem.
Alike to my discovery of Rossetti, Jennings was someone I discovered within my huge, bound Oxford anthology and really liked a certain poem of hers. I admit, compared to the other four in this post I have deprived myself of Jennings reading time, but making this post has really reminded me of how much I adore her and I’ll be doing some reading now.
Favourite poem: Fragment For The Dark
Is Sappho not just a part of queer culture?
I first decided to order an anthology of Sappho’s works when I was 17, not long after my ‘gay awakening’, studying Classical Civilisation and having an interest in ancient literature, especially poetry. I was passionate about literature, living off the thrill of works produced BC and craving queer content; especially wlw literature, since finding LGBT+ works was a lot easier looking solely for that including gay males.
Favourite poem: If I’m honest, I don’t have one. My comfort, my safety and home, is found by reading an anthology of her works from the front page to back. And If I don’t have the time? I will choose randomly. But I truly don’t think I have a favourite, I am totally obsessed with a large majority of her works.
Happy National Poetry Day!
So, there it is. My favourite poets shared with you. I hope you can enjoy even one of them at least half as much as I do, and keep the rest of your evening up reading until you breathe poetry.
As a poet myself, I’d also love to give a shoutout to those who inspire me to write; Women like these marvellous influences; Women from other areas of literature; The teachers who made me feel good enough; The people who I write poetry about, for evoking those emotions. I will forever be eternally grateful.
If you’d like to read some of my poetry head to the Creative Writing section of my blog (last updated yesterday!)