List of Feminist Poets

A Sampling of Feminist Writers

Maya Angelou in 2010
Maya Angelou in 2010. Riccardo S. Savi/WireImage/Getty Images

Feminist poetry was a growing movement throughout the 1960s and 1970s.  The following is a list of some of the most prominent feminist poets who began or continued writing during the era of second-wave feminism.

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Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou in 2010
Maya Angelou in 2010. Riccardo S. Savi/WireImage/Getty Images

Famous for her autobiographical book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970), Maya Angelou’s poetry gained nationwide attention in the U.S. when she read her poem “On the Pulse of the Morning” at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton in 1993.

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Joy Harjo

Poet, musician, and Native American activist.

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Carolyn Kizer

Carolyn Kizer has written, translated, and edited poetry in the Pacific Northwest and many other locations.

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Maxine Kumin

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1973, she has also published stories, essays and children's books.

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Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde lecturing, words on blackboard are Women are powerful and dangerous
Audre Lorde lecturing at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, Florida, 1983. Robert Alexander/Archive Photos/Getty Images

One of the most famous lesbian feminist poets.

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Pauli Murray

In addition to writing poetry, Pauli Murray was an educator and lawyer, and she was active in the Civil Rights and Women's Liberation Movements.

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Alicia Ostriker

She once said, “You don’t decide to become a feminist. If you do, you’re not a real one.”

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Marge Piercy

Marge Piercy, 1974
Marge Piercy, 1974. Waring Abbot / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Piercy examines women and relationships in multiple genres.

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Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich, 1991
Photograph of Adrienne Rich, 1991. Nancy R. Schiff / Getty Images

Adrienne Rich is a famous feminist, poet, non-fiction writer, lesbian, and activist.

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Muriel Rukeyser

Muriel Rukeyser started writing about feminism, equality, and social justice early in the 20th century, before World War II.

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Gloria Anzaldua

This Chicana/Tejana/lesbian feminist wrote books that blended poetry and prose, theory and imagery, and even English and Spanish.

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Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood, 2014
Margaret Atwood, 2014. Ulf Andersen/Getty Images

Margaret Atwood has been publishing poetry since the 1960s. She is also well-known for her novels such as The Handmaid’s Tale and her wise social commentary and feminism.

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Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks
Gwendolyn Brooks. Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images

Gwendolyn Brooks won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1950 and was known for writing about the lives of African-Americans.

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Lorna Dee Cervantes

When her “debut” poetry collection was published in 1981, she was already active in the Chicano movement and had been praised for her poetry that bridged two cultures.

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Lucille Clifton

Langston Hughes was the first to publish Lucille Clifton in an anthology; her first collection came out in 1969.

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Rita Dove

Rita Dove is a Pulitzer Prize winner and a former U.S. Poet Laureate.

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Judy Grahn

Writer and feminist active in the lesbian and women’s spirituality movements.

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Susan Griffin

Poet and playwright, Susan Griffin wrote "An Answer to a Man's Question, 'What Can I Do about Women's Liberation?'"