Women We Read During National Poetry Month

The Riveter staff shares some of their favorite writerly women to celebrate the last day of National Poetry Month.

by The Editors

April was National Poetry Month. Did you celebrate? If you didn’t, you have about six more hours to do so, and then you can never read poetry again until next year. Chop, chop people.

Just kidding of course–although we do still think you should spend your next six hours reading poetry, you know, for your health. We believe every month is National Poetry Month. After all, a healthy dose of verse is important for any literary diet, and there are so many incredible voices out there to choose from. We polled our staff, our friends and a few select poetry MFA candidates to find out what women they were reading during National Poetry Month. They produced a hefty list, but there’s still a lot of room. We hope that you’ll find the links below useful as you continue to explore your poetic tastes, and that you’ll leave us with a few suggestions of your own.

(poets are introduced according to the top art, starting from top left and snaking to the bottom right)

Adrienne Rich
Received the 1974 National Book Award for Poetry.
Famously declined the National Medal of the Arts in 1997.
Profile from The New York Times: “Adreinne Rich, Influential Feminist Poet, Dies at 82”  by Margalit Fox, March 28, 2012
Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers
From The NationFive Poems by Adrienne Rich

Natasha Trethewey
Is the current United States Poet Laureate.
Received the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
Q&A from The Washington Post: “Just Asking: Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey” by Joe Heim, April 24, 2014
Selected Poems by Natasha Trethewey published in The New York Times “Books” section
Theories of Time and Space

Lucille Clifton
Received the National Book Award for Poetry in 2000.
Served as Poet Laureate of Maryland from 1979 to 1985.
Book review from The New York Times“Views of Life, Straightforward and Spare: ‘The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton, 1965-2010′” by Dwight Garner, October 11, 2012.
wishes for sons
To My Last Period

Louise Glück
Received the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
Served as the United States Poet Laureate from 2003 to 2004.
Review from The Nation: “Writing Without a Mattress: On Louise Glück” by Robert Boyers, December 10, 2012.
Celestial Music
Monologue at Nine a.m./Dead End
The Evening Star

Mary Oliver
Received the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
Received the 1994 National Book Award for Poetry.

Interview in O Magazine: “Maria Shriver Interviews the Famously Private Poet Mary Oliver” by Maria Shriver, March 9, 2011


The Kookaburras
Black Oaks
The Moths

Mary Ruefle
Teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a visiting professor at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Has recently received attention for her essays and lectures.
Book review from the Los Angeles Review of Books: “The Pleasures of Magical Thinking: On Mary Reufle” by Michael Klein, June 20, 2013.
Perpetually Attempting to Soar
from A Little White Shadow

Rita Dove
Received the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
Served as United States Poet Laureate from 1993 to 1995.
“I have been a stranger in a strange land
Reverie in Open Air
The Bistro Styx 

Anne Carson
Received the MacArthur “Genius Grant” in 2000.
Received the T.S. Eliot prize in 2001.
Is the Distinguished Poet-in-Residence at New York University, along with Charles Simic.
Profile from The New York Times“The Inscrutable Brilliance of Anne Carson” by Sam Anderson, March 14, 2013.
Interview from The Paris Review: “Anne Carson, the Art of Poetry No. 88” by Will Aitken, Fall 2004.
The Glass Essay
Book of Isaiah, Part 1