Poems About Women

campbellThere are so many poems about women that it is difficult to select which ones to discuss. Yet, one of the first poems that comes to mind is the lengthy and involved Aurora Leigh by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I think that most people who read it are immediately taken by the heroine’s strength and independence. We have stereotypical notions about women of the Nineteenth Century, and Browning’s character seems to be extraordinary for us to contemplate. She is well educated and strong minded. Today’s reader will likely find this character appealing, but in the time Browning wrote this poem, she was criticized at great length for her character’s attitude; the mindset in that era was that the woman should always be dependent upon a man, and not to show such total independence. It’s sad that most women today find Browning’s work too long to bother with, as the nine volumes are truly remarkable efforts on her part.

Aurora Leigh (an excerpt)
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Of course, not all poems about women are as positive and encouraging as Browning’s work. For instance, Juliet Lewis Campbell and other women poets of her time often focused on some of the less appealing aspects of women. One of their favorites was the legend of Tarpeia. Campbell, who was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania in the early 1800s wrote about Tarpeia, who was a reported to have agreed to betray the Roman capitol into the hands of the militia from Sabine in exchange for the golden bracelets that the soldiers wore on their left arms. After the betrayal was complete, the Sabrines were then commanded to give to her everything which they had on their left arms, which included their massive and heavy shields. Tarpeia was crushed to death under their weight. The cliff at the location has since then been referred to as the Tarpeian Rock , and is the place wear traitors and treacherous people are thrown to their death.

Tarpeia
by Juliet Lewis Campbell

One woman who has herself acquired a very positive image is the poet Latorial Faison. She has been the recipient of many awards and is currently a professor at Sejong University in South Korea. Her poems have been published in a variety of forums both in the United States and abroad. Here is one that truly puts women in the sort of perspective that they would like to be kept in.

The Art of Mothering
by Latorial Faison

Women are, without doubt, one of the most common subjects of poems. While men certainly get a share of the limelight, women are most frequently the topic of interest. Whether it’s because of their beauty, or because of the many roles they perform in the world, or because they have such fascinating qualities that place them in a different level then men, or for any number of other reasons, without women, most poets would have little to write about.



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