Rad Reads

5 inspiring poetry books by female authors

Snuggle up and unlock your inner bookworm this fall by diving into a curated collection! Get ready to enter the fascinating worlds of these books written by five award-winning female poets.

1. The Colossus and Other Poems

Amazon, $15

Sylvia Plath is inarguably one of the world's most famous female poets. She popularized confessional poetry at a time when talking about mental health wasn't as popular as it is today. She wrote honest and relatable poems, novels and short stories about depression, loneliness and isolation.

The Colossus and Other Poems tackles heavy subjects such as life, death, suicide and the suffering of women who don't fit into traditional ideals of femininity. She used vivid imagery to pen the book's classic poems "The Beekeeper's Daughter," "The Disquieting Muses" and more. If there are two things to take away from this book, it's that discussing mental health is *always* important and being feminine does not make you more or less of a woman.

2. The Golden Threshold

Amazon, $6

Sarojini Naidu, aka "the Nightingale of India," was an Indian political activist and one of the most famous female poets of the 21st century. She usually wrote about social issues such as anti-imperialism and women’s freedom, which were especially relevant during India’s independence movement.

The Golden Threshold is the name of the building Sarojini lived in with her family, which served as inspiration for the title of the book. She wrote lyrical poetry and folk songs to talk about everyday surroundings, women's literature, education, and more. As an activist, she used her poetry to speak up about women's issues, which is just as imperative today as it was back then.

3. Border Vista

Amazon, $16

Anni Liu may not be as well known as more famous classic poets, but she has become one of the most highly regarded contemporary female poets. She was born and raised in Xi’an, China before moving to Ohio at a young age. She writes about serious topics like immigration, capitalism, love, colonialism and loss.

In Border Vista, Anni writes lyrical, self-reflexive poetry about her experiences as an undocumented immigrant living in America. She revisits memories of her mother, who stayed behind in China, as well as the fear of loneliness as she searches for the meaning of life. Even if you can't relate to living as an immigrant, the themes are universal.

4. The Carrying

Amazon, $16

Ada Limón is a poet best known for her tender and vulnerable poetry that creates a sincere intimacy with her fans. Because of her honest writing, she became the first Latina to become a Poet Laureate of the United States.

The Carrying is a collection of brave poems about Ada coming to terms with her infertility in a society that places the value of a woman on her ability to have a child. Motherhood is expected of women, but what is a woman who can't have a child? She also writes about youth, acceptance and the meaning of womanhood.

5. A Burst of Light and Other Essays

Amazon, $13

Audre Lorde was a prose writer, poet, civil rights activist, philosopher and professor. She is well known as a radical feminist and LGBTQ+ icon for her social justice activism and work on intersectionality.

A Burst of Light and Other Essays is a collection of poems and essays about Audre's introspection on living with her African-American identity, lesbian identity, battle with breast cancer and more in a straight white man's world. She challenges issues that are still relevant today such as heteronormativity and equity while uplifting marginalized communities with her powerful words.

Are you adding these poetry books to your summer reading list? Let us know on Instagram @glbestiebookclub

Want even more book recs? Check out these posts:
📖 4 fiction books to read in honor of Black History Month
📖 5 classic books by women authors to reread this summer
📖 Body image books for your self-care summer

Slider image: Sincerely Media on Unsplash
Top image: @artistica_es_daniella


by Danielle Phillip | 9/21/2023