Poets have been a unique position in any culture, they move people with their sentiments and drive them to understand their own society and the people around them. A female poet has at the same time a very different role than male authors. We can see parables to this event through specific events in time such as female poets involved with many black power movements who would be suppressed by their male counter parts for writing about violence within the community. It is within a community that the voice of the women writers can speak to a more diverse understanding of that society to outsiders.
It has been a prevailing theme throughout our course on women writers to discuss not only the women writers who stood out, or writers who defined the genre, we discussed a number of varying degrees of women writers. The periods we discuss give us the background and precedent in understanding the history of women writing. However, it is through the many stories of women of color that we can discover personal experiences for different culture and the diverse nature of culture. Women poet’s of color allow us to have a better understanding of the people around us, they speak to new stories and tales and expands a person’s personal background. It was important for our class to go into this idea of women of color because without understanding the difference would be selling this tale short.
Lucille Clifton, an African American writer has been a defining leader as a “Woman of Color”, her pieces were celebrations of her heritage, the role of woman in society, and the female body. To Clifton her background changed her and not just defined her but influenced her as a woman and as a human.
The excerpt below speaks to Clifton’s discussion of the female body titled “Homage to My Hips” creates a sexual, physical, and social perspective to a woman and her hips.
these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don’t fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don’t like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top
Jamiaca Kincaid was born in the Caribbean, on the island of Antigua. She however moves to Vermont at a young age and talks of the her heritage and the influence of her mother. She has been important to the role of woman of color as a writer who early on wrote about the heritage of living back home on the island, but pushed aside often from a young age. Below is an excerpt from the poem “Girl” and in writing about her tales from back home she talks about the importance of her life growing up and the details that follows her.
“Wash the white clothes on Monday and put them on the stone heap; wash the color clothes on Tuesday and put them on the clothesline to dry; don’t walk barehead in the hot sun; cook pumpkin fritters in very hot sweet oil; soak your little cloths right after you take them off; when buying cotton to make yourself a nice blouse, be sure that it doesn’t have gum on it, because that way it won’t hold up well after a wash”
Toni Cade Bambara, an African American poet, social activist, and social activist she wrote as someone who never had a voice. An African American woman fighting for her own rights, she is a minority that stands alone in many ranks. Bambara was a writer who stood alone in social activists groups. In one of her most famous writings “Blues Ain’t No Mockin Bird” a short story that held up the point of view of a young black woman from the south. It is one of social, and political struggle and the divide between races.
“The puddle had frozen over, and me and Cathy went stompin in it. The twins from next door, Tyrone and Terry, were swingin so high out of sight we forgot we were waitin our turn on the tire. Cathy jumped up and came down hard on her heels and started tapdancin. And the frozen patch splinterin every which way underneath kinda spooky. “Looks like a plastic spider web,” she said. “A sort of weird spider, I guess, with many mental problems.”
From the opening paragraph of her story, we see the culture and liveliness that follows her family and writing style. This prolific piece is something that creates a new sorted ideas and values for many family, order, and race.