I keep many poetry anthologies on my bookshelf, and I am always disappointed when these collections don’t give lady poets their due. Some of my favorite poetry is written by queer women, but most people don’t know about our contributions to the rich traditions of poetry. Here are five queer women whose poems you should go read today.
1. Sister Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651 – 1695)
Juana Inés de la Cruz was the illegitimate child of a Spanish captain and a mixed-race Mexican woman. She is a great example of an early feminist. She fought for her own education, becoming a nun so she could continue her study, and advocated for the education of all women. She even wrote poetry against the patriarchy (translation from Spanish is mine):
Foolish men, who accuse
women, for no good reason,
without seeing that they are the cause
of all which they blame us for;
if you with your overeagerness
earn their disdain
then why do you want them to do good
when you spur them on to evil?
She also had an intense relationship with María Luisa, the vicereine of Mexico. Few historical details are known about the nature of this relationship, but the poems Sister de la Cruz wrote to María Elena speak for themselves.