Women's Poetry Websites

by Allessandria Polizzi

[Eds. note: This ongoing feature in Feminist Collections suggests and evaluates key websites on particular topics. This review is from the Spring 1998 issue.]

The World Wide Web has become a popular source for information on a miscellany of topics, but the number of strong sites on women and poetry is surprisingly more limited than one would expect. The websites I found on this topic fall into two categories: those about women and poetry in general and those on specific poets. This review examines primarily the general type, since these websites often have links to pages focused on a single poet. I also include sites that provide viewers with both poets and fiction writers, although my review focuses on their poetry sections.

Women Weave Their Words
Developed/Maintained by: Anne Johnson
Last updated: January 8, 1998
Reviewed: January 12, 1998

This website, which has won several awards (and rightly so), furnishes viewers with a lot of information about women and women's poetry. It is one of the most thorough sites I found on the Web, providing tips on writing poetry, some poems honoring grandmothers, links to sites accepting poetry submissions, and links to a wide number of individual poetry sites, among other things. Helpful for both the woman poet and the student interested in studying women s One of the pages on this site is titled Poetic Pages, which offers a lengthy list of links for those interested in women's poetry. The number of individual pages linked here creates a kind of community of women poets. The Womenfolk Featured Poetry page is also a nice place to read more women's poetry. Such elements make this site a worthwhile and fruitful source for women's poetry and for information on women poets.

The Isle of Lesbos: Lesbian Poetry
Developed/Maintained by: Alexandria North
Last updated January 21, 1996
Reviewed January 7, 1998

This website focuses on pre-1922 poets (nineteen women and five men at latest count) who portray the female-female love relationship in their works. North created the website in order to "educate people about intimacy between women and women's writing, as well as inspire the work of newer poets." This concept of a lesbian continuum highlights authors less commonly considered in such a light, including the small number of male authors included here. The poets are presented in chronological order, with the pages devoted to each providing biographical information, selected works, and a concise bibliography. Very well organized and viewer-friendly, the site provides graphic links atop each page to help the viewer return to the home page or move on to the next poet.

Victorian Women Writers Project
Developed/Maintained by: Perry Willett
Last updated: Janury 6, 1998
Reviewed: January 8, 1998

This website, fruit of the Victorian Women Writers Project, was created to provide " highly accurate transcriptions of literary works by British women writers of the late nineteenth century." The strength of the site is its numerous texts provided in HTML, TEI, or downloadable format. From the long alphabetical list on the List of Works page, the viewer can choose to see a transcription of the texts by such poets as Ada Cross (1844-1926), Amy Levy (1869-1889), and Edith Nesbitt (1858-1924). The weakness of the site is that it fails to give students of women's poetry any biographical or bibliographical information for further study. Bearing this in mind, this site is helpful for students interested in rare texts of Victorian women's writing, including poems.

Celebration of Women Writers
Developed/Maintained by: Mary Mark Ockerbloom
Last updated: December 1, 1997
Reviewed: January 8, 1998

Here is another website that examines women's writings in general and provides a solid amount of women s poetry. The goal is to "promote awareness of the breadth and variety of women's writing" throughout history. Organized alphabetically, chronologically (from three thousand B.C. to the twentieth century), and by nationality, some of the writers listed here have a webpage with biographical information (some even include drawings or pictures of the writer). A few of these selected writers also have links to bibliographies, e-texts, even their own homepages. For example, you might look for Indian poet Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949), Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva (1892-1941), one of the foremost Russian poets of this century, or Aemilia Bassano Lanyer (1569-1645), a poet connected at one time to the Court of Elizabeth I of England. Add this to a list of links to special collections and to more general bibliographies, and this site appears to have some of the most ample information on a wide variety of women writers accessible on the Web.

While the websites discussed here give a general over-view of women's poetry, they are accompanied by a large number of sites with pages on individual poets. I encourage those looking for such sites to begin their searches with these more general sites, perhaps try a few individual sites such as I have suggested, and see what their explorations reveal.

[Allessandria Polizzi is a poet and doctoral candidate in twentieth-century American Literature at the University of North Texas.]

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