Thursday, March 8, 2007

Ruth Padel's top 10 women poets

In honor of International Women's Day, Ruth Padel, prizewinning poet and former chair of the UK Poetry Society, chose her favorite poets who happen to be women.

Here are her top two picks:

She is in fragments but still astonishing. Just look at her beautiful language, her total swashbuckling trust in the image to say it all (anyone who loves haiku will love her too), her mix of gorgeous metaphor with direct emotion: "The stars are sinking; the watch goes by; I lie alone." Despite having been translated, imitated and versioned down the millennia, these fragments are still fresh, heartbreaking, memorable and strong. She lays out the stall for us all, both in what she is saying and how she says it. What do people care for? "Look at that other person also in love with you." She celebrates, and questions, and turns in the light, the beauty of what is.

Emily Dickinson

You can't do without her: those leaps of idea between one beautiful, surprising phrase and the next. Mysterious, ferociously original, poignant and evocative: the power of pure thought compressed to diamond.
Read about the rest of Padel's list.

Learn more about Ruth Padel's book Tigers in Red Weather, which has just been been shortlisted for the 2007 Kiriyama Prize in non-fiction, for books that promote understanding of South Asia.

And see what she's been reading.

--Marshal Zeringue