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13 Things By Women You Can Read In One Sitting

March is Women's History Month. Or rather, Herstory Month.

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Poems

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"A Poem About My Rights" by June Jordan

If you haven't read activist, poet and teacher June Jordan, start here. The poem covers everything from rape culture to corporate interests to racism, all leading to her declaration, "I am not wrong: Wrong is not my name."

"Practicing" by Marie Howe

Former New York State poet laureate Marie Howe writes a different kind of love poem in Practicing. In her own words, it's a "poem of praise" to the girls she practiced kissing with in middle school.

"The Erotic Philosophers" by Carolyn Kizer

Literary and cultural references abound in Carolyn Kizer's sharp poem that takes aim at your favorite religiously-minded philosophers.

"Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty)" by Anne Sexton

You're not in Disney world anymore. Anne Sexton doesn't shy away from the dark implications of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale.

"wishes for sons" by Lucille Clifton

Lucille Clifton gives voice to a wish that perhaps every woman has felt at some point in her life: periods for everyone!

Short Stories

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"A Temporary Matter" by Jhumpa Lahiri

Pained silences and observations of the fragility of marriage dominate Jhumpa Lahiri's affecting short story. Shoba and Shukumar receive a notice that their electricity will be shut off in the evenings. Their temporary situation enables them to tell each other secrets, which quickly grow deeper.

"Recitatif" by Toni Morrison

While we wait for Toni Morrison's latest novel, it's the perfect time to read her only published short story. In vignettes, Morrison traces the relationship between Roberta and Twyla from childhood to adulthood, without mentioning the racial identity of either.

"Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates

Playing both on the sexual revolution and paranoia of the 1960s, Joyce Carol Oates fosters an increasing level of terror in his her highly symbolic and allusion filled short story.

"Antarctica" by Laura van den Berg

Included in The Best American Short Stories 2014 collection, Laura van den Berg's story of isolation and relationships in the most secluded place on Earth will leave you wondering how well anyone can truly know someone else.

Essays

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"The White Album" by Joan Didion

Why do we tell ourselves stories? Joan Didion asks in her essay on the underlying, and eventually fulfilled, paranoia of the 1960s. To live.

"In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens" by Alice Walker

Alice Walker reflects on the creative legacy of the generations who came before her. Instead of their creative spirit revealing itself in writing, the mothers and grandmothers that Walker praises expressed their artistry through their every day lives.

"Matricide" by Meghan Daum

In writing about her mother's death, Meghan Daum confronts the 'unspeakable' or unflattering moments of her own life. She doesn't show us her 'best' face, but instead, the honest one.

"The Difficult Miracle of Black Poetry in America: Something Like A Sonnet for Phillis Wheatley" by June Jordan

June Jordan gets two mentions because we don't talk about her work enough. Jordan's reflection on Phillis Wheatley's poetry highlights the true miracle that it was, and, is.

What are your favorite poems, short stories, and essays by women? Share yours in the comment section.

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