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Poems for Women’s History Month

Author John Cech (read by Fiona Barnes)
Air Date 3/21/2002

Poems for Women’s History Month Transcript

She was the one who seemed to run in the sky,
legs from nothing,
from nowhere,
her feet surrounded
by air.

That’s part of a poem by Grace Butcher written in honor of the great African-American track athlete, Wilma Rudolph, who won three gold medals in the 1960 Olympics. It’s one of dozens of poems in a wonderful new compilation of verse from Lillian Morrison, that rewrites in its title and contents the old description of what little girls are supposedly made of. Ms. Morrison calls her book, More Spice than Sugar, Poems About Feisty Females.

This spirited volume contains poems about famous women in history, like Joan of Arc and Clara Barton, Anne Frank and Elizabeth Blackwell, who became the first female doctor in America. One of the most inspiring of these verses is Eloise Greenfield’s ballad about Harriet Tubman, one of the legendary conductors on the Underground Railroad, that begins:

Harriet Tubman didn’t take no stuff
Wasn’t scared of nothing neither
Didn’t come into this world to be no slave
And wasn’t going to stay one either

In this energizing collection, which should be required reading for all growing girls, Ms. Morrison also includes poems about the experiences of Everygirl, whose declarations of independence will lead to the next generation of accomplishments, as Felice Holman proclaims in “When I Am Me” —

I’m impossible … possible,
breaking away from the
hard-holding hand
and flinging myself
in the air
on the sea
on a wave in the land
And thrashing about
just impossibly … possibly,
calling — no yelling —
as loud as I can,
I am me!

Posted in Holidays, Poetry