Feminist Books of Poetry, Fiction, and Essays - recommended by Susan Rukeyser, author of Not On Fire, Only Dying and editor of Feckless Cunt: A Feminist Anthology
Statement from our curator:
From the moment I realized, as a little girl, that my gender was considered inferior, I’ve sought an explanation. I was heavily influenced by 2nd wave feminists, and I find myself equally drawn to, and educated by, the younger, 3rd wave feminists, who insist the conversation be intersectional. On this list, you’ll find essay collections, books of poetry, novels, even a craft book. It is not intended to be definitive. These are personal recommendations, representing ideas and solutions from a diverse group of writers and thinkers from the late 19th century to present day. I hope that this list, along with the book I edited, Feckless Cunt: A Feminist Anthology, offer inspiration and fuel for the continued fight.
-Susan Rukeyser, www.susanrukeyser.com
Feckless Cunt: A Feminist Anthology
Susan Rukeyser (Editor)$10.00
Anthology edited and published by this section's curator Susan Rukeyser
Recently adapted as a TV series, this beautifully written book draws us into the world of darkly competitive teenage girls.
We Should All Be Feminists
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie$10.00 $9.30
Adapted from her viral TEDx talk, this long essay suggests a more diverse, inclusive definition of feminism for the 21st century.
The Complete Poetry
Maya Angelou$30.00 $27.90
Best known for her autobiographies, Angelou wrote acclaimed and groundbreaking poetry, including the famous, “Phenomenal Woman” and “Still I Rise.”
The Handmaid's Tale
Margaret Atwood$15.95 $14.83
This dystopian classic, which spawned the popular TV series, is required reading. Eerily prescient, it imagines a near future in which women lose their bodily autonomy. Also, her novel Oryx & Crake, an astonishing work of science fiction that blurs current genetic experimentation and corporate control with a wholly altered future world.
Bomer’s debut challenges the way we talk about “sacred” motherhood with this story of a wife and mother, unexpectedly pregnant for the 3rd time, who abandons her family for a reckless road trip.
Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write
Another contributor to the Feckless Cunt Anthololgy, Brandeis explores craft with ideas and exercises to liberate the sensual writer within.
Burn It Down: Women Writing about Anger
A modern, cathartic anthology of essays by women exploring their relationships with rage.
Gillian Flynn$17.00 $15.81
The outstanding debut novel by the author of Gone Girl, this is a psychological thriller with a compellingly dark female protagonist.
Roxane Gay$17.00 $15.81
A smart, funny collection of personal essays and criticism about being feminist and imperfect. Also, Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, which Gay edited, a powerful, even uncomfortable, anthology of personal yet universal experiences.
Lord of the Butterflies
Andrea Gibson$16.00 $14.88
One of the most popular spoken-word performers, Gibson writes with tenderness and generosity about nonbinary gender, love, and more.
The Yellow Wallpaper: Original and Unabridged
Charlotte Perkins Gillman$8.75
. Published in 1892, it remains a feminist classic, as relevant today as ever, in its protest of a patriarchal medical profession that disbelieves and mistreats women.
When She Woke
Hillary Jordan$16.95 $15.76
A beautifully written, provocative book about a stigmatized woman in a near-future dystopia, this book is a reimagining of Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.
Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
Audre Lorde$16.99 $15.80
Lorde, a self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” offers her bold, intersectional, feminist perspective in endlessly quotable prose.
Cunt (20th Anniversary Edition): A Declaration of Independence
Inga Muscio$18.99 $17.66
In this classic book, newly revised, Muscio celebrates the “c” word and encourages other women to claim its power while discussing a host of feminist issues.
Sharon Olds$18.00 $16.74
The first collection by this award-winning poet, Olds writes scorching, intensely personal poems with domestic themes.
The Moon Is Always Female: Poems
Piercy’s passionate and plain-spoken poetry addresses social and environmental issues. This volume includes her iconic, “For Strong Women.”
The Bell Jar
Sylvia Plath$17.00 $15.81
The classic story of a smart young woman’s dissatisfaction and descent.
The Dream of a Common Language: Poems 1974-1977
Adrienne Rich$15.95 $14.83
. Rich, one of the most important writers of feminism’s 2nd wave, explores the political and personal in woman-to-woman relationships, in all their forms.
Muriel Rukeyser: Selected Poems: (american Poets Project #9)
Rukeyser’s timeless, timely poetry explores equality and social justice. Highlights include “Poem (I lived in the first century of world wars…)” and “Käthe Kollwitz.” Also, Breaking Open, which includes the notable, “Despisals” and “The Ballad of Orange and Grape.”
Valerie Solanas$12.95 $12.04
A wild ride of madness or canny provocation? Solanas delivers a furious, rebellious manifesto of female empowerment and male subjugation.
Men Explain Things to Me
Rebecca Solnit$15.95 $14.83
Historian and activist Solnit writes about the modern, female experience, inspiring the now-ubiquitous term, “mansplaining.”
Everything is Personal: Notes on Now
Laurie Stone$18.00 $16.74
A longtime writer for The Village Voice, Stone is an irreverent, independent thinker, unafraid to challenge popular trends in social justice.
Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger
Rebecca Traister$17.00 $15.81
An empowering, journalistic survey of feminist anger over the last 100 years and its historically proven power to effect change.
In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose
Alice Walker$17.99 $16.73
Walker’s essays outline a new, intersectional way to talk about feminism, identifying and acknowledging the differences between white and black women’s experiences.
As the woman behind World Split Open Press and editor the Feckless Cunt anthology, Rukeyser has been a bastion of feminist influence on the heels of her debut lit-fic novel Not on Fire, Only Dying.