11 Poems Every Young Woman Should Know

Feb 13, 2017

In What Are People For?, Wendell Berry wrote that a poem “may remind poet and reader alike of what is remembered or ought to be remembered – as in elegies, poems of history, love poems, celebrations of nature, poems of praise or worship, or poems as prayers. One of the functions of the music or formality of poetry is to make memorable…”

We are all forgetful people and we live in a land of forgetful people, daily being called to forget all the more. We need poetry.    

With that in mind, here are 11 poems every young woman should know.

  1. What We Need Is Here by Wendell Berry
  2. Sonnet CXVI by William Shakespeare
  3. The Virgin by William Wordsworth
  4. Inferno, Cantos I-II by Dante (particularly when we compare the three beasts who hinder Dante in Canto I with the three ladies who help Dante in Canto II)
  5. Modern Elfland by G.K. Chesterton
  6. Love (III) by George Herbert
  7. To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time by Robert Herrick
  8. Proverbs 31:10-31 by King Solomon (some consider the Proverbs to be a work of poetry; I’m granting it here, and in doing so, probably should amend my list for young men!)
  9. God’s Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins
  10. Marriage by Wendell Berry
  11. Pain Has An Element of Blank by Emily Dickinson  

What do you think? What poems would you add to the list?

Brian  Phillips

Brian Phillips

Dr. Brian Phillips is the Director of CiRCE Consulting & the Headmaster of the CiRCE Academy.  He also serves as a pastor in Concord, NC, where he lives with his wife and their four children.

The opinions and arguments of our contributing writers do not necessarily reflect those of the Institute or its leadership.

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