Don’t Miss a Thing

Get our latest essays, archival selections, reading lists, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.

Search Website
Reading List March 08, 2019

Women Who Write

Women (and nonbinary folks) who write — a reading list.

“When Sylvia Plath’s Ariel was published, American women noticed. Not only women who ordinarily read poems, but housewives and mothers. The women’s movement was poetry.”

Yesterday’s celebration of International Women’s Day inspired us to revisit these fantastic articles in our archive about women (and nonbinary folks) who write.

From household names such as Eileen Myles and Elizabeth Bishop, to the quietly brilliant Ellen Willis, this reading list puts women poets, novelists, and public intellectuals center stage, with a special focus on those who problematize gender and womanhood.

—Rosie Gillies


Feminist Icons in Love
by Vivian Gornick

“Colette the wild child, de Beauvoir the stern political intellectual, Duras the amoral druggie—one and all, exalted and mortified by Love with a capital L, humiliated to the bottom of their souls yet held in lifelong thrall.”

• • •

Celebrating Sylvia
by Honor Moore

“Sylvia Plath was no longer an isolated victim, but the avatar of a new female literary consciousness.”

• • •

Callimachus in Jelly Shoes
by Nicholas D. Nace

Advice from the Lights is the last book to bear the name Stephen and the first one, apart from the 2015 chapbook All-Season Stephanie, written almost entirely by Stephanie.”

• • •

Eileen Myles and the End of Gender

by Erica Kaufman

“How does one have a self? That’s like the great question. Not who am I? But what am I?” — Eileen Myles

• • •

How to Think About Empire
an interview with Arundhati Roy

Boston Review speaks with Arundhati Roy on censorship, storytelling, and her problem with the term “postcolonialism.”

• • •

The Passion of Ellen Willis
by Judith Levine

“Willis, who died of lung cancer in 2006, was one of the great public intellectuals of her generation. She was virtually incapable of writing a poor sentence or conceiving an unsurprising insight.”

• • •

Reading Other Women
by Rafia Zakaria

Atiya Fyzee, a Muslim woman in colonial India, traveled to London in 1906. Rafia Zakaria reads her travelogue, finding in it strong opinions and incisive observations.

• • •

One Long Poem
by Heather Treseler

A stunning trove of letters from Elizabeth Bishop to her therapist sheds light on the personal secrets that shaped her poetry.

Our weekly themed Reading Lists compile the best of Boston Review’s archive. Previews are delivered to members every Sunday. Become a member to receive them ahead of the crowd.

Boston Review is nonprofit and reader funded.

Contributions from readers enable us to provide a public space, free and open, for the discussion of ideas. Join this effort – become a supporting reader today.

Sign Up for Our

Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.

Donate Today

Most Recent

Support us with a donation this giving season. 

Joshua Cohen Deborah Chasman

Robin D. G. Kelley on the midterm elections.

Robin D. G. Kelley Deborah Chasman

What we have achieved this year—and our plans for 2023. 

Rosie Gillies