Last week two fifteen year old girls asked this question — miss, does anyone actually read poetry?
But what kind of answer is that from an English Teacher? And so today, the day before the day before summer, I spent my free period putting together a collection of fresh poetry for them.
When I googled ‘poems for teenage girls’, the internet only gave me Bukowski (wtf no), E.E. Cummings (okay), and Sylvia Plath (OG poet for teenaged girls), but there was nothing new (and no one alive). They were poems we could dissect in class — pull apart the threads of themes, count out the rhyme and rhythm, treat it like a treasure hunt for metaphors. But these are poems that speak to love/lust/lies/loneliness while also speaking to memes, aesthetics, rugby, and ramen. They are dark and weird and funny and sexy and you probably couldn’t write an exam essay on them, but that’s okay.
It’s poetry for poetry’s sake — printed on the school copiers and folded in purple — the question itself sings out from the cover. And maybe (maybe) these are the poems that will provide an answer:
2am at the Ramen Shop and I’m Trying to Say I Love You by Marina Sage Carlstroem
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
you/me, an intellectual by Lydia Wei
Fading Women by Nazanin Soghrati
an extract from You, Very Young in New York by Hannah Sullivan
Hate by Hera Lindsay Bird
Solitude Study by Jenny Xie
April Kōwhai by Nina Mingya Powles
Watching the Boys Play Rugby by Tayi Tibble
No Name by Emily Berry