National Poetry Month – “Her Kind”

I’m doing something a little special this month. It’s National Poetry Month in the U.S., so this month I’m sharing four of my favorite poems and what I like about them.

My favorite poem for this week is one that suggested to me by a college professor. The Creative Writing department was pretty small at the college I went to, so I got to know my creative writing professors pretty well, and vice versa. Knowing my personal writing style and the themes I liked to cover, my poetry professor suggested I check out Anne Sexton’s work, specifically, the poem “Her Kind.”

What do I like about this poem?

To begin with, it’s a super witchy poem, which is valuable to me in and of itself. Each stanza describes the life of a witch – an outcast woman – and each stanza ends with the line, “I have been her kind.” It’s a poem that’s very relatable as a fellow outcast and witchy woman.

What does academia say about this poem?

Like most of Anne Sexton’s work, “Her Kind” is a powerful confessional. Therefore, many scholars believe that to really understand “Her Kind” and Anne Sexton’s other poems you have to study Anne Sexton’s life and her struggles with postpartum depression and mental illness. I disagree. I first read “Her Kind” without knowing a damn thing about Anne Sexton except that she was a poet, and I immediately connected with the theme.

What does this poem mean to me?

“Her Kind” is a poem I resonate with a lot. It brings me a sense of pride and defiance; it says, “You say there’s no such thing as a witch? Here I fucking am.” The last stanza especially has a bit of an accusatory tone, which is a little cathartic for me. It says, “You say you’re the one with the moral high ground, yet here you are, torturing and killing me for the so-called crime of being myself.” It’s a powerful poem, and I think it’s my all-time favorite.

What do you like about this poem, and is there one similar you would recommend? Comment below, and don’t forget to subscribe!


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