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Reading to Smash the Patriarchy

At 49th Shelf, we always make a thing of International Woman's Day—previous posts for the occasion include Everyday Is Malala Day, Read the 30 Women Who Ruled Canadian History, Angela Sterritt on The Legacy of Violence Against Indigenous Women in Canada, and Sally Armstrong on The Ascent of Women. But this year more than ever before, a day to challenge the system and raise up women feels incredibly necessary—and like not nearly enough. 

And so to that end, we've enlisted Erin Wunker, author of Notes From a Feminist Killjoy, to recommend some essential reading for patriarchy smashing, works of poetry that are challenging in all senses of the word.  


As my friend Tanis MacDonald has written, every time I talk about Canadian poetry I feel I am doing something radical. This is even more true when I talk about poetry written by women and women-identifying people writing in the context of Canada. The titles I’ve chosen are challenging. Indeed, they are challenging insofar as they shake at the structures of what is in service of what might be. They are, to me, hopeful without turning away from inequity and pain. They are radical in their enactments of gender politics and poetics. They are working to make us better readers, these books. They breathe life into my …

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