88 Lines About 44 Women Writers

February 24, 2020


Based, of course, on the song “88 Lines About 44 Women” by The Nails



Enheduanna was a poet

From four thousand years ago,

Sappho, too, wrote lyric lines

For lovers we may never know


Murasaki’s Tale of Genji

Might be the first novel ever,

Hildegard knew plants and music,

Mystical and wise and clever


Héloïse became a scholar,

Writing reams to Abelard,

Veronica the courtesan

Penned poems earning high regard


Aphra was a spy and playwright,

Boldly blazing cagey trails,

Marie-Catherine charmed the salons

With her retold fairy tales


Mary wrote on rights of women,

Did her gender proud and fine,

And her daughter, also Mary,

Gave the world a Frankenstein


Jane created Mr. Darcy,

Satirized society,

George’s books (or Mary Anne’s)

Show kindness and variety


Elizabeth, she loves thee, let her count the ways,

Her romance soars,

Charlotte gave us Rochester

And Jane Eyre out upon the moors


Emily is famed for Heathcliff,

Turbulent and dark and grim,

Anne wrote with more realism,

Sensible and calm and prim


Christina held a Goblin Market,

Lovely, eerie, and fantastic,

George romanced Chopin and kept her

Gender expression elastic


Harriet, with Uncle Tom,

Helped to encourage abolition,

Emily wrote eighteen hundred

Poems despite her shy condition


Louisa and her little women

Still cause us to rhapsodize,

Edith scored the Pulitzer,

The first woman to win the prize


Virginia urged a room of one’s own

For all women who would write,

Colette captivated France

As actor, novelist, playwright


Lucy Maud, she brought us Anne,

Now we all love Green Gables Farm,

Gertrude’s streams of consciousness

Challenge as they also charm


Agatha’s detectives make her

Outsell all the rest of us

Young Anne writing from an attic

Had faith in the best of us


Simone wrote of politics,

And culture, existentially,

Daphne’s stories (see Rebecca)

Gained fame exponentially


Anaïs’ journals

And erotica are wise and stirring

Flannery has Southern whimsy

With plenty of grace recurring


Harper’s Scout and Atticus

Have earned spots in posterity,

Maya told the truth of life

With starkness and hilarity


Shirley scared the hell out of us

With Hill House and other stories,

Octavia gave us a glimpse

Into the future’s trials and glories


Dorothy’s witty verse could cut you,

Every line a wicked smirk,

Gabriela taught and wrote

And earned the Nobel for her work


Mary wrote beloved poems,

Nature-loving and inspiring,

Isabel crafts magic novels,

Of her whimsy we’re admiring


Judy helped us all get through

Puberty with lessened pain,

Toni’s prose on race and life

Earns her fame; long may she reign


Ursula took us from Earthsea

To new planets far away,

Margaret’s handmaids made us shiver

May her wisdom light our way!



Women referenced:


1. Enheduanna

2. Sappho

3. Murasaki Shikibu

4. Hildegard of Bingen

5. Héloïse d’Argenteuil

6. Veronica Franco

7. Aphra Behn

8. Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, Baroness d'Aulnoy

9. Mary Wollstonecraft

10. Mary Shelley 

11. Jane Austen

12. Mary Anne Evans (George Eliot)

13. Elizabeth Barrett Browning

14. Charlotte Brontë

15. Emily Brontë

16. Anne Brontë

17. Christina Rossetti

18. George Sand

19. Harriet Beecher Stowe

20. Emily Dickinson 

21. Louisa May Alcott

22. Edith Wharton

23. Virginia Woolf

24. Colette

25. Lucy Maud Montgomery

26. Gertrude Stein 

27. Agatha Christie

28. Anne Frank

29. Simone de Beauvoir 

30. Daphne du Maurier 

31. Anaïs Nin 

32. Flannery O’Connor

33. Harper Lee 

34. Maya Angelou

35. Shirley Jackson

36. Octavia Butler

37. Dorothy Parker

38. Gabriela Mistral

39. Mary Oliver

40. Isabel Allende 

41. Judy Blume

42. Toni Morrison

43. Ursula K. LeGuin

44. Margaret Atwood


© Molly Ringle 2019