A place to find love poems
Inspired by the lack of diversity that characterizes the results at the top of Google's poetry search results, this project aims to showcase and celebrate a variety of love poems and poets. To this end, I've experimented with different technologies to curate and create love poem carousels that help people discover new poems, as well as old favorites. The poems themselves are published on either the Academy of American Poet's or the Poetry Foundation website, and clicking any poem in a carousel will bring you directly to the relevant site.
This is an ongoing project and I will be creating and posting new carousels, so please check back for updates or follow @LoveCarousel on Twitter, where I will announce new additions.
In August of 2020, I collected 710 poems identified as love poems by the Academy of American Poets. Based on the pronouns in the author bios, I determined that 407 poems were written by male poets and 297 by female poets (4 of the bios used the gender-neutral 'they' and several, e.g. '1 Corinthians 13:4', had no author).
I wanted a collection of 1000 love poems, so I added more poems tagged as love by the Poetry Foundation. Note that I found over two thousand love poems on the Poetry Foundation site and decided to add only ones that were likely written by women (I ran the first names through a gender predicting program and selected one poem by each poet identified as female, for a total of 365 new poems). Ultimately, I put together a set of 1075 poems, of which I estimate a little over 60 percent are written by women.The complete list is here.
In mid July of 2020, I opened my browser and searched for ‘love poems.’ Of over thirty poems in the carousel displayed at the top of the search results, only two were authored by women: “Mad Girl’s Love Song” by Sylvia Plath and “Oriri” by Marie Stopes.
As I searched for banned texts on Project Gutenberg, which hosts over 58,000 texts that can be downloaded free of charge, I began to wonder how many of the books—banned or not—were by women.
Drop a line! I'd love to hear from you.