Some poems 🖊️are so powerful that they transcend time. Their words capture ideas that challenge social norms. Here’s a few you should know because they have taken social disruption to new heights in our history.

Sor Juana / Britannica

Let’s start with women’s rights champion Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, who was known for her charm, beauty and wit. Her famous poem, “You Men”  ✍🏼 deplores the stupidity of men who question the intellectually capacity of women, and the first stanza graces the Mexican 200 peso 💸 note.   

Sor Juana Mexican bill / DC Library

This feminist nun lived during Mexico’s Colonial Period in the 17th century, and was unafraid to speak out against injustices at a time when women were expected to remain silent.

Pablo Neruda  /

Next, we have Chilean Pablo Neruda’s “Canto General” ✒️which is a history from pre-Hispanic times to the present. It includes “Las Alturas de Machu Picchu,” a work inspired by his journey to Peru’s ancient ruins and that’s widely regarded as his masterpiece.

Alejandra Pizarnik /

For Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik, as you read her poetry you can see that her struggles informed her writing. She was born to Jewish immigrants and struggled with clinical depression and drug addiction most of her life. One of her legacies is the beautifully haunting and powerful poem “La Jaula,” made famous for the final lines “Outside there is sun, I am dressed in ashes.”

These Latinx poems have made a mark in our community.