0

After taking part in the Presidential Inaugural ceremony, all online articles refer to Amanda Gorman as a poet.

Poetess, meaning a female poet, is a well established term of the English language, so why do they call her poet?

PS: I don’t think that the suggested duplicate question has much to do with what I am asking. My concern is specific about the usage of the term poetess.

1
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jan 20, 2021 at 23:29

1 Answer 1

5

Basically, poetess is dated. Poet is the common standard irrespective of one's gender.

In English, over time, the gender-specific nature of many nouns started to be questioned. Is it necessary to distinguish that one is a female poet vs a male poet? Or a male vs female author? Even the term 'actress' is starting to be seen as outdated by some, who prefer to opt for 'female actor' when it's necessary to specify the gender.

Where the gender makes a significant difference (such as mother vs father), such nouns, of course are not questioned. In my stated examples, however, the effect of gender-specific nouns can be seen as negligible, if not distracting.

1
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jan 20, 2021 at 23:30

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.