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Modern lyric poet

Recognize St. Louis in these words penned by poet Sara Teasdale to describe the view as she crossed the Eads Bridge?

Nineteenth-century women poets : an Oxford anthology
edited by Isobel Armstrong and Joseph Bristow with Cath Sharrock.
Oxford : Clarendon Press ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1996.
"Nineteenth-Century Women Poets is a major new anthology, selecting widely from writings produced in a period that has traditionally been associated with relatively few eminent female poets. Opening with Anna Laetitia Barbauld's petition to William Wilberforce and ending with the myth-making Irish writers of the Celtic revival, Nineteenth-Century Women Poets rediscovers rich and diverse female traditions. The anthology presents the work of over one hundred women writers. Besides featuring distinguished middle-class poets such as Felicia Hemans, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Christina Rossetti, the collection presents work by authors such as Maria Jane Jewsbury, Augusta Webster, and Michael Field, whose significance is only now becoming apparent. It achieves range and depth by reprinting poems by working-class, colonial, and political poets, in addition to very substantial selections from the work of major figures. The collection draws on first editions wherever possible." "The chronological span of the anthology provides a unique perspective on women's poetry from the late-Romantic period to the Victorian fin-de-siecle. The editorial commentary and headnotes supply biographical details, document the activities and publications of individual poets, examine the political formations and cultural groupings to which these writers belonged, and describe the print media which made the development of their work possible, in particular the minority journals that allowed them a voice."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
     

Hushed in the smoky haze of summer sunset,
When I came home again from far-off places,
How many times I saw my western city
Dream by her river.

This verse from Teasdale's poem Sunset: St. Louis” is a striking example of the lyric poetry by this St. Louis native.

Teasdale's major works

Sonnets to Duse (1907)
Love Songs (1917)
Flame and Shadow (1920)
Dark of the Moon (1926)
Stars To-night (1930)
Strange Victory (1933)

Sara Teasdale's poems introduce the reader to the emotions felt by a woman sheltered by her family during the years that saw the mores of the 19th century replaced by those of the 20th. Like the works of other women lyric poets of the time, the themes of love, nature, and death followed Teasdale throughout her life and her works.

Lyric poetry

In lyric poetry, the poet expresses personal feelings, ideas, or perceptions. The form takes its name from songs accompanied by the lyre.

Other women lyric poets writing at the same time as Sara Teasdale:

Emily Dickinson
Christina Rossetti
Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sara was born in the family home on St. Louis' Lindell Boulevard in 1884. Until she was in her twenties, her life revolved around family, a love of reading, and the beginnings of her poetry writing. Teasdale married in 1914 and moved to New York, where she continued to write poetry. Divorced in 1929, she often found solace in being alone.

On January 29 1933 Teasdale, weakened by pneumonia, took her own life. Visitors to St. Louis' Bellefontaine Cemetery can view her gravesite.

The complete poems
Christina Rossetti ; text [edited] by R.W. Crump ; notes and introduction by Betty S. Flowers.
London : Penguin, 2001.
Christina Rossetti is unique among Victorian poets for the sheer range of her subject matter and the variety of her verse form. This first fully annotated collection, based on the definitive texts, brings together fantasy poems such as "Goblin Market," terrifyingly vivid verses for children, love lyrics, sonnets, hymns, and ballads, as well as the vast body of her devotional poetry. Weaving connections between love and death, triumph and loss, heavenly joys and earthly pleasures, Rossetti's poems startle the imagination with their extraordinary truth, beauty, and intensity. This edition, the only one available in paperback, incorporates contextual notes as well as notes on the text and language, an introduction, and a chronology of Rossetti's life and work.
     
Christina Rossetti : a writer's life
Jan Marsh.
New York, N.Y., U.S.A. : Viking, 1995.
Includes bibliographical references (p. [609]-616) and index.
     
Lives like loaded guns : Emily Dickinson and her family's feuds
Lyndall Gordon.
New York, N.Y. : Viking, 2010.
From the author of "Vindication: A Life of Mary Wollstonecraft," a "New York Times" Notable Book, comes a startling portrayal of one of America's most significant literary figures that will change the way readers view her life and legacy.
     
White heat : the friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson
Brenda Wineapple.
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2008.
"The first book to portray one of the most remarkable friendships in American letters, that of Emily Dickinson - poet, recluse - and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, minister, literary figure, active abolitionist." "Their friendship began in 1862. The Civil War was raging. Dickinson was thirty-one; Higginson, thirty-eight. A former pastor at the Free Church of Worcester, Massachusetts, he wrote often for the cultural magazine of the day, The Atlantic Monthly - on such subjects as gymnastics, women's rights, and slavery. His article "Letter to a Young Contributor" gave advice to readers who wanted to write for the magazine and offered tips on how to submit one's work ("use black ink, good pens, white paper")." "Among the letters Higginson received in response was one scrawled in looping, difficult handwriting. Four poems were enclosed in a smaller envelope. He deciphered the scribble: "Are you too deeply occupied to say if my Verse is alive?"" "In this work, Brenda Wineapple re-creates the extraordinary, delicate friendship that led to the publication of Dickinson's poetry. And though she and Higginson met face-to-face only twice (he had never met anyone "who drained my nerve power so much," he said), their friendship reveals much about Dickinson, throwing light onto both the darkened door of the poet's imagination and a corner of the noisy century that she and Colonel Higginson shared."--BOOK JACKET.
     

A popular poet throughout her lifetime, Teasdale’s collection, Love Songs, won the Columbia University-Poetry Society Prize (the forerunner of the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry) in 1918 as that year's best book of poems.

In her later work Flame and Shadow, Louis Untermeyer said Teasdale's words are "chosen with a keener sense of their actual as well as their musical value...Radiance plays round these verses." Others agreed and many of her poems have been set to music.

Sara Teasdale turned the simplest experiences into the memorable, the perfect blending of simplicity and powerful images. Each of her lyric poems introduces the reader to a poet who moved from a sheltered early life to an adult life of sadness and loss, but ultimately of lasting achievement.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff