She Wields a Pen

She Wields a Pen

American Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century
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1997
416 pp
Paper: 
$24.95
0877455759
9780877455752

“This timely anthology restores some of the plenitude of nineteenth-century women's poetry and the history of ideas surrounding it. Including biographies and criticism, Ms. Gray explores the poems in their cultural context. Bringing together the work of nearly sixty poets, she surveys both classics and lesser-knowns, largely lost to history and an academic canon based on ideals of masculinity.”—American Poet

She Wields a Pen: American Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century edited by Janet Gray includes biographies and criticism as well as the poems of 60 women poets from the 19th century…Given that perhaps many of the poets in the collection are little known, this could be an invaluable resource.”—Feminist Bookstore News

“Sixty poets are represented in Gray's new landmark anthology …[that explores] not only the poems [of those women writers] but the culture that produced them.”—U.S. 1

She Wields a Pen does more to reveal the multiple lives, concerns, and social complexities of nineteenth-century women than do the 3,000 page anthologies from the larger publishing houses…[Gray] places the poems of Hawaiian Queen Lili'uokalani next to Emily Dickinson, Owl Women next to Emma Lazarus, Ann Plato next to Louisa May Alcott. Poets never mentioned in The Oxford Companion to Women's Writing in the United States appear in Gray's anthology. Authors who never made it to the more compendious and infinitely impressive Norton Anthology of African American Literature are given space in these 374 pages…Gray has put together an anthology that at times seems comprehensive and at times idiosyncratic. Perhaps this is the real delight of the text—its ability to surprise while also assuring us that the nineteenth century (or perhaps we should say certain aspects of the nineteenth century) will come alive in the reading of these poems…She Wields a Pen never strives to impress or to ostentatiously display its scholarship, though the text clearly could not have been written without many hours of research and consideration; instead, this anthology unfolds like a novel of several women's lives.”—Juda Bennet, Transformations

Nineteenth-century America was a nation in the making, with poetry playing its part by singing the new republic in its every facet and mood. Written and read by millions, poetry poured off the presses. No rarefied art form but a vast and varied industry, poetry provided a profession for many women barred from the more traditional masculine occupations. These women have largely been lost to literature, even though they include some the America's greatest and most rewarding poets. With the revealing exception of Emily Dickinson, a modern academic canon based on ideals of masculinity and on a modernist view of heroic individualism has dispensed with their work.

She Wields a Pen restores some of the plenitude of women's poetry as well as the history of ideas surrounding it. By including biographies and criticism, Janet Grey explores not just the formal qualities of these poems but also their cultures. Bringing together the work of some sixty poets, she reframes American literature as a comparative discipline comprising heterogeneous cultures. Her landmark anthology restores to a century's literature the feminist strand and with it the sense that poetry represents not merely the strivings of solitary genius but the collective concerns of human communities, not only the elaborate intellectual edifices of self-consciously literary writing but the speaking voices of real women in a multiracial America.

Table of contents: 

ELIZA LEE FOLLEN 1787-1860

Lines on Nonsense
For the Fourth of July
Children in Slavery
SARAH JOSEPHA HALE 1788-1879
Mary's Lamb
from Three Hours; or, The Vigil of Love:
from First Hour
HANNAH F. GOULD 1789-1865
Apprehension
The Butterfly's Dream
The Child's Address to the Kentucky Mummy
LYDIA HUNTLEY SIGOURNEY 1791-1865
Death of an Infant
Indian Names
Poetry
The Western Emigrant
Erin's Daughter
CAROLINE GILMAN 1794-1888
from Oracles for Youth: What Will Be Your Destiny? Forty-Three Answers
PENINA MOISE 1797-1880
To Persecuted Foreigners
The Newspaper
JANE JOHNSTON SCHOOLCRAFT (BAME-WA-WA-GE-ZHIK-A-QUAY) 1800-41
Otagamiad
ELIZABETH OAKES-SMITH 1806-93
from The Sinless Child, Part IV
FRANCES ANNE KEMBLE
Sonnet
To Shakespeare
Sonnet
Faith
Sonnet
MARGARET FULLER 1810-50
Meditations
The One in All
Lines Written in Boston on a Beautiful Autumnal Day
MARY S. B. DANA SHINDLER 1810-83
Real Comfort
REBEKAH GUMPERT HYNEMAN 1812-75
from Female Scriptural Characters: No. 5, Judith
ADA (SARAH LOUISA FORTEN) b. 1814
An Appeal to Women
The Scroll is Open
CATHERINE ANA WARFIELD 1816-77 and
ELEANOR PERCY LEE 1820-49
The Sun-Struck Eagle
Forests and Caverns
JULIA WARD HOWE
Battle-Hymn of the Republic
from Lyrics of the Street:
The Lost Jewel
Outside the Party
The Soul-Hunter
Street Yarn
The House of Rest
ANN PLATO b. ?1820
Advice to Young Ladies
The True Friend
ALICE CARY 1820-71
The Window Just Over the Street
In Bonds
The West Country
Telling Fortunes
MARGARET JUNKIN PRESTON 1820-97
Erinna's Spinning
FRANCES JANE CROSBY VAN ALSTYNE 1820-1915
The Mandan Chief
Let Me Die on the Prairie
On Hearing a Description of a Prairie
Thoughts in Midnight Hours
We Are Going
Blessed Assurance
I Am Thine, O Lord
ELIZABETH DREW BARSTOW STODDARD 1823-1902
The House by the Sea
Nameless Pain
The Wife Speaks
'One morn I left him in his bed'
Before the Mirror
Above the Tree
PHOEBE CARY 1824-71
Homes for All
Harvest Gathering
Shakespearian Readings
LUCY LARCOM 1824-93
A Little Cavalier
What the Train Ran Over
FRANCES ELLEN WATKINS HARPER 1825-1911
from Aunt Chloe: The Deliverance
ROSE TERRY COOKE
Schemhammphorasch
'Che Sara Sara'
A Hospital Soliloquy
ACHSA W. SPRAGUE c.1828-62
from The Poet: from Scene 3
EMILY DICKINSON 1830-86
Fascicle 34:
'Bereavement in their death to feel'
'I think to Live - may be a Bliss'
'A little Road - not made of Man -'
'Her Sweet turn to leave the Homestead'
'Pain - has an Element of Blank -'
'So much Summer'
'Promise This - When You be Dying -'
'I had no time to Hate'
'My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun -'
'The Sunrise runs for Both -'
'No Bobolink - reverse His Singing'
'One Blessing had I than the rest'
'Victory comes late -'
'The Mountains - grow unnoticed -'
'These - saw Visions -'
'Strong Draughts of Their Refresing Minds'
'We miss Her, not because We see -'
'Essential Oils - are wrung -'
HELEN HUNT JACKSON 1830-85
Solitude
Distance
My House Not Made with Hands
My Strawberry
Emigravit
Opportunity
MARY MAPES DODGE 1831-1905
The Mayor of Scuttleton
'Fire in the window'
'Someone in the garden'
'The Moon came late'
Shepherd John
'Early to bed'
The Way to Do It
Poor Crow!
The Wooden Horse
'Tinker, come bring your solder'
Taking Time to Grow
LOUSIA MAY ALCOTT 1832-88
The Lay of a Golden Goose
ELIZABETH AKERS ALLEN 1832-1911
Street Music
Rock Me to Sleep
In the Defences
MARY ABIGAIL DODGE (GAIL HAMILTON) 1833-96
Note
SARAH C. WOOLSEY (SUSAN COOLIDGE) 1835-1905
A Home
My Rights
HARRIET PRESCOTT SPOFFORD 1835-1921
Magdalen
The Tryst
SARAH M. B. PIATT 1836-1919
The Palace-Burner
The Witch in the Glass
A Child's Party
MARY ELIZA PERINE TUCKER LAMBERT 1838-?
from Loew's Bridge: A Broadway Idyl
QUEEN LILI'UOKALANI (LYDIA KAMAKAEHA) 1838-1917
Aloha'oe (Farewell to Thee)
Sanoe
Ku'u Pua I Paoakalani (My Flower at Paoakalani)
Ka Waiapo Lani (Heavenly Showers)
ADAH ISAACS MENKEN ?1839-68
Judith
OWL WOMAN (JUANA MANWELL [PAPAGO]) fl. ?1880
Songs for the Four Parts of the Night
CONSTANCE FENIMORE WOOLSON 1840-94
from Two Women:
One
The Other
INA COOLBRITH 1842-1928
Longing
My 'Cloth of Gold'
Ownership
Lines
EMMA LAZARUS 1849-87
How Long?
Success
The New Colossus
Long Island Sound
City Visions
1492
from On the Voyage to Jerusalem
HENRIETTA CORDELIA RAY 1849-1917
Self-Mastery
The Quest of the Ideal
An Ocean Musing
The Tireless Sculptor
Toussaint L'Ouverture
ELLA WHEELER WILCOX 1850-1919
Communism
Solitude
Burdened
In the Night
No Classes!
Woman
My Grave
ROSE HARTWICK THORPE 1850-1939
Cufrew Must Not Ring Tonight
MOLLIE E. MOORE DAVIS 1852-1909
Going Out and Coming In
Cry of a People
EDITH M. THOMAS 1854-1925
Cries of the Newsboy
LIZETTE WOODWORTH REESE 1856-1935
Mid-March
Telling the Bees
Indian Summer
A Street Scene
An Old Belle
The Day Before Spring
Trust
Mystery
Reserve
ZARAGOZA CLUBS fl. 1860
fromHeroes del Cinco de Mayo:
Merced J. de Gonzales, 'Mejico libre ha de ser'
Andrea Belarde, 'Que hombre sera el mas villano?'
Bell Warner, 'A todo el Norte quiero ver'
Arcadia Alvarado, 'Yo no quiero monarquia'
Refujio Diaz, 'El tonto Maximiliano'
Francisca Garcia, 'Mejico! tu que en tus Campos'
Refujia Diaz, 'Mis amigos una copa'
from Homenajes de gratitud:
Isabel Warner, 'Cuando el infame frances'
Teresa Morales, 'Por que, Mejico hermoso'
Refugio Arce de Silva, 'En medio de la tarde'
Filomeno Ibarra, 'En la antigua Roma habia'
CHARLOTTE PERKINS STETSON GILMAN 1860-1935
Homes
The Anti-Suffragists
The Mother's Charge
Christian Virtues
JOSEPHINE DELPHINE HENDERSON HEARD 1861-19-?
To Clements' Ferry
Tennyson's Poems
Thine Own
Love Letters
The Black Sampson
EMILY PAULINE JOHNSON (TEKAHIONWAKE) 1861-1913
Marshlands
Joe
Wave-Won
LOUSIE IMOGEN GUINEY 1861-1920
Down Stream
Garden Chidings
A Reason for Silence
John Brown: A Paradox
The Atoning Yesterday
MARY WESTON FORDHAM b. ?1862
Atlanta Exposition Ode
Serenade
The Coming Woman
ELLA HIGGINSON 1862-1940
Four-Leaf Clover
Eve
Moonrise in the Rockies
Dawn on the Willamette
A Dream of Sappho
'The Opal Sea'
Dawn
The Statue
CAROLYN WELLS 1862-1942
Fate
The Poster Girl's Defence
A Pastoral in Posters
The Original Summer Girl
A Problem
Of Modern Books
VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE 1866-1912
Out of the Darkness
Love's Compensation
PRISCILLA JANE THOMPSON
Freedom at McNealy's
My Father's Story