Synopses & Reviews
This publication marks the first time in a hundred years that a wide range of nineteenth-century American women's poetry has been accessible to the general public in a single volume. Included are the humorous parodies of Phoebe Cary and Mary Weston Fordham and the stirring abolitionist poems of Lydia Sigourney, Frances Harper, Maria Lowell, and Rose Terry Cooke. Included, too, are haunting reflections on madness, drug use, and suicide of women whose lives, as Cheryl Walker explains, were often as melodramatic as the poems they composed and published. In addition to works by more than two dozen poets, the anthology includes ample headnotes about each author's life and a brief critical evaluation of her work. Walker's introduction to the volume provides valuable contextual material to help readers understand the cultural background, economic necessities, literary conventions, and personal dynamics that governed women's poetic production in the nineteenth century.