2018 marked the 100th anniversary of the first and most important book by Lola Ridge,The Ghetto and Other Poems. In the epic-length title poem, the Irish-American poet known for her radicalism celebrated the Jewish immigrants of New York City’s Lower East Side.
Terese Svoboda, author of Anything That Burns You: A Portrait of Radical Poet Lola Ridge (2018) wrote of her:
“A bigamist as well as an anarchist, Ridge left her son in an orphanage in L.A. soon after her arrival in the U.S., when she went to work for Emma Goldman and Margaret Sanger in New York. Ten years later, she protested Sacco and Vanzetti’s execution in Massachusetts, and faced down a rearing police horse.
Solo and broke in the next decade, she traveled to Baghdad and Mexico – and took a lover at sixty-one. Her five books of poetry contain poems about lynching, execution, race riots, and imprisonment.” Read More→
Gwendolyn Brooks (1917 – 2000) sustained a decades-long career as a poet, and was recognized with many honors, including the Pulitzer Prize, during her lifetime. Following is a sampling of poems by Gwendolyn Brooks, with links to analyses following each one.
This selection doesn’t claim to be the absolutely most representative of her poems, as that would be a tough call — so much of her work is part of the American literary canon.
Brooks’s poetic work included sonnets, ballads, and blues rhythm in free verse. She also created lyrical poems, some of which were book-length. Read More→
Elizabeth Bishop (1911 – 1979) the noted American poet, was recognized with numerous awards during the course of her career, including the Pulitzer Prize. Here you’ll find 8 iconic poems by Elizabeth Bishop that are among her best known.
Not a particularly prolific writer, Bishop published only 101 poems during her lifetime. Her literary reputation has grown since her death, with poems like “One Art,” “A Miracle for Breakfast,” “Sestina,” and “The Fish.”
As a poet, Bishop took great care to rewrite and revise her work. She didn’t give the reader much of a glimpse into her own life, but instead, her poems contained intimate observations of the physical world. She often expressed themes of loss and the struggle to find one’s place in the world in universal rather than personal way. Read More→
Hilda Doolittle (1886 – 1961), known by her nom de plume H.D., was an American-born poet, novelist, translator, and essayist. Following is a selection of poems by H.D. that speak to her experimental and innovative approach to the craft.
Modernism, psychoanalysis, and feminism were all influences on her work, as were the effects of World Wars I and II. H.D earned her place among iconic modernist writers including T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, and William Carlos Williams.
Anne Spencer, born Annie Bethel Bannister (February 6, 1882 – July 27, 1975), was an African-American poet, teacher, librarian, gardener, and civil rights activist. She’s best remembered as a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance. In this sampling of poems by Anne Spencer, we experience her affinity for nature, love, and life itself.
Spencer’s literary career began as she was a student in Virginia Seminary with her first poem, “The Skeptic.” After creating this poem, she continued to write on any surface she could find to record her thoughts, including the walls of her home and random scraps of paper. She was an outspoken advocate for women’s rights, civil rights, and granting the right of respect to everyone.