To Flush, My Dog by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 – 1861), the British poet, accomplished what few women writers did in her time — and that was gaining the respect and admiration of the literary world. In fact, she was far better known than her husband, fellow poet Robert Browning, in their lifetime.

Mary Russell Mitford, another writer, gave Elizabeth the cocker spaniel she named Flush as solace after the death of her brother in 1840.

From the start, Elizabeth adored Flush, so much so that she dedicated this poem to him. However, Flush wasn’t always on board with Robert Browning, his rival for Elizabeth’s affection. Browning even endured a few jealously mean bites during their legendary courtship. Read More→

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Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (full text)

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 – 1861) was immensely accomplished and respected in her own lifetime, no small accomplishment for a female poet. Following is the full text of what is arguably her best-known work, Sonnets from the Portuguese, a fragment of one of her major collections, Poems (1844/1850).

Born in County Durham, England, Elizabeth Barrett grew up in an atmosphere of privilege and culture, which allowed her to develop a precocious talent in poetry.

After having a collections of her poetry published while still in her teens, Elizabeth was introduced to British literary society in the 1830s. Her individual poems were becoming known and respected in these circles. Read More→

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Nets to Catch the Wind by Elinor Wylie (1921) – full text

Elinor Wylie (1885- 1928) was an American poet and novelist who had her heyday in the 1920s and 1930s. Her poetry was considered by some a modern successor to the romantic poets, and she was compared favorably with John Donne and Percy Shelley. Following is the full text of Nets to Catch the Wind (1921), her first officially published collection.

In her lifetime, she was celebrated nearly as much for her ethereal beauty and charm as for her talent. Her love life was marked by heartbreak, multiple marriages, and affairs.

Born Elinor Morton, she was stalked for years by the much-older Horace Wylie, a married attorney and father of three. Given her ultimate renown under the name Elinor Wylie, she might have echoed the immortal line by Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre “Reader, I married him” — but with greater scandal. Read More→

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11 Poems by Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda on Faith, Feeling, and Romance

Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga (March 23, 1814 – February 1, 1873), a Cuban-born Spanish writer, was considered one of the greatest romantic poets of the nineteenth century. Presented here is a selection of poems by Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, both in their original Spanish (poemas) and in English translation, exploring her views on religion and romance.

Much of the themes in Avellaneda’s work focuses on her experiences living in a male-dominated society. She also wrote about themes of love, feminism, an evolving world, and her experience being exiled from Cuba.

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11 Poems by Angelina Weld Grimké on Love, Longing, & Race

Angelina Weld Grimké (1880 – 1958) was an American playwright, poet, and educator best known for being a figure in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Following is a selection of poems by Angelina Weld Grimké on love, race, nature, and other subjects that preoccupied her.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Grimké was part of a family of biracial civil rights activists, and in earlier generations, abolitionists. Her father served some time as the Vice-President of the NAACP. Her great-aunts (including the similarly named Angelina Grimké Weld) were well-known abolitionists and advocates for women’s rights in the 19th century. They were significant influences for Grimké’s use of literature as a propagandist tool. Read More→

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