Elizabeth Bishop (February 8, 1911 – October 6, 1979) was a noted American poet. Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Bishop won numerous awards during the course of her career, including the Pulitzer Prize.
Her reputation as a significant poet has only grown since her death. Her most iconic poems include “The Fish,” “One Art,” “A Miracle for Breakfast,” and “Sestina.”
Bishop wasn’t a particularly prolific poet, preferring to spend long periods of time revising her work; she wrote just over one hundred poems. Her poetry is characterized by keen observations of the physical world and a serene yet searching attitude. Many of her poems grapple with themes of loss and the struggle to find one’s place in the world. Read More→
Seven Gothic Tales by Isak Dinesen (1885 – 1962) is a masterful collection of short stories by the Danish author best known for Out of Africa (1937), a now-controversial memoir of her life as a coffee plantation owner in the colonized Kenya of the 1920s.
In 1931, the plantation’s fortunes collapsed, and she returned to her family home in Denmark from Kenya. Karen Christenze Dinesen was the author’s original name, and she was known as Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke, or simply Karen Blixen, during her disastrous marriage.
Upon her return to her home country, she began writing in earnest. In 1934, Seven Gothic Tales, a collection of stories she had written in English, was published. Read More→
The women’s suffrage movement in the United States led to the establishment of the legal right for women to vote nationally when the 19th amendment was ratified 1920. Here we present twelve African-American suffragists whose contributions shouldn’t be overlooked, a mere fraction of those who should be acknowledged and honored.
As women’s suffrage gained momentum in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, African-American women often were marginalized. Yet despite the odds, Black suffragists made important strides in the fight for voting rights.
African-American women suffragists dealt with the political concerns of white suffragists who were aware that they needed the support of Southern legislators both on the state and federal levels. Read More→
If you or someone you love is both an Emily Dickinson aficionado and an avid gardener, Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life by Marta McDowell is a book to treasure. This 2019 publication (Timber Press, Portland, OR) is a full color, lushly illustrated homage to an enigmatic woman who was not only a brilliant poet, but a keen observer of the natural world around her.
Organized by season, this gorgeous book is revised from an edition first published in 2004, by an author whose expertise in gardens dovetails with an avid interest in classic women authors who cultivated them. From the publisher: Read More→
Louisa May Alcott (1832 – 1888) may be best known as the author of Little Women and its sequels, but there was more to her than these genteel (yet gently subversive) domestic tales. The fascinating facts about Louisa May Alcott that follow might surprise those who don’t know a lot about the woman behind Little Women.
From her teen years on, Louisa was determined to make a living as a writer. She became the Alcott family’s primary breadwinner at a young age, mostly by writing and selling anonymous thrillers, or what she called “blood and thunder” tales.
And from there her writing life unfolded, often in unexpected ways. She was a complex woman whose views were reflected in her literary output. 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.
For the book-lover in your life, here are a half dozen literary gift books — all related, directly or fancifully — to a few of the beloved literary ladies on this site. These 2019 publications (with the exception of the Brontë collection boxed set, late 2018), offer some fresh takes in homage to (or by) some of our favorite authors.
Here you’ll find a beautiful, full-color book on Emily Dickinson’s affinity for gardens and botany; a new collection of words of wisdom from Toni Morrison; quotes from Agatha Christie’s amateur sleuth Miss Marple; a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from the standpoint of Charlotte Lucas; a fun compilation of Austen-inspired cocktails; and a beautiful boxed set of the Brontë sisters most iconic novels.