In this special guest blog post, Ana Sampson discusses six female poets whose poetry has been forgotten (even if they are remembered for something else!)
In 2017, I decided that I wanted to read an anthology of poems by women spanning many centuries and diverse points of view. There had been nothing of this nature published for at least the last two decades. I began to research my own, in the process discovering a rich seam of wonderful work I had never read before, though some of the names were already familiar. Here are six women who wrote fantastic poetry – though it is not what they are remembered for today.
Mary Elizabeth Coleridge (1861-1907)
Mary was the great-great-niece of Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, but was much better known during her life for her eerie, imaginative novels. Read the rest of this entry
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) was a remarkable woman: as well as her writing, she is also celebrated for introducing smallpox inoculation to Britain, half a century before Edward Jenner developed vaccination against the disease. ‘A Hymn to the Moon’ is a wonderful short poem about the moon.
Written in July, in an arbour
Thou silver deity of secret night,
Direct my footsteps through the woodland shade;
Thou conscious witness of unknown delight,
The Lover’s guardian, and the Muse’s aid!
By thy pale beams I solitary rove,
To thee my tender grief confide;
Serenely sweet you gild the silent grove,
My friend, my goddess, and my guide.
E’en thee, fair queen, from thy amazing height,
The charms of young Endymion drew;
Veil’d with the mantle of concealing night;
With all thy greatness and thy coldness too. Read the rest of this entry
A commentary on one of Joyce’s shortest Dubliners stories
‘Araby’ is one of the early stories in James Joyce’s Dubliners, the 1914 collection of short stories which is now regarded as one of the landmark texts of modernist literature. At the time, sales were poor, with just 379 copies being sold in the first year (famously, 120 of these were bought by Joyce himself). And yet ‘Araby’ shows just what might have initially baffled readers coming to James Joyce’s fiction for the first time, and what marked him out as a brilliant new writer. But before we get to an analysis of ‘Araby’ (which can be read here), a brief summary of the story’s plot – what little ‘plot’ there is.
In summary, then: ‘Araby’ is narrated by a young boy, who describes the Dublin street where he lives. As the story progresses, the narrator realises that he has feelings for his neighbour’s sister and watches her from his house, daydreaming about her, wondering if she will ever speak to him. When they eventually talk, she Read the rest of this entry