Tuesday, November 4, 2014

AN UNSUNG AMHERST LADY

I imagine that everyone who loves and reads poetry, thinks of Emily Dickinson when they hear about the female poet of Amherst, Massachussetts.  
But what about this other female poet of Amherst, who also published poetry in her lifetime?



November


Helen Hunt Jackson
This is the treacherous month when autumn days
With summer’s voice come bearing summer’s gifts.
Beguiled, the pale down-trodden aster lifts
Her head and blooms again. The soft, warm haze
Makes moist once more the sere and dusty ways,
And, creeping through where dead leaves lie in drifts,
The violet returns. Snow noiseless sifts
Ere night, an icy shroud, which morning’s rays
Will idly shine upon and slowly melt,
Too late to bid the violet live again.
The treachery, at last, too late, is plain;
Bare are the places where the sweet flowers dwelt.
What joy sufficient hath November felt?
What profit from the violet’s day of pain?

Helen Hunt Jackson was born and raised in Amherst, Massachussetts, in 1830. She published five collections of poetry during her lifetime and Southern California's most enduring historical romance novel, "Ramona".  She was a schoolmate and friend of Emily Dickinson.  Jackson grew up in a literary environment, and was herself a noted poet and writer of children's stories, novels, and essays before turning her intellect and energy to investigating and publicizing the mistreatment of Native Americans, especially the Mission Indians of Southern California.


Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1830.  While Dickinson was extremely prolific as a poet and regularly enclosed poems in letters to friends, she was neither publicly recognized nor published during her lifetime. Dickinson was a recluse who never left her home after 1860.  Her family discovered forty handbound volumes of nearly 1,800 poems after her death in 1886.  The first volume of her work was published posthumously in 1890 and the last in 1955.  


2 comments:

CrimsonLeaves said...

I am always amazed at the many lovers of poetry out there. It has never been a favorite of mine, though admittedly, I occasionally hear a poem that I like. I'm so glad there are appreciators in the world to keep this art alive.

RH Carpenter said...

Sherry, I've always loved poetry but I think it came from having a really good highschool English teacher who played John Prine records in order for us to hear the words - a well-turned phrase gets me every time.