Born in 1825 to free African American parents, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was a prolific journalist and poet as well as an abolitionist and suffragist. In “Songs for the People,” she imagines poetry filling “the world with peace.”
“The Letter” is playful and fanciful, celebrating the beloved through letter writing—although in the final stanza, Amy Lowell reveals the complexity of her emotions.
Women have been responding to sexual harassment for generations. Poet Genevieve Taggard, born in 1894 in Washington state, was one of them; in “The Quiet Woman,” she captures fury and anger “like a surly tiger” of a woman fending off an unwanted advance.
Mary Western Fordham portrays the body and the mind of a working woman in “The Washerwoman.”
“To Sylvia” is from Amy Levy’s 1884 collection A Minor Poet and Other Verse. Reaching across the centuries to read the poem is an encounter with passion and desire.