America’s most underrated poet? Maybe so…


Obviously, this poet is a she, not he. That’s one strike against her in the poetic sweepstakes for the “greats.”  Moreover, her poetry smacks more of the nineteenth century than the twentieth, with its formal diction and meticulous (yet seemingly breezy, offhand) iambic pentameter lines – but not, surely not, in their crazy amorous abandon.

The pages below were brought to my attention by poet and translator A.M. Juster on Twitter. Most educated poetry-lovers will know the graceful, sensual sonnets below, and recognize the poet who made her reputation and hit her stride in the 1920s and died, far too young, in the 1950s.

I will not say who it is, but let you guess. That will give you now the chance to explore her poems as I did, beginning at age sixteen, rolling luscious lines like these over my tongue as I wandered through Michigan’s wintertime woods, thinking I wished a larger life than the one I had. Nor will I post her picture … but her slippers are at right. You can read more about her here.

Postscripted thought: I think I like poems #2 and #3 the best – in retrospect should have put them on top! But perhaps in this sequence – the sequence of the collection – they tell a story…


2 Responses to “America’s most underrated poet? Maybe so…”

  1. Jeff S. Says:

    One of my favorites. I have two little pocket-sized volumes of her work, one of them sonnets only, that I keep in my car or my coat pocket when I’m out and about. Reading them sure beats checking nonsense on my phone. I’ve tucked a few of the happier sonnets into my sweetheart’s lunch bag so she has a pleasant surprise waiting for her on a busy day of teaching ninth graders.

  2. Cynthia Haven Says:

    How delightful that we share that passion, Jeff!