Sara Teasdale - winner of a Pulitzer Prize, the Poetry Society of America prize, and other awards - lived for love and beauty and died by her own hand. Her poetry shows vividly what an intensely passionate woman she was, so much so that in some of her poetry she speaks of the impact of beauty in terms of physical pain, and the impact of love in terms of birth and death. She knew the world of her time; her poetry reacts to New York, to Chicago, to Paris; she knew the poets of her time, including a long and painful relationship with the poet Vachel Lindsay. Her poetry shows no interest in politics; it is the world of beauty and the world of the heart that draw her mind. Her poetry is technically simple, as is that of another great American poet, Robert Frost. Like him, she expresses herself directly, yet in rhythm and rhyme:
I have loved much and been loved deeply -
Oh when my spirit's fire burns low,
Leave me the darkness and the stillness
I shall be tired and glad to go.
Like many of America's women poets, she is rather on the back shelf these days, but she deserves better. Enjoy this reading of her poetry!
Public Domain (P)2011 Robert Bethune and Susie Berneis
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