Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sara Teasdale - Poetry/Poet Study

Sara Teasdale, who was born on August 8, 1884, in St. Louis, Missouri, had such poor health during her childhood that it was only at age 14 that she was well enough to begin school. She started at Mary Institute in 1898, but switched to Hosmer Hall in 1899, graduating in 1903.

Teasdale's first poem was published in a local newspaper, Reedy's Mirror, in 1907. Her first collection of poems, Sonnets to Duse and Other Poems, was published that same year.

Teasdale's second collection, Helen of Troy and Other Poems, was published in 1911.  Critics praised this collection of poems noting their romantic subject matter and lyrical mastery.

From 1911 to 1914, Teasdale was courted by several men, including the poet Vachel Lindsay who was truly in love with her but did not feel that he could provide enough money or stability to keep her satisfied. She chose to marry Ernst Filsinger, a longtime admirer of her poetry, on December 19, 1914.

Teasdale's third poetry collection, Rivers to the Sea, was published in 1915. In 1916 she and Filsinger moved to New York City, where they lived in an Upper West Side apartment on Central Park West.

In 1918 she won a Pulitzer Prize for her 1917 poetry collection Love Songs.

Teasdale died on January 29, 1933, when she was 48 years old.

Below are six poems that Sophia and Olivia listened to and shared what they thought about them.

Wishes (from Sonnets to Duse, 1907)

I wish for such a lot of things
That never will come true -
And yet I want them all so much
I think they might, don't you?

I want a little kitty-cat
That's soft and tame and sweet,
And every day I watch and hope
I'll find one in the street.

But nursie says, "Come, walk along,
"Don't stand and stare like that" -
I'm only looking hard and hard
To try to find my cat.

And then I want a blue balloon
That tries to fly away,
I thought if I wished hard enough
That it would come some day.

One time when I was in the park
I knew that it would be
Beside the big old clock at home
A-waiting there for me -

And soon as we got home again,
I hurried thro' the hall,
And looked beside the big old clock -
It wasn't there at all.

I think I'll never wish again -
But then, what shall I do?
The wishes are a lot of fun
Altho' they don't come true.

Sophia thought: It's a certainly interesting and strange. It seems like not a lot of the little girl's wishes are going to come true. I think she feels disappointed and sad, but she'll keep wishing because it's so much fun. The part that stands out for me the most was when she was looking for a kitty cat.

Olivia thought: It was okay. I think I liked the kitty part the most because it was kind of cute. I thought it was cute because she might end up getting a cat. She felt sad that the balloon wasn't by the big clock.


Snow Song (from Helen of Troy And Other Poems, 1911)

Fairy snow, fairy snow,
Blowing, blowing everywhere,
Would that I
Too, could fly
Lightly, lightly through the air.

Sophia thought:I liked this one a lot because of the way she starts it. It sounds like something like a child would say. When you're reading this I could imagine snowflakes against a dark blue sky with fairies sitting on them.

Olivia thought: I liked this one because it is kind of like when we have small blizzards here. The snowflakes are sometimes really big, and that reminds me of fairies.


Twilight (from Helen of Troy And Other Poems, 1911)

Dreamily over the roofs
The cold spring rain is falling,
Out in the lonely tree
A bird is calling, calling.

Slowly over the earth
The wings of night are falling;
My heart like the bird in the tree
Is calling, calling, calling.

Sophia thought:It sounded kind of melancholy because it had that kind of sadness to it...I don't know how to describe it. I liked the first half of the poem better than the second half because it sounds a bit more cheerful. 

Olivia thought: It reminds me of a really sad movie or if someone was killed really painfully. I liked the beginning - the first two lines - because it sounded like it was going okay. 


Grandfather's Love (from Helen of Troy And Other Poems, 1911)

They said he sent his love to me,
They wouldn't put it in my hand,
And when I asked them where it was
They said I couldn't understand.

I thought they must have hidden it,
I hunted for it all the day,
And when I told them so at night
They smiled and turned their heads away.

They say that love is something kind,
That I can never see or touch.
I wish he'd sent me something else,
I like his cough-drops twice as much.

Sophia thought: That's a funny one, especially the part about the cough drops. It seems like this girl needs a bit more encouragement about finding the gift that her grandfather sent. I think it could have been a little bit longer because I would have liked to know if she found the love or gift...or understood it.

Olivia thought: I think it's a good poem. I think it's my favorite one because it's funny. I don't think the person really understands about love or what's going on. I know that because she is looking for love, but she doesn't know that she already has it. 


April (from Rivers to the Sea, 1915)

The roofs are shining from the rain,
The sparrows twitter as they fly,
And with a windy April grace
The little clouds go by.

Yet the back yards are bare and brown
With only one unchanging tree-
I could not be so sure of Spring
Save that it sings in me.

Sophia thought: I liked the first line or two because it's cheerful. But, I don't really see how it sounds like April. It sounds like it's more like March. I think I would have liked it if it were a paragraph or two longer. It seemed a little short for what she wanted to say. 

Olivia thought: It sounds like the poem is set in August or September because it sounds really dreary - the clouds going by and the rain. The unchanging tree sounds like a pine tree. I didn't picture anything when I heard the poem.


May Night (from Rivers to the Sea, 1915)

The spring is fresh and fearless
And every leaf is new,
The world is brimmed with moonlight,
The lilac brimmed with dew.

Here in the moving shadows
I catch my breath and sing
My heart is fresh and fearless
And over-brimmed with spring.

Sophia thought: I like how this poem rhymes and how the grass is new. Although this year I'm hoping that all the snow is gone. Look outside: it's cold and there's a lot of snow still on the ground. I felt like spring should be here...which it is not. 

Olivia thought: It kind of made me think of a really grassy place and nothing would change. Everything would stay the same. I like this one because it reminds me of one of the Easters that we had here, and there wasn't snow. I think the moonlight part was nice.  


1 comment:

Candy Sparks said...

What a beautiful poet to introduce in your blog. She is a remarkable lady and her poems still live on in the hearts of those that hear them. Thanks for sharing.