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I've been doing a lot of research and writing about Adelaide Crapsey of late. It's amazing to me that a poet who was so well-received upon publication, and who pioneered a new form of poetry as well as writing a rather innovative tome on metrics, was so quickly forgotten by history. I doubt it would have happened if she had a Y chromosome.

She made such an impression when her poems were published posthumously that other poets wrote poems in tribute to her. Today's poem is just such a thing: a swoony-good poem by Carl Sandburg.

Adelaide Crapsey
by Carl Sandburg

Among the bumble-bees in red-top hay, a freckled field of
   brown-eyed Susans dripping yellow leaves in July,
        I read your heart in a book.

And your mouth of blue pansy—I know somewhere I have seen it rain-shattered.

And I have seen a woman with her head flung between her
    naked knees, and her head held there listening to the
    sea, the great naked sea shouldering a load of salt.

And the blue pansy mouth sang to the sea:
        Mother of God, I’m so little a thing,
        Let me sing longer,
        Only a little longer.

And the sea shouldered its salt in long gray combers hauling
    new shapes on the beach sand.

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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
TS Davis
May. 13th, 2016 04:06 pm (UTC)
Death is part of the problem.
Let me sing longer/ only a little longer

Dying young seems to have had its role in being forgotten, too - was reading yesterday about this stellar scientist who had a major role in the treatment of leprosy in the early 20th century - and she died at twenty-four. Her work was put out by her department chair, under his name, and only later was that corrected -- but too late. She was literally dead and gone. Even the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, who was born in the time he should have been a contemporary of the Harlem Renaissance dudes - he died before he was thirty-five, and though he was serioulsy prolific, only ONE of his poems seems to be enduring/taught. And that's it.

And he had a Y chromosome (but he *WAS* black, so...).

I don't know. We just have always had a short attention span in Western civilization.
(Deleted comment)
May. 14th, 2016 04:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Death is part of the problem.
"Dying young and being female" is a great title. Although Tanita has selected a wonderful sculptor for the next ekphrastic poems, and she is absolutely awesome and died OLD, and doesn't even have a Wikipedia page.
May. 14th, 2016 04:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Death is part of the problem.
Overlooked populations being overlooked isn't necessarily a new thing, though Jenn does raise interesting points below.
(Deleted comment)
May. 14th, 2016 04:14 pm (UTC)
My love for Adelaide Crapsey has me halfway done with a crappy draft of a picture book bio. So there's that.
Violet Nesdoly
May. 13th, 2016 11:07 pm (UTC)
It's nice that Carl Sandburg memorialized her in this way--a beautiful poem. Are you doing research on Adelaide Crapsey for a bigger (perhaps book) project?
May. 14th, 2016 04:15 pm (UTC)
Isn't it a wonderful poem? And yes - I did a series of posts on the cinquain last month (which I have personally studied and taught about at seminars before), and remembered how much I love Adelaide Crapsey. I'm working on a picture book bio at the moment.
Mary Lee Hahn
May. 15th, 2016 12:00 pm (UTC)
Ah-HA! I read that last line of your comment to Violet!! Maybe YOU are the one who will help her to the fame she deserves!!
May. 18th, 2016 03:20 pm (UTC)
I sure hope so. Also, I have figured out still more about cinquains, and how far wrong they've been interpreted. I'd like to at least salvage that for her.
May. 20th, 2016 03:41 pm (UTC)
That's beautiful.Visual and emotional.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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