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Sara Teasdale: Biography & Poems

Instructor: Natarielle Powell
In this lesson, we will learn about the life and works of early 20th century American poet, Sara Teasdale (1884-1933). Despite unhappiness in her private life, her work is much celebrated and still relevant today.

Early Life

Sara Trevor Teasdale was born on August 8, 1884 in St. Louis, Missouri. Her family was well-established and very religious. She led a rather sheltered life and was home-schooled until she was nine years old. Privately schooled after that, Teasdale's love of writing quickly became apparent to her teachers and classmates. It was this love affair that would carry throughout the rest of her life.

Sara Trevor Teasdale
teasdale

Marriage

Can you imagine having more than one man in line asking for your hand in marriage? Well, Teasdale experienced this firsthand. She was quite the young bachelorette despite her sheltered lifestyle, or perhaps, because of it.

She rejected the proposal of poet Vachel Lindsay and instead agreed to marry Ernst Filsinger, a prominent businessman. They got married in 1914 and moved to New York. The marriage lasted 15 years before they divorced in 1929.

Poetry and Awards

Teasdale's poetry is very lyrical. The lines make the reader think about lyrics to a song. Some critics even called Teasdale a singer because of her particular writing style.

Her writings focus on the three main themes of beauty, love, and death, all seen from a woman's perspective. She published her first poem in 1907 and her first full book of poetry in the same year. It was called Sonnets to Duse and Other Poems. Her second volume of poetry, Helen of Troy and Other Poems, was published in 1911. Some of her other main published works include:

Love Songs (1917)

Flame and Shadow (1920)

Dark of the Moon (1926)

Stars To-night (1930)

Strange Victory (1933)

Although Sara Teasdale did not receive thousands of awards for her poetry, the ones that she did receive were pretty phenomenal. Two of her most notable awards were the Poetry Society of America Prize and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. It is safe to say her works did not go unrecognized.

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