Paula Bennett's anthology, based on seven years of pioneering archival research, establishes nineteenth-century American women's poetry as a major field in American literature and American women's history. Selections from 140 writers provide a rich balanced interweaving of established and marginalized women's poetry from every geographical region of the United States, with many poems taken from over a hundred national, regional and special interest newspapers and periodicals, including such fugitive sources as the Colored American, the Cherokee Phoenix, the Cincinnati Israelite, the Irish Nationalist, the Shaker and Shakeress, and the New Century for Women. Arguing for a new, more comprehensive concept of "canonization," Bennett none the less submits all selections to the test of the poem itself. At the same time, she gives special attention to poetry developed to women's issues -the evolution of feminist consciousness, the expression of women's subjectivities, and the emergence of the "new women".
Previously neglected avant-garde poetry from the last decades of the century, as found in penny magazines of the period, is also thoroughly covered with compelling consequences for the understanding of Emily Dickinson and the early women modernists, Amy Lowell and H.D. A key text for the classroom, Nineteenth-Century American Women Poets: An Anthology offers an inviting wealth of classic and newly discovered poetry for scholars and general readers alike.