Think the best way to “know” Louisa is through her stories? Some think her poetry is more revealing.
I discovered a wonderful post exploring Louisa’s poetry by teacher and writer KarenTBTEN on Squidoo. She opens her post with the following:
Who was Louisa May Alcott? In the introduction to The Poems of Louisa May Alcott, Robert Nelsen suggests that her poetry may provide more insight than her fiction. One reason is that her fiction was often driven by financial necessity.
Louisa May Alcott was a prolific writer. She used her talent to support not only herself but family members. She even financed her youngest sister’s education. In the time before Little Women, she wrote thrillers under a pen name.
Much of Alcott’s poetry, on the other hand, is personal. She wrote it for the same reason that many individuals do: to express feelings about her life, her loved ones, her spiritual beliefs. Some of her poems were given as gifts or tokens of affection. Some were included within works of prose — not just children’s books, but popular adult fare like thrillers.
Karen highlights 3 poems that give us a glimpse into the inner Louisa. She includes links to the poems and in some cases, has provided an audio recording:
Veiled Autobiography: The Lay of a Golden Goose
“Long ago in a poultry yard/ One dull November morn…”
“The Lay of a Golden Goose” may describe a world inhabited by talking geese, ducks, and other birds, but it is an autobiographical poem. Louisa was the November-born gosling. She was the goose that was jeered for trying to fly, but did go on to lay a golden egg …
Henry David Thoreau was friend to Louisa May Alcott’s father Bronson and also to young Louisa. She accompanied him on nature walks when she was but a child. She held him in very high regard up to the time he died — when she was about 30 — and afterward …
In the Garret
Louisa and her three real life sisters were as close as the girls who grew into women in the acclaimed Little Women. The four girls are summed in their real and fictional forms in two different versions of “In the Garret”. The first describes Nan (aka Anna) , Lu, Bess (who was often called Lizzie), and May; the second and much better known version describes Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy …
My thanks for Karen for sharing her post with us!
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