Letitia Elizabeth Landon (L.E.L.): Poet, Novelist and Proto-Feminist

by JoHarrington

Letitia Elizabeth Landon (aka L or L.E.L.) was an influential Georgian poet and writer, whose fans and imitators included Tennyson, Christina Rossetti and Edgar Allan Poe.

The Literary Chronicle and Weekly Review, July 10th, 1824:

'We confess we trembled for the poetical reputation of L.E.L., who is a young and highly gifted female, when we found her so frequently before the public... the Improvisatrice is a poem of singular beauty, originality, and genius; and... the author is one who must take a distinguished station among the poets of the present day.'

L.E.L. (better known at home as Lettie, and to posterity as Letitia Elizabeth Landon) was once reckoned to be a major literary force. Her controversial name was up there with Byron, Barrett Browning and Keats.

Landon's influence was felt for a long time after her star had gone supernova, but question marks over her life would ultimately over-shadow her work. This is how that enigmatic story began.

The Enigma of L.E.L., or How to Read the Child of Song

Letitia Elizabeth Landon was a celebrity poet of the Georgian era. But interpreting her poetry, and biography, is subject to much speculation.

Even during her lifetime, people didn't quite know how to take Lettie Landon.

Professed close friends seemed unsure that she really cared about them; others thought she cared too much.

She was a dark mind to be protected. A friend too engrossed in learning and working way too hard, to really take care of herself.  The kind of talent that comes around so rarely in human history, that it should be nurtured and allowed free rein.

Or a silly girlie, so delighted with the idea of love, that she devoted her every waking second to indulging in fantasy. Not much talent beyond the fluff.

Acquaintances talked fondly of her startling innocence and gentle wit. While across the room, another will be gossiping about her lewd brazenness, or reeling from some scathing comment uttered from her lips.

Critics of the time - not the readers, who are entitled to their opinions and weren't paid to produce them - all wove their personal agendas around her fame.

Some dismissed her completely, too busy pontificating on the subject of whether women ought to be allowed to write at all, to actually focus upon the poetry. Or, if they were permitted some stanzas, then should it only be confined to verses about romantic love, or not?

Then there were those on totally the other side of the spectrum, whose effusive outpourings of devotion and awe of her work seemed to diminish it. Anything held to such high esteem by anyone is fair game to be scoured for flaws.

Nothing changes there. Just look at the backlash concerning Justin Bieber, when the solution seems simple.  If you like him, listen to him. If you don't, then don't. Why ever should the twain cross? But nobody likes seeing success in others, particularly if they don't value the source.

Letitia Elizabeth Landon (aka L.E.L.) wrote just at the twilight of poetry's popularity. There have been amazing poems and poets since, but as a medium it declined under the Victorian fashion for novels instead. Then television. Then video games. Then whatever the next big thing will be in the pursuit of distraction.

As the 19th century wore on, it became a fad to disparage poetry as something that happened to your parents. People like L.E.L. suffered for that, for being right at the end and therefore in vague living memory.

In addition, L.E.L. has been called the Mother of Sentimentality - a school of poetry with its roots in the Sensibility genre of the earlier Georgian period, as well as a liberal sprinkling of Romanticism. It was a style of poetry which valued strong passions, elevating emotions in all their primal instincts, and attaching them to the physical world too.

It was a school of poetry which did not sit well with the Victorian vogue for Stiff Upper Lip, particularly since its major stars were women. 

Sentimental Poetry from the Nineteenth Century

L.E.L was Sentimentalism's greatest writer, but she was by no means alone there.
The figure of the poetess in British sentimental literature, 1820--1860.

This dissertation considers the development and deployment of the sentimental poetess as a construct of poetic identity in the late Romantic/early Victorian period in Great Brit...

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Sentimentalism is one of the few Western poetical genres which had females as its most talented proponents - who were able to become independently wealthy from the proceeds of their poetry - hence it drew much of the criticism that would otherwise have gone to the male dominated Romantic movement.

In patriarchal Victorian society, Byron and Shelley's poems were allowed to limp on into lasting fame, taking their genre with them, despite the best efforts of Robert Southey to crush both. While the Sentimental poetesses were ridiculed, dismissed as pale imitators of Byron et al, or castigated as uppity housewives playing out of their league.

The whole genre was reduced throughout the latter part of the 19th century. By the turn into the 20th, its poetry was largely rendered invisible. Available only in old publications, and deemed not worth the bother of seeking it out.

This is why no-one really talks about Felicia Hemans or Caroline Norton anymore, and certainly not L.E.L., unless it's to vaguely refer to her in a derisive sense, as the 'female Byron'. (Personally, I find that latter epithet ridiculous. L.E.L.'s poetry reads more like Shelley than Byron, which proves that the critics read none of them.)

For much of the 20th century, her prolific writing went out of print, only to return in a flood of Feminist analysis - Germaine Greer led the vanguard there, when she included L.E.L. in her essay Slip-Shod Sibyls.

At first, the poet was held up as a paragon of female repression. She'd been exploited, over-edited, her own voice lost in the mire of frippery deemed suitable for a woman. She'd been forced to write of love, when it's possible that she had no interest in romance at all.

Then, as Feminist historians dug deeper into the past, a new vision of L.E.L. emerged. Suddenly she was a stunning example of an independent woman, who arranged her life to suit herself. A single woman (mostly), who didn't need a father nor husband to maintain a home; a woman who earned her own money and followed her own Fate. Quite heady stuff for the late Georgian period.

Finally, a third interpretation of the life of L.E.L. emerged from the depths of parish records and reading between the lines of her verses.

Now she was someone who, for fifteen years at least, carried on an affair with a married man, bore him three children and still managed to keep it all quiet. A genius of subterfuge, whose cleverness and passion over-rides any moral duplicity.

Confused? The truth is that L.E.L. represents one of those rare quantities. She was a highly intelligent, wildly successful and widely read writer from the 'wrong' period in history. Victorian women weren't supposed to be like her. Therefore successive commentators have had to somehow explain her away, or else use her as an example.

Depending upon YOUR perspective L.E.L. was:

  • An innocent, pure girl inadvertently hinting at quite racy scenarios in her poetry.
  • A fallen woman, whose life and mysterious end prove that females should NEVER attempt to be successful writers.
  • A cold-blooded business woman, who knew what made money and so wrote about it (i.e. love, weddings, romantic entanglements).
  • A powerful reviewer, who could make or break a reputation with her opinion upon another writer's work.
  • An exploited girl, whose genius was shackled to a desk and her talent milked for all that it could enrich the men around her.
  • An untalented producer of mediocre doggerel, who was only famous because her publisher fancied the petticoats off her.
  • A genius poet of the highest order, who deserves to be recognized as the missing link between Byron and Tennyson, or Shelley and Poe.
  • A strong woman, who was able to navigate the constraints of her situation, achieving independence and personal power far beyond the reach of most contemporary ladies.

In short, L.E.L. can never be judged - as other poets are - simply on the poetry. She outraged too many sensibilities for that, and delighted others.

For that reason, I am going to attempt to produce the facts of her adult biography, without any overt interpretation of my own, so you may reach your own conclusions about her. I'm fairly certain it's a feat that's never before been attempted for L.E.L., so wish me luck.

The Childhood of Letitia Elizabeth Landon

If you haven't already, then I would recommend checking this out first. I've written now in the assumption that you know all that's in there already.
Letitia Elizabeth Landon (aka L or L.E.L.) was a major 19th century celebrity, who some - Germaine Greer amongst them - wish to see reinstated as one of Britain's Greats.

Poetry Guides Discussing L.E.L.

There is a tendency, even now, for Sentimentality to be conflated and submerged inside the wider school of Romanticism.

When Letitia Elizabeth Landon met William Jerdan

No account of L.E.L.'s life can be complete without reference to William Jerdan - her publisher, employer, probably mentor, and almost certainly lover.

In 1817, when L.E.L. was fifteen years old, William Jerdan moved into a house just across the lane, in the St Michael's area of Old Brompton, in Chelsea.

His wife and children came with him. The latter already numbered nearly half a dozen, with ages ranging from two to thirteen. Lettie and her own siblings - thirteen year old Whittington, and invalid Elizabeth Jane (11) - befriended them as playmates.

The Landon family had the larger house (rented at £60, as opposed to the Jerdan's £45), but they were seriously struggling financially. Unlike William Jerdan.

As editor of the London Literary Gazette (think of it as the contemporary equivalent of Rolling Stone or MTV), William Jerdan was used to being approached in the street by wannabe poets desperate for fame. He'd developed a whole repertoire of stock phrases to put them off, finding them more annoying than anything.

However, Lettie was already in his house and garden, albeit part of his children's gaggle of friends, and he'd already spotted her two years previously. Then he'd been impressed that she could read poetry AND spin a hoop at the same time.

Across the road, Mrs Catherine Landon discovered how much money there was in poetry, as long as it could be published in something like the London Literary Gazette. She casually mentioned to her new neighbor that her Lettie wrote verse. Might he have a look?

Jerdan made all of the right noises, but didn't exactly rush to acquire any samples to read.

Also in the Landon household was Lettie's paternal cousin, another Elizabeth Landon. The young lady acted as a companion for her aunt, while also a governess for the children. She penned two letters, a few days apart, building upon the promise made to Catherine that Jerdan really would look at the poetry. Elizabeth included some, just to make sure that they were in his possession.

Perhaps realizing that his neighbors could not be brushed off as easily as random people in the street, Jerdan did indeed respond this time. He wrote that there was potential in the verses, and some flashes of genius. But didn't exactly offer to publish any.

In truth - as he later admitted - he thought that Elizabeth Landon was the author. She was nearly thirty, so the poetry might appear a little juvenile from her pen. By now, Lettie was sixteen years old. Pretending that she was the poetess made it cute, and a selling point for his publication.

A short while later, Jerdan perceived an opportunity to expose their ploy. He was in a carriage, crossing London, with Lettie Landon as one of his passengers. As they passed St George's Hospital, he blithely commented that he would love to see a poem about it.

They stopped for dinner, no doubt with the publisher inwardly smiling about his little test. His smugness was soon frozen into shock. Lettie appeared at his side, as he finished his dessert, and slipped some pages onto his plate.

She'd written 74 lines of poetry about St George's Hospital, in the time it had taken Jerdan to dine, and it most certainly contained 'flashes of genius'.

Books about British Literary Periodicals of the Nineteenth Century

It's impossible to over-estimate the importance of these publications in guiding popular opinion of the time. Poetry was the big thing, but it covered other things too.

Letitia Landon on the Brink of Womanhood

Between 1818 and 1820, her story becomes a little confused. It was a formative time for the young poetess, hence different biographers have different things to say.
Life And Literary Remains Of L. E. L., Letitia Elizabeth Landon V1

Samuel Laman Blanchard was a contemporary of L.E.L., who knew her too. He did his best to present her as a talented lady, without blemish upon her character, in his biography.

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Letitia Elizabeth Landon: A Biography

F. J. Sypher is seen as the definitive biographer of L.E.L., though his book isn't up to date with recent discoveries regarding her children. He judges her to be a hardworking genius, much maligned during and after her life.

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Letitia Elizabeth Landon and Metrical Romance: The Adventures of a 'Literary Genius'

Serena Baiesi is an American English teacher, who focuses upon L.E.L.'s powerful influence as a writer, while also viewing her as a brilliant business woman.

View on Amazon

Charting Letitia's movements, between the ages of sixteen and eighteen, can quickly become confusing.

Biographers have traditionally emphasized (or possibly even made up) things which fit their own perception of the teenager. But I'll present them all to help us traverse the mire.

In one version, Letitia remained living in Old Brompton Street. Nipping across the lane often for mentoring sessions with the literary editor, earned from the St George's Hospital poem incident.

Jerdan certainly framed her later as his protege and emphasizing fully that he played the role of her kindly tutor. Hence simultaneously taking the credit for her talent, and painting an innocent framework for their unchaperoned encounters.

Letters exist from this time, written by Lettie to Jerdan, full of gushing praise for his wisdom, guidance and self, with more poems inserted into the envelope.

Read in one way, they are akin to fan-mail. In another, full on flirting between a teenage girl and a man knocking forty. Some have also interpreted those letters as an extremely clever female flattering a mid-life-crisis male into doing her will. Using his vanity to propel herself onto the path towards literary fame. 

Others have simply regarded those letters as politely exhibiting manners. He mentored her and, like a good Georgian girl, she thanked him in writing. After all, she was just over the road, wasn't she?

But in a different telling, Letitia returned to Mrs Rowden, and her school at 22 Hans Square, in 1818. This time with her sister Elizabeth in tow. Genealogists claim that Elizabeth Jane Landon died in 1819, aged thirteen years old.

Some biographers shift that tragic event to 1825 instead. It helps underscore the fact that L.E.L.'s literary earnings were diverted into providing for her family, which included footing the bill for Elizabeth Jane Landon's prolonged medical care.  (However, I checked the records. Elizabeth died in 1819.)

In other biographies, Letitia was already writing for the London Literary Gazette from the age of sixteen. Covertly penning articles that are impossible now to pick out from all the rest without a by-line.

I've also read that her first published poem Rome was included there, under her original pseudonym of L, when she was sixteen. The date usually given is March 11th 1818, which would actually have made her fifteen, as her birthday wasn't until August 14th.

Unfortunately the archives of the magazine beg to differ. L's Rome appeared on March 11th 1820, when she was seventeen.

(This I can absolutely guarantee, as I've just plowed through volumes of The Literary Gazette's pages to find the poem. Then reconfigured the URL to take you straight to it. All because Google Books does NOT make this easy.  Tell me that you love me for finding L.E.L.'s first poem, and I'll stop ranting.)

L.E.L.'s First Published Poem Rome

This appeared in The Literary Gazette (London), No 164, page 173, on March 11th 1820, when L was seventeen years old.
Image: Rome by L (March 11th 1820)
Image: Rome by L (March 11th 1820)

Perhaps there are no discrepancies here.  By putting all of the pieces together, we can enter the realm of wild speculation ourselves with purported facts which aren't incompatible.

Maybe William Jerdan did pay Letitia for small, uncredited contributions to the London Literary Gazette. Filler pieces, which might otherwise have been called work experience. That money could have allowed John and Catherine Landon to enroll both of their girls into the Hans Square School.

Elizabeth Jane did die in 1819, but Letitia could have stayed on at school.

Nor is there anything stopping her nipping home on visits, or not actually being a boarder. Additionally, William Jerdan had a carriage. He could have tutored her at school, or taken her somewhere else.  It's not like Old Brompton and Hans Square (now Hans Place) were a million miles from each other.

A = L.E.L. and William Jerdan's family homes. B = Letitia's school at 22, Hans Square.

More Poetry Collections of L.E.L.

Letitia Elizabeth Landon's poetry is generally only available in digitalized versions of 19th century collections. But a few versions of those exist.

Letitia Landon at The Literary Gazette in London

We're now back into the realm of consensus in Letitia's biography. This portion of her life is not only extremely well documented, it largely happened in public too.

After her eighteenth birthday, on August 14th 1820, Letitia Elizabeth Landon took up paid employment at The Literary Gazette

She was to remain there until the mid-1830s, and it was the launch-pad for her whole career.

Even those who judge the appointment as an indulgence - a forty year old man seeking to delight his teenage pupil/friend/fancy piece by giving her what she wanted - can't dismiss the fact that it was a canny business move too.

Within a couple of years, Letitia's writing would be WHY people bought the London Literary Gazette. She boosted the circulation figures enormously, making its owners and share-holders very rich.

Nor was this all about the poetry. Her name wasn't immediately linked with the poet L, whose verses regularly appeared. Jerdan never revealed that L was, in fact, his employee.

Letitia cultivated another reputation at the London Literary Gazette. She was one of its most famous reviewers. Over the years, her opinion became increasingly important, shaping the views of readers to an extraordinary extent. In fact, it seemed that the shallow masses couldn't form a judgement of their own about any literature and its authors, without first checking to see what she thought.

Part of this was that she wrote for The Literary Gazette, which already had a huge cultural influence. But mostly her reviews were entertaining to read. They demonstrated great knowledge, in any and all subject matters, hence people tended to come away having learned something. They were well written too, which made them a pleasure to peruse.

Moreover, Letitia's reviews were witty and full of biting put downs. No-one could sneer at the weak literature of untalented writers quite like her. Think Dorothy Parker or Simon Cowell and you can see the appeal.

But Letitia was a successful woman writing, and making a lot of money from it, during the 1820s and 1830s. Those she liked could feel uneasy about the power that she wielded, and those she stung would never forgive her.

As a reviewer alone, she made a lot of enemies, but the public loved her. It would take a concerted campaign to change the latter situation, before she could be brought down, then practically wiped from the literary record. 

Yet those she raised high, favoring them in her reviews and helping cement their names in the literary world, naturally worshiped her for it. Long after her death, contemporaries from both camps would slog it out for ultimate control over her reputation. This is another reason why her life story eclipsed her poetry.

But during her life-time, it was the poetry that ruled, and the novels too. She wasn't merely Letitia Elizabeth Landon the eminently readable reviewer. She was L.E.L.!

Read and Sleep ASMR Poetry Reading of L.E.L.'s Revenge

This is reading style is designed to stimulate the stereo hearing senses. Useless for half deaf people like me, but fabulous for everyone else!

L.E.L. Collected Works | Letitia Elizabeth Landon Complete Works

During her literary career, Lettie wrote practically constantly. Over 1000 pieces were produced, in a variety of media, across many publications.

The Literary Rise of L.E.L. - Georgian Poet and Novelist

As a poet, L.E.L. was one of the superstars of her day. There was hardly anywhere she could go in her native Britain without meeting awestruck fans.

Throughout the latter months of 1820, and into 1821, the Landons were desperately trying to find a publisher for Letitia's first full length metrical lyrical poem The Fate of Adelaide.

It seemed that no-one wished to risk in print the works of an unknown female poet, especially one who could only have been seventeen or eighteen when she wrote it.

By the autumn, a gushing dedication was added to the manuscript thanking Mrs Siddons -  Elizabeth Siddons of Pre-Raphaelite fame - who had expressed an interest in using her connections to secure a book deal. At least that is the impression gleaned from a surviving letter, written by John Landon, dated November 27th 1820.

However, there's no indication that Mrs Siddons did anything of the sort. Though the dedication remained intact, when The Fate of Adelaide was finally published in August 1821, during the month of her nineteenth birthday.

William Jerdan appears to have been the one who made it happen. Why he waited so long is open to question, but he later claimed to have helped out.

This scenario is supported by letters from Letitia herself, written in the mid-1820s, wherein she proclaimed herself 'indebted to the gentleman for much of kindness' - referring to Jerdan - before raging in utter frustration about how impossible it was for a woman to be taken seriously by publishing houses.

However, the deal that William Jerdan struck with John Moore of Bond Street, London, doesn't seem to have been much in Letitia's favor. For a start, she had to pay the publisher rather than the other way around. Her Welsh maternal grandmother, Letitia Bishop, found the cash for that. 

Worst of all, John Moore went bankrupt within a few months. Letitia never received the royalties that she was due, which was a shame, as it had sold quite well.

Nevertheless, her metrical poem in print seems to have boosted her confidence greatly. Something clicked inside her head, and suddenly her other poetry began attracting more attention inside the pages of The Literary Gazette. Her work as L had been well-received, but nothing like those post-Adelaide, which she began signing L.E.L.

In the preface to her book, she'd written '... the path we fondly deemed led to immortality, too often terminates in the waters of oblivion..'  Yet contemporary readers would have been forgiven for laughing in the face of it, however prophetical those words now seem.

At that time, poetry was not yet out of fashion, at least with us of the cloister; and there was always, in the Reading Room of the Union, a rush every Saturday afternoon for the ‘Literary Gazette’ and an impatient anxiety to hasten at once to that corner of the sheet which contained the three magical letters of ‘L.E.L.’

And all of us praised the verse, and all of us guessed as to the author. We soon learned it was a female, and our admiration was doubled, and our conjectures tripled.

Was she young? Was she pretty? And—for there were some embryo fortune-hunters among us—was she rich?

- Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton

'From this period her 'Poetical Sketches' to which the magic letters L.E.L were appended, appeared regularly in the 'Literary Gazette', until the initials emerged into a popular and celebrated name. Thus she sprang almost from the nurse's arms into those of fame, and had won the undying wreath before she knew that it was of any value.'

- Laman Blanchard, contemporary journalist and author

Lyric offerings by Laman Blanchard

Poetry penned by the editor of the Examiner, The Monthly Magazine, the True Sun, the Constitutional, the Court Journal, the Courier, and George Cruikshank's Omnibus.

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Poetry in Voice Competitor Recites 'Revenge' by L.E.L.

In 2012, Mary Jane Egan chose one of Letitia's poems to perform competitively. L.E.L.'s fame goes on!

As Letitia's fame grew, so did the column inches given over to original poetry. She stopped being listed as a 'correspondent' and was given headlining status as the main attraction. Over time, The Literary Gazette even began prominently displaying the initials L.E.L. on its front page, along with a page number, so readers could find her poems more quickly.

But it was hard work.

The aforementioned Poetical Sketches became a kind of signature genre. Before the advent of photography, magazine illustrations were done by hand. Artists rushed to sketch topical scenes and personalities, in order to meet their print deadlines.

L.E.L. fell into the habit of receiving the artwork, as part of her day job, then quickly crafting a poem to accompany it. She sometimes had mere minutes from first sight to submission. Colleagues were stunned by the speed with which she was able to access her muse and find the words.

However, this kind of frenetic pace also meant that the quality could be a little hit and miss. Her poems were always good, but not consistently great. It took time to produce polished verses. Later her critics would generally draw upon her most mediocre efforts here, presenting them as indicative of her whole output, in order to denigrate her as an average lyricist at best.

Those at the time saw much more than that, and seemingly everywhere too! Though the London Literary Gazette was her bedrock publication, L.E.L.'s name appeared in many others too. Plus anthologies, gift books and anywhere else willing to pay her.

It soon became much easier to find publishing houses willing to print her books too. Seventeen of them hit the book-shops within her life-time; another three were there waiting to be released posthumously.

This was in addition to penning her reviews, answering correspondence and editing all manner of annuals, collections and essays. Even in the latter, readers and biographers alike have discerned that, though billing herself as solely the editor, she probably created most of the content too.

In short, L.E.L. was writing pretty much constantly, from waking until late into the night, for about eighteen years solid. The fame she found, she earned.

Poetry Books by L.E.L. - Female Georgian Poet

This is merely a selection of some of L.E.L.'s published works. They would all have originally borne her famous initials as the author.

L.E.L. - The Breaking of her Lyre

The poet L.E.L blazed like a comet during her tenure as one of Britain's leading writers. But anything (and anyone) burning at such a prominence is bound to leave some scorched Earth below.

As a Georgian female success story, some would have dragged her down anyway.

Her years at the top of her game, and the way that it all ended, elicited enough scandal and intrigue to keep people guessing for centuries. It's too big a story to tag onto the end here, hence I'm afraid we're into a third part. Though I guarantee that my telling of her story will end there.

And I'll finally reveal too that interesting blood-line to which I originally alluded.

Third and Final Part of the L.E.L. Trilogy on Wizzley

L.E.L. was one of Georgian England's greatest stars. A female writer with an enigmatic life, whose mysterious end was allowed to eclipse her poetry.

L.E.L. Quotation Canvas Art

I looked for a quotation to finish, and found one here.
Updated: 06/01/2014, JoHarrington
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


JoHarrington on 05/03/2014

Ember - The best way to 'get' poetry is to read it aloud and let your emotions analyze it for you. Breaking down the structure and word form is something to be done in English Lit. classes, not in general reading. Poetry has always been best read from the heart, not the mind.

There's no evidence that L.E.L. was 'bored' in her writing about love. Though there was obviously profit in it. She defended it to the hilt, but then, she had to. We can't really know what her private thoughts were on it. And yes, I agree that real poets shed bits of soul into the verse.

Thanks for reading it. <3

JoHarrington on 05/03/2014

Mira - Lots of things that we can identify with there, considering that we're both trying to make a living in precisely the same way. I wonder if L.E.L would have been on Wizzley, if she'd been alive today.

Yep, she seriously did go for it!

The final part is close to completion. Unless I get seriously side-tracked, it'll turn up today.

Ember on 05/02/2014

I genuinely wish that I understood poetry better. When it comes to connecting with literary arts there is something I just (and always have) lacked. It's not that I haven't been captured by the sentimentality or emotionality that many poems convey but I feel that is largely in part because poetry is such a huge part of one of my best friends life and I dedicated a lot of time to...I suppose 'understanding' it.

I think even if a genius poet is confined to writing about romance and love, if she is able to convey so much, capture so well, regardless of the topic she must've been an absolutely brilliant poet, but that's coming from someone who doesn't quite 'get' most of it until I'm guided through it, or left to mull over it for a while (a while as in, for example, the two plus years it really took me to connect to Fuel to the Flame that you shared with me, for example. I've definitely connected with but it sure took some time). I suppose there's the academic level, where academically I can understand, but poetry captures so much emotionality, it really needs to be something that is also happening on a spiritual level, that's what I think. I think poets really do share bits of their souls.

I'm sorry, I'm not sure everything I'm trying to say is making any sense. I've only quickly read this. I'll be back after I've given it a more solid read.

Mira on 05/02/2014

Yes, do continue. You mentioned three children. I wondered about that. Great page! I love your writing style, and her story is very interesting: all that work for The Literary Gazette, the way she turned poetry into a lucrative venture, her seventeen (!!) books of poems . . . I mean, this is serious stuff.
Loved this bit too: "Was she young? Was she pretty? And—for there were some embryo fortune-hunters among us—was she rich?" Ha ha

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