One of the most interesting things about these two early colonial poets is that their roles are reversed on what we might usually expect from colonial men and women. While both poets lived the usual roles assigned to women (Bradstreet was the at-home mother of eight children) and men (Taylor was both a minister and a physician), it is Bradstreet who published and gained some degree of renown during her lifetime and it was Taylor whose poetry was posthumously published. In fact, Bradstreet has the distinction of producing “the first sustained body of poetry in British North America” (112).
Yet, the commonality of the themes in the two selections from Bradstreet (“To “My Dear and Loving Husband” and “In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet”) and Taylor’s poem (“Upon Wedlock, and Death of Children”) share a similar love of family and heart-wrenching loss.
Read these three short poems and decide for yourself what life was like in late 17th Century New England.
PROMPT: We won’t complete a poetic explication, just use your “ear” (there is a recording of Bradstreet’s poem in this module, but none for Taylor). And use your heart to consider what these poet’s tell you about their feelings. Then post to this discussion and briefly describe what the poets are telling us about their lives. How are they similar and different from our lives today?
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