Sara Teasdale Essay, Research Paper
Poetry provides and gives a sense of mystery and marvel of life. Poetry has been dated back to the Renaissance Age where humanism was observed. The twentieth century also provides the world with great poets who speak about life and nature. An interesting but truthful poet, Sara Teasdale, spoke about life through simplicity. A weak health and numerous tragedies that reflected Sara Teasdale s work has provided the world with her outlooks on life.
Sara Trevor Teasdale was born on August 8, 1884 in St. Louis, MO. Her mother, Mary E. Willard, and her father, John Warren Teasdale, nurtured Sara because of her frail health and weakness. Her sister, Mary, is seventeen years older than Sara, also showers her with affectionate care. Sara s weak health will be present most of her life and her sheltered way of living has an impact in her writings. Sara s childhood has many critical periods where her health was almost life threatening. Her nickname was Sadie by the family because of her unpredictable health. Her parents provided her with a nurse that waited on her hand and foot to make her comfortable. Her father who was a prosperous businessman, provided his family a rich life. Her parents were overprotected and decided that Sara should be educated at home. Sara enjoyed reading books, but especially became interested in poems. When she was nine years old, Sara attended Mrs. Lockwood s school for small children. She would later attend Mary Institute and graduate from Hosmer Hall in 1903 (Gould 85-88).
After Sara graduated in 1903, Sara and her mother travel to the Holy Land in 1905. The Teasdale family are Puritans and very religious. While on board the ship to Europe, Sara became very sick. For the rest of her trip, her mother nursed her. When they returned home, her parents did not countenance the idea of her going to college (Gould 88). Instead, she joins a group known as The Potters . They produce a monthly manuscript magazine known as The Wheel. It was will Marion Reedy, editor of Reedy s Mirror, who launched her professional career as a poet (Gould 89-90). Her principal works consisted of Sonnets to Duse and Other Poems, Helen of Troy and Other Poems, Love Songs, Flame and Shadow, and Strange Victory (Hall 423). Sara received a prestigious award, the Pulitzer Prize in 1918, for Love Songs. Sara s admiration of famous poets such as Zoe Akins, Eleonora Duse, and Emily Dickinson shows in her works. Her biggest influence however was Christina Rosetti, which Sara dedicated one of her books to the poet (Gould 87). Sara surrounded her with friends. She was closest to John Hall Wheelock, also a poet. Their friendship never turned into love and marriage (Gould 97). Two other men however, who pursued Sara was Vachel Lindsay, a poet, and Ernst Filsinger, a businessman (Gould 99-100). The two men had a huge impact on Sara later in her life, causing her depression and eventually her death.
The pivotal breakdown of Sara s health mentally and physically was all the tragedies that occurred in her adult life. The two suitors, Vachel and Ernst, both wanted her to marry one of them. She decided to choose Ernst for practical reasons. Sara and Ernst married on December 19, 1914 (Gould 108). Vachel was heartbroken and never recovered from her marriage. During the early years of her marriage, it was one of the happiest times in Sara s life (Gould 108). However, she has a miscarriage and depression swept over her for a while. To occupy her feelings, she wrote poems to show her feelings. Ernst and Teasdale divorced fifteen years later because she was unhappy with their marriage (Gould 115). Vachel, the heartbroken, later found out about the break up and committed suicide. He left a wife and children (Gould 118). Sara soon found out and believed it was her fault for his death. To make her depression even worse, her father who she love very much died in 1921. Her mother would die three years after that. All the tragedies that surrounded Sara led her into a deep depression. On January 29, 1933, Sara committed suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills (Gould 119). Although known as a minor poet, Sara s works were not forgotten, but explored after her death (Parini 114).