Colonial New England
Anne Bradstreet (c.1612-1672) is considered the first significant female author in the American colonies and one of the first poets to write English verse in North America. She composed a collection of religious poems entitled "Contemplations," which was written for her family and not published until the mid-nineteenth century. Not until the twentieth century did Anne and her work begin to receive serious scholarly consideration and acclaim.
Born Anne Dudley in Northampton, England, she married Simon Bradstreet at sixteen and two years later traveled to Massachusetts Bay with her husband and parents. Although Anne was a dedicated wife and the mother of eight children, she somehow found time and energy to compose her poetry. Unbeknownst to Anne, her brother-in-law took her poems to England, where they were published in 1650 as The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America. The first American edition followed in 1678, and was a revised and expanded edition entitled Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning. Her work was initially somewhat formulaic, but there were striking examples in which Anne delved into her own emotions; she later contemplated childbirth and the death of a grandchild in her verse.