I first heard of her in 11th grade Literature class. When our class read "To My Dear and Loving Husband", I decided that the man I would marry would be the man I could speak the words of this poem to:
If ever two were one, then surely we. If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole Mines of Gold, Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,Nor ought but love from thee, give recompence.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,The heavens reward thee manifold I pray.
Then while we live, in love lets so persevere, That when we live no more, we may live ever.
Beyond this amazing poem, though, I knew little of her. Finding out that she was a Puritan settler piqued my interest, and I decided I needed to check out a biography. This one by Heidi Nichols was just the job.
Now, I must confess to not being much of a big poetry-reader, so some of Bradstreet's work was over my head, but Nichols was helpful in not only giving a framework to understand Bradstreet's work, but also her life, faith and situation.
Being the first published poet in America, and a Puritan woman at that was no mean feat, not to mention all the duties that would be hers in the time and place in which she lived. One of my favorite works was a collection of wise recommendations and proverbs to her eldest son, followed closely by her personal testimony of coming to faith.
If you're looking for a biography to add to this year's reading list, check it out here. She's definitely something of an overlooked poet/author in an undervalued period of history, but she still has something of worth to share.