A question to keep in mind as you write: If this blog post were an introduction to an essay, how would you frame the conversation about this text or object? What would you claim about the object, and why should your intended audience find your analysis important?
I explored a book of poetry by the famous poet Celia Thaxter. Thaxter was born in 1835 and spent much of her life on a small island in Maine, a place she was incredibly devoted to. In addition to her poetry, she was well known for her painting. The poetry book from the Maine Women Writers Collection actually has hand-painted illustrations on the pages that Thaxter had added post-publishing. Several hand-painted copies of this same book exist and the MWWC actually has two of them. Thaxter married very young and ended up living separated from her husband for much of her marriage. I don’t doubt that the hand-painted pages of her book increased sale figures, and as a well known poet and skillful painter on paper as well as on pottery, she was able to make a decent living on her own. I started to wonder where the line is, if there even is a line, between a craft fueled by passion and a craft based on financial need. How was Thaxter’s work shaped by her circumstances? As a woman, as a small-town homebody, what was it like for her to get her voice heard? Our class discussion often touches upon topics of feminism as well as questioning how authors intentionally or unintentionally allow themselves to influence their own work; for example, what would Celia Thaxter’s poetry look like had she been a man?