poem index


Anne Spencer

Printer-friendly version
Related Schools & Movements: 

Anne Spencer was born on February 6, 1882, in Henry County, Virginia and graduated from the Virginia Seminary in Lynchburg in 1899. An important figure of the Harlem Renaissance despite her distance from New York, she developed close friendships with several Harlem Renaissance writers, including James Weldon Johnson, whom she met while establishing a Lynchburg chapter of the NAACP. She published over thirty poems in anthologies and magazines during her lifetime and was the first black woman poet to appear in the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry (W. W. Norton, 1973). Her work was published posthumously in Time’s Unfading Garden: Anne Spencer’s Life and Poetry (Louisiana State University Press, 1977). She died on July 27, 1975.

by this poet

Gay little Girl-of-the-Diving-Tank,
I desire a name for you,
Nice, as a right glove fits;
For you—who amid the malodorous
Mechanics of this unlovely thing,
Are darling of spirit and form.
I know you—a glance, and what you are
Sits-by-the-fire in my heart.
My Limousine-Lady knows you, or
Why does the slant-envy

Maker-of-Sevens in the scheme of things
From earth to star;
Thy cycle holds whatever is fate, and
Over the border the bar.
Though rank and fierce the mariner
Sailing the seven seas,
He prays as he holds his glass to his eyes,
Coaxing the Pleiades.

I cannot love them; and I

He trekked into a far country,
My friend and I.
Our deeper content was never spoken,
But each knew all the other said.
He told me how calm his soul was laid
By the lack of anvil and strife.
"The wooing kestrel," I said, "mutes his mating-note
To please the harmony of this sweet silence."
And when at the day's