From Voice to Persona: Amelia Welby’s Lyric Tradition in Sarah M.B. Piatt’s Early Poetry

Susan Grove Hall
Vol. 25, No. 2 (Fall 2006), 223-246

This essay examines Sarah M. B. Piatt’s participation in a tradition of personal, emotive poetry in the Louisville Daily Journal, a leading literary forum of the antebellum West. She developed a lyric artistry valued by readers while she exploited the favored confessional style to create an ironic persona and a criticism of romantic idealism. Among her subversions of the dreaming poetess figure of Amelia Welby and her followers, however, Piatt’s poems that address her dead mother—like Welby’s—affirm the maternal inspiration and authority for lyricism that Welby had asserted.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]