Bogan, Louise
Achievement in American Poetry
Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1962 (c1951)
p. 20-21


The most striking change in women's verse at this time was its new treatment of the subject of love between the sexes. It was Ella Wheeler (later Mrs. Ella Wheeler Wilcox), a young and vocal girl from a Wisconsin farm, who brought into popular love poetry the element of "sin". She published Poems of Passion in 1886. By 1900 a whole feminine school of rather daring verse on the subject of feminine and masculine emotions had followed Mrs. Wilcox's lead. In this thoroughly middle-class "poetic" genre, the combination of an air of the utmost respectability with the wildest sort of implications was strange indeed. The great number of women who had taken to rhythm and meter as a form of self-expression can be traced in Stedman's An American Anthology (1900), where the list of women with three (and sometimes four) respectable Yankee names moves steadily down the page of contents.