Scientists. Activists. Lawyers. Artists. The first computer programmers.
The history books may have neglected some of the incredible Philly women who changed the world over the last 200-plus years—but we have not.
While it shouldn’t take a national observance to put women on our radar, this is one holiday we’re happy to play along with: Every weekday during Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting a local woman whose legacy deserves celebrating—and who continues to inspire us.
Poet / Critic
Poet / Critic
Recognized as one of America’s best poets, Marianne Moore was known for her wit and irony, especially when it came to herself and her work.
She famously opened “Poetry,” one of her best known works, with “I, too, dislike it” and described herself as a “happy hack.” She famously worked on a poem with, of all people, Muhammad Ali, and later became a friend and mentor to the poet Elizabeth Bishop.
Moore was born in St. Louis, Missouri, but grew up in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and later taught biology at a school there. Her early poems were published in Bryn Mawr College’s literary magazine. In 1918 she moved with her mother to New York City and began working at the New York Public Library in 1921.
Her first book, Poems, was published in 1921 by the London publishers Hilda Doolittle and Winifred Ellerman. She was a well-known poet in her lifetime and she became famous for wearing a tricorn hat and cape when she was photographed for magazines.
In addition to her poetry, Moore also wrote reviews and essays and contributed essays on women’s suffrage to the Carlisle Evening Sentinel, though she used a pseudonym.
- Bryn Mawr College, B.A. 1909
- Published eight collections of poetry and several books of prose
- Served as acting editor of The Dial, an influential American literary journal
- Published work in Life, the New York Times, and The New Yorker, among other magazines, newspapers and literary journals
- Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and the National Book Award for Collected Poems in 1951
FINAL WORDS: Critic and modernist poet T.S. Eliot dubbed Moore’s work, “part of the small body of durable poetry written in our time.”
Photo by George Platt Lynes / Wikimedia Commons