I am Minerva, the village poetess

Hooted at, jeered at by the Yahoos of the street
For my heavy body, cock-eye, and rolling walk,
And all the more when “Butch” Weldy
Captured me after a brutal hunt.
He left me to my fate with Doctor Meyers;
And I sank into death, growing numb from the feet up,
Like one stepping deeper and deeper into a stream of ice.
Will some one go to the village newspaper,
And gather into a book the verses I wrote?–
I thirsted so for love
I hungered so for life!

— Edgar Lee Masters, Spoon River Anthology (Minerva Jones)

If, like me, you’ve never read Edgar Lee Master’s Spoon River Anthology, here’s a good place to get a taste of it.

Very handy digital version – lets you cross-refer in several different ways, including links to those who talk about and are talked about by the character whose poem you are reading.

Digital content does have its advantages, doesn’t it?

Published by

Nic Sebastian

Nic is the author of Forever Will End On Thursday and Dark And Like A Web. She founded the now-archived Whale Sound site and is co-founder of The Poetry Storehouse. Nic blogs at Very Like A Whale and Voice Alpha.

2 thoughts on “I am Minerva, the village poetess”

  1. So one question to ask when you encounter a Poem of the Past is, What would I think of this poem, were I to encounter it for the first time in a poetry forum? In this case you might ask, What would I think of the ending?–

    I thirsted so for love
    I hungered so for life!

    That’s not the only question to ask, of course, and it fails to take into account the pastness of the poem; but I suspect the answer would not be a happy one. I believe I hear rude noises in the background.


  2. It’s an unsettling piece on many levels. Disability, rape, abortion; attitudes to disability, rape and abortion; attitudes to women; and (a savage cut, rather) attitudes to poets. ‘The Village Poetess’ sounds uncomfortably close to ‘The Village Idiot.’ And after realizing that, you have to ask, why ‘poetess’ rather than ‘poet.’

    Reading Petit, the Poet doesn’t make things much better…

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