From Library Journal
Although remembered most fondly for Little Women, Alcott also penned detective stories, children's tales, and poetry. She wrote her first poem when she eight and, at 16, wrote a series of fairy stories for Emerson's daughter, Ellen. The poems in this collection range from her earliest song, "To the First Robin" ("Now the white snow melts away;/ Now the flowers blossom gay:/ Come dear bird and build your nest,/ For we love our robin best") to her paean to the "Mountain-Laurel" ("Each year I wait thy coming, dear,/ Each year I love thee more,/ For life grows hard, and much I need/ Thy honey for my store"). Also included are poems that reveal Alcott's deep engagement with the women's movement of her day--"A Wail Uttered in the Woman's Club"--and her involvement with Transcendentalists Emerson and Thoreau. Alcott infuses her poetry with satire and irony as she discusses love and death, women and family, philosophers and social activists. While these poems reveal yet another side of Alcott, this book will appeal primarily to large libraries seeking a comprehensive collection of Alcott's writings.-Henry L. Carrigan Jr., formerly with Westerville P.L., OH
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The author of Little Women
and the other March family chronicles was no great shakes as a poet. Most of her poems are in ballad stanzas. Most tell little moral stories about personified flowers and insects, though another batch celebrates family and Louisa's transcendentalist philosopher sire, Amos Bronson Alcott, and a handful comment on her literary circle and career. The reasons to read them are all biographical, for the patience, diligence, and self-abnegation celebrated in the moral poems, the veneration of sisters and patriarch in the familial verses, and the incompletely suppressed frustration and resentment that peep out of the literary poems bespeak the conditions of Louisa's self-conception as a gifted but ugly duckling and her self-assumed role as the hack whose saleable handiwork sustained the Alcott household as its improvidently intellectual head could not. Particularly piquant with biographic implication are "The Lay of a Golden Goose" and its alternate ending; forced graciousness seldom grinds its gritted teeth so audibly. Ray Olson