Piatt, Sarah Morgan Bryan


Piatt, Sarah Morgan Bryan

▪ American poet
née  Sarah Morgan Bryan 
born Aug. 11, 1836, Lexington, Ky., U.S.
died Dec. 22, 1919, Caldwell, N.J.

      American poet whose verse, modest in range and often tinged with sadness, won critical appreciation in her day.

      Sarah Bryan was educated at the Henry Female College in New Castle, Kentucky. From an early age she loved English poetry, and in her youth she began to write verses herself under the influence of those of Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byron, Samuel Coleridge, and Percy Shelley. Her first published poem appeared in the Galveston (Texas) News. A short time later her poems began appearing regularly in the Louisville (Kentucky) Journal and then in the New York Ledger. Bryan was widely known as a poet by the time of her marriage in 1861 to John L. Piatt, a journalist, poet, and coauthor with William Dean Howells (Howells, William Dean) of Poems of Two Friends (1860). Sarah Piatt produced several volumes of poetry over the next 20 years, including The Nests at Washington and Other Poems (1864; with her husband), A Woman's Poems (1871), A Voyage to the Fortunate Isles and Other Poems (1874), and Dramatic Persons and Moods (1880).

      In 1882 the Piatts moved to Cork, Ireland, where John Piatt was U.S. consul until 1893. There their friends eventually included Edmund Gosse (Gosse, Sir Edmund), Alice Meynell (Meynell, Alice), Katherine Tynan (Tynan, Katherine), and Austin Dobson (Dobson, Austin). Ireland proved fertile ground for Sarah Piatt's poetry, which is characterized by a light lyrical expression of domestic scenes and emotions with a recurrent undertone of melancholy. In form it is frequently unconventional. She published several books during that period, including An Irish Garland (1884), Primrose Time (1886), Child's World Ballads (1887), The Witch in the Glass (1888), An Irish Wild Flower (1891), and Pictures, Portraits, and People in Ireland (1893). Piatt also collaborated with her husband on The Children Out-of-Doors (1885). Her Collected Poems appeared in 1894. Much admired in England, Piatt's verse was compared to that of Christina Rossetti (Rossetti, Christina) and Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Browning, Elizabeth Barrett).

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