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Posted by Poetry Alley

Ah, how poets sing and die!
Make one song and Heaven takes it;
Have one heart and Beauty breaks it;
Chatterton, Shelley, Keats, and I
—Ah, how poets sing and die!

Anne Bethel Spencer (born Bannister) (1882 – 1975). American poet, teacher, civil rights activist, librarian, and gardener. She was born in Henry County, Virginia. She was the first Virginian and one of three African American women included in the highly influential Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry (1973). Her writing was elegant and of the classical style. While a librarian at the all-black Dunbar High School, a position she held for 20 years, she supplemented the original three library books by bringing others from her own collection at home. She was an important member of the Harlem Renaissance and she was instrumental in reviving the chapter of the NAACP in Lynchburg, Virginia, along with her husband Edward, close friend Mary Rice Hayes Allen and others.

This poem is in the public domain.

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