Spencer’s poetry engages themes of religion, race, and the natural world. Thirty of her poems were published during her lifetime, in such anthologies as The Book of American Negro Poetry (1922) and Caroling Dusk (1927). She was the first African American woman poet to be featured in the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry (1973). Her work was gathered posthumously in Time’s Unfading Garden: Anne Spencer’s Life and Poetry (1977). She is also the subject of Half My World: The Garden of Anne Spencer: A History and Guide (2003), by Rebecca T. Frischkorn and Reuben M. Rainey, and Lessons Learned from a Poet’s Garden (2011), by Jane Baber White.
Spencer died of cancer at the age of 93 and is buried in Forest Hills Cemetery in Lynchburg. The Anne Spencer House & Garden Museum is included on the National Register of Historic Places and is designated a Virginia Historic Landmark, a Friends of the Library USA Literary Landmark, and a Historic Landmark by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. A selection of her papers is archived at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia.
POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic
SCHOOL / PERIOD Harlem Renaissance
LIFE SPAN 1882–1975