Edith M. Thomas

1854–1925

Born on a farm in Chatham Center, Ohio, poet Edith Matilda Thomas was encouraged in the creative arts by her family. An uncle gave her a volume of Keats, who became an influence on her poetry. Thomas was educated at Geneva Normal School and Oberlin College, though she dropped out after one semester to work. On a visit to New York she met the poet Helen Hunt Jackson, whose early and continued championing of Thomas’s work helped build her reputation. In 1887, Thomas relocated to New York City, where she worked as an editor for Century Dictionary and Harper’s magazine.

Thomas published 10 collections of poetry over the course of her career, including Lyrics and Sonnets (1887) and A Winter Swallow (1896). Her Selected Poems appeared in 1926. Thomas also wrote several volumes of nature essays and literary criticism. Her poetry ranges from classical to light verse and displays a keen attention to sound.

Upon her death, the New York Times called her “one of the most distinguished American poets.”

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Poet Categorization

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

LIFE SPAN 1854–1925

Biography

Born on a farm in Chatham Center, Ohio, poet Edith Matilda Thomas was encouraged in the creative arts by her family. An uncle gave her a volume of Keats, who became an influence on her poetry. Thomas was educated at Geneva Normal School and Oberlin College, though she dropped out after one semester to work. On a visit to New York she met the poet Helen Hunt Jackson, whose early and continued championing of Thomas’s work helped . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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