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  4. Amaze by Adelaide Crapsey

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I know
Not these my hands
And yet I think there was
A woman like me once had hands
Like these.

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  • Adelaide Crapsey is best remembered as the inventor of the cinquain and as a poet whose compressed lyrics "are a remarkable testament of a spirit 'flashing unquenched defiance to the stars,'" as quoted in Boston Transcript. Though her mature work was published posthumously due to her untimely death at the age of thirty-six, Crapsey nevertheless spent her brief life ardently pursuing her art. Her few publications received enthusiastic acclaim. Perhaps critics were initially drawn to Crapsey because she cut a tragic figure, but in the years after her demise her popularity waned. Modern readers looking for Crapsey's work are hard-pressed to find it in any anthology printed after 1950—even those with a women's literature focus. Crapsey's poetry deals largely with the subjects of death and dying, a predilection doubtlessly influenced by her knowledge of her own terminal illness. In addition to her poetry, Crapsey also produced a small but meticulously...

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