For reasons that will be mysterious, I have been perusing a set of 19th Mid-Western poets. The poems are almost unbearably bad, but each poet has a biographical sketch of 1 to 4 lines. They are much more entertaining than the poems. I don’t know any poets that have these sorts of bios now. The book was published in 1902. Here are the highlights.
Elmer E. Blackman b. 1862: “He is the author of nearly one hundred poems, three of which are quite long.”
Mrs. Clara E Rice b. 1856 “‘An Ode to Corn,’ given below, is an answer to Lord Tennyson’s ‘Demeter and Persephone.'”
Emma McRae b. 1871: “Miss McRae is addicted to verse writing because as she expresses it, she has inherited ‘the failing,’ her father, Mr. John McRae, having been quite well known in his native province as a writer of both prose and verse.”
A.V. Spaulding b. 1832: “He is a successful dealer in fruit trees, roses, and shrubbery.”
M. W. Kay b. 1857: “The poems of Mr. Kay occasionally appear in the local press, generally under the nom de plume of Wink. He still resides in the place of his nativity.”
Carrie Renfrew: “The poems of Carrie Renfrew have appeared in the Woman’s Tribune and the periodical press generally.”
W. Reed Dunro. b. 1869: “He has always manifested great love for poetry and the drama [sic] and began his literary work as a reporter on a daily newspaper.”
Norphie Ernest Bottom b. 1869: This bio was uninteresting, but the name is so awesome, he earned a place on the roster.
Frances E. Moon b. 1875: “This young lady has received a good education and at her graduation delivered an oration that was highly commendable.”
Mrs. Mary Hoffman b. 1848: “This lady studied and practiced medicine in Chicago for several years. In 1831 she went to Nebraska and continued the practice of homeopathy until 1884”
William E. Myers b. 1844: “He has been a Sunday-school superintendent at Tamora, Nebraska, where he is engaged in dairying.”
William H. Williams b. 1871: “He went to the Philippines; and is said to have died there.”
“Mr. Brain is by profession an architect and builder, but now has a stock farm six miles south of Bassett.”
“Dr. Beers is the author of the New National Hymn Sons of Columbia given below.”
“Mr. Lowe is now a clerk in the U.S. Circuit Court at Omaha, Nebraska, where he is very popular.”