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Sara Teasdale Biography | Poet

Photo of Sara Teasdale

Sara Teasdale is the total embodiment of a tortured soul who had a gift for artistic expression. She was always a very gifted poet, perhaps because she felt things very deeply and experienced every event in her life with a great deal of emotion that most people could scarcely comprehend. She was born on August 8, 1884 in St. Louis, Missouri. She died at the age of 48 on January 29, 1933 in New York City. At the time of her death, she had been living in an apartment on Central Park West in Manhattan. Her two most cherished works are “Love Songs” and “Flame and Shadow.”

Teasdale did not have a normal childhood, to say the least. She was born with a great deal of health problems and lived the overwhelming majority of her childhood in such poor health that she was not even able to attend school like most children. She was 10 years old by the time that she was finally healthy enough to realistically attend school on a regular basis. Despite the initial setbacks, she graduated from Hosmer Hall in 1903. From there, she went on to experience a very lucrative career. On the one hand, she managed to pack a very full life into a relatively short period of time. She died at the age of 48 and spent a full decade being sick on an almost daily basis when she was a child. As a result, she managed to live a full life in just 38 years. Despite that fact, the overwhelming sense of loneliness that she felt was a constant companion to her and eventually, it would be her downfall.

Her first poem was published locally in 1907, just four years after she graduated from high school. She married in 1914, at the age of 30. She produced three collections of poetry in all and even won a Pulitzer prize in 1917 for her work when she wrote “Love Songs.” Despite her enormous amount of success as a professional, she seemed to be very empty inside on a personal level. Just 12 years after she married her husband, she found herself falling deeper and deeper into loneliness. He took frequent business trips which forced him to be away a great deal. This only seemed to exacerbate her unhappiness. She elected to divorce her husband, largely without his knowledge until the divorce was finalized. He reportedly had no idea that it was even coming. She accomplished getting a divorce by moving out of state for three consecutive months. Once the divorce was complete, she moved back to the same neighborhood where she and her husband had lived, only two blocks away from her former home.

In 1933, she committed suicide by taking sleeping pills. It is thought that she did so because a dear friend of her’s had also committed suicide two years before her. Perhaps that was the price that she had to pay for feeling things deeply enough to be able to write the type of poetry that she could. Unfortunately, she could never find the type of success in her personal life that she found in her professional one. 

Sara Teasdale: Poems | Best Poems | Short Poems | Quotes

Book: Reflection on the Important Things