Poet Profile: Anne Spencer

If you asked a young Anne Spencer what career she wanted, poet would not have been her answer. Anne, a wife and mother living in Lynchburg during the early 1900s, was a librarian at an all-black high school finding comfort and refuge in cultivating a beautiful garden she called Edankraal. Much like the Bronte sisters before her, she wrote poetry on any paper surface available1—writing became her way to express her feelings and engage with the world around her.

NAACP national secretary and celebrated poet James Weldon Johnson came to Lynchburg to help establish a local chapter of the NAACP and stayed with the Spencers. When he read Anne’s poetry, he encouraged her to publish it. Although her work remained in the shadows for many years, she influenced many other writers of the Harlem Renaissance.

Anne Spencer








To read Anne Spencer’s poetry, check out these books from the John Tyler libraries:

Caroling at DuskCaroling Dusk: an Anthology of Verse by Black Poets of the Twenties by Countee Cullen

Chester – PS591.N4 C8 1993






New Anthology

New Anthology of American Poetry, volume 2

Midlothian – PS586 .N49 2005






Book of American Negro Poetry

Book of American Negro Poetry

Chester – PS591.N4 J6

Midlothian – PS591.N4 B62 1983





American Negro Poetry

American Negro Poetry by Arna Bontemps

Chester – PS591.N4 B58






1 “Poetry.” Anne Spencer House & Garden Museum, Dec. 2015, http://www.annespencermuseum.com/poetry.php.

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