Julia A. Moore

Julia A. Moore

About Julia A. Moore

Julia A Moore was an American poet. Her first book of poetry, The Sentimental Song Book, was published in 1876, and quickly went into a second printing. A copy ended up in the hands of James F. Ryder, a Cleveland publisher, who republished it under the title The Sweet Singer of Michigan Salutes the Public. Ryder sent out numerous review copies to newspapers across the country, with a cover letter filled with low-key mock praise. And so Moore received national attention. Following Ryder's lead, contemporary reviews were amusedly negative.
The collection became a curious best-seller, though it is unclear whether this was due to public amusement with Moore's poetry or genuine appreciation of the admittedly sentimental character of her poems. It was, more or less, the last gasp of that school of obituary poetry that had been broadly popular in the U.S. throughout the mid-19th century.
Some comparison to William McGonagall is worth making. This is why she was considered and known for writing bad poetry. Unlike McGonagall, Moore commanded a fairly wide variety of meters and forms, albeit like Emily Dickinson the majority of her verse is in the ballad meter. Like McGonagall, she held a maidenly bluestocking's allegiance to the Temperance movement, and frequently indited odes to the joys of sobriety. Most importantly, like McGonagall, she was drawn to themes of accident, disaster, and sudden death; as has been said of A. E. Housman's A Shropshire Lad, in her pages you can count the dead and wounded. Edgar Wilson Nye called her "worse than a Gatling gun. Here, she is inspired by the Great Chicago Fire

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