Yesterday my Aunt Edna had her 100th birthday. This morning I pulled her book about the poet Christina Rossetti off the shelf, and started reading it. I can’t remember how it came to be among my books, but I must have taken it from my parent’s home because it’s inscribed to them with a lovely note. Aunt Edna always has kind words in abundance for folks. The book was published, her doctoral thesis I believe, in 1985.
It’s simplistic to say that it is a book about Christina Rossetti. It is a scholarly work on literary criticism of Rossetti’s poetry during her life and at different periods of critical thinking. It makes very interesting reading if you’re interested in poetry and feminism, or poetry or feminism…
As a child my Aunt Edna was to me a smiling and kind woman who I had no idea was such a scholar, or lover of poetry. She married Saul, my grandfather’s cousin. The men in my family were the vocal and boisterous bunch, Uncle Saul and Grandpa maybe most of all, and their concerns were more mercantile in nature. But I am finally now giving Dr. Edna Kotin Charles my undivided attention, as well the work of Christina Rossetti.
I don’t think this is the definitive version of this poem, but since it’s officially election season… I feel like sharing this version that was recorded last April at the Greenville Public Library.