Click here for Anne Bradstreet Poetry Contest Announcement and Rules

2023 Anne Bradstreet Poetry Contest - Announcement and Rules

Saturday, March 11, 2023

2023 Anne Bradstreet Poetry Contest - Announcement and Rules


2023 Anne Bradstreet 
Poetry Contest

In honour of Anne Bradstreet, 
the North Andover 
Poet Laureate Committee is announcing 
the 3rd annual Anne Bradstreet Poetry Contest!

All who live, work or go to school in North Andover are invited to take part.

Our town is the home of America's first published poet, Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672). Anne arrived here at the very founding of the town in the early 1640's with her husband and their young children. She made her life in the frontier settlement.  She made her mark in the world of poetry right here in North Andover. Her first collection, "The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America", published in 1650, was widely read in America and England, an uncommon achievement for a woman in the post-Elizabethan English world. Anne lived and raised her family - and wrote her poetry - right here. Anne is an inspiration to all of us on the Poet Laureate Committee, and why we named the contest after her.

In her spirit, we are inviting all members of the North Andover community to submit a poem on this year’s theme:

2023 Theme: 

Let Anne Be Your Muse 

    • Write a poem inspired by Anne’s poetry or her history
    • Poems can be any style, free verse or rhyming
    • See where Anne’s words and life can take you! 
Anne's Poetry:
Anne's History: 

  • Open to all who either live, work or go to school in North Andover
  • Submit in one of 5 age categories: Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5, Middle School, High School, Adult
  • The poems can be any style. They can be rhyming or free verse. Write a poem however the theme speaks to you.
  • The top three in each category will be invited to perform their poems on the North Andover Common
  • Include the poem from Anne or the event from her history that you are using as your inspiration
  • By submitting a poem, the author / parent / guardian gives the North Andover Poet Laureate Committee the right to publish the poems online and on the FB North Andover Poets page, and in a collected book of poems for the event.
  • Parents/guardians of school age children have the right to approve what identifying  information for school age children is published: 1) the name, school, and grade, 2) initials, school and grade, or 3) only school and grade is published.
  • The poem copyright remains with the author.
  • Email to:
  • Subject: Age Category (Grade 1-2, Grade 3-5, middle school, high school, adult)
  • Body: your name, email address, mailing address, age category, poem
  • If sending an attached document, include the name and other information in each document
  • Those without email address, ask an adult in the household with email to submit
  • April 15 Final date to submit poems
  • April 29 Winners and finalists announced 
  • May 6 Award ceremony on the North Andover Common - Winners and finalists will read their poems. (May 13 rain date)  Last year we had more than 120 people in attendance!
Email submissions and questions to

The contest and poetry celebration is sponsored by the
North Andover Poet Laureate Committee
Karen M. Kline, Chair
Mark Bohrer, Poet Laureate

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Anne Bradstreet - An Intro To Her Poetry

An intro to Anne's poetry with links to her poems
plus selected verses from some of her famous poems  
(including a guide and worksheet for early elementary grades)

Anne Bradstreet was the first person to be recognized as an accomplished New World Poet. Her volume of poetry The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America received considerable favorable attention when it was first published in London in 1650. Eight years after it appeared it was listed by William London in his Catalogue of the Most Vendible Books in England, and George III is reported to have had the volume in his library. Bradstreet's work has endured, and she is still considered to be one of the most important early American poets.
Anne's poetry was shaped by her Puritan beliefs and life in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Her poetry gives the reader a chance to understand the push and pull of the world of an educated and intelligent Puritan woman. Anne's contentment in her home life and her deep love and commitment to her family seem sometimes at odds with her feminist beliefs and lack of fervor for some elements of Puritanism. And yet she remained dedicated to Puritan religious ideals throughout her life.

Her skill and attention to meter as well as her evocative syntax brought attention to her poetry at time when there were few celebrated female poets. As she grew older, her poetry became more natural and her subject centered around her life as a Puritan mother and wife in the new Massachusetts Bay Colony. 

Throughout her life Bradstreet was concerned with the issues of sin and redemption, physical and emotional frailty, death and immortality. Much of her work indicates that she had a difficult time resolving the conflict she experienced between the pleasures of the senses and family experience against the promises of heaven. As a Puritan she struggled to subdue her attachment to the world, but as a woman she sometimes felt more strongly connected to her husband, children, and community than to God.

Links to Anne's Poetry:

Student Guide and Worksheet 
for early elementary school grades

Selections from a few of Anne's poems:
To sing of Wars, of Captains, and of Kings,
Of Cities founded, Common-wealths begun, 
I am obnoxious to each carping tongue 
Who says my hand a needle better fits. 
A Poet’s Pen all scorn I should thus wrong,
For such despite they cast on female wits. 
If what I do prove well, it won’t advance,
They’ll say it’s stol’n, or else it was by chance.
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I had eight birds hatcht in one nest 
Four Cocks were there, and Hens the rest.
I nurst them up with pain and care,
No cost nor labour did I spare
Till at the last they felt their wing,
Mounted the Trees and learned to sing.
In silent night when rest I took,
For sorrow near I did not look,
I wakened was with thund’ring noise
And piteous shrieks of dreadful voice.
That fearful sound of “fire” and “fire,”
Let no man know is my Desire.
Then, coming out, behold a space
The flame consume my dwelling place.
And when I could no longer look,
I blest His name that gave and took,
That laid my goods now in the dust.
Yea, so it was, and so ‘twas just.
Under the cooling shadow of a stately Elm
Close sate I by a goodly Rivers side,
Where gliding streams the Rocks did overwhelm;
A lonely place, with pleasures dignifi’d.
I once that lov’d the shady woods so well,
Now thought the rivers did the trees excel,
And if the sun would ever shine, there would I dwell.

First page of her books as published in 1650 and 1678.

Anne Bradstreet: A Short History

Anne's History - more links: 
Valley of the Poets - Karen M. Kline - Local Poetry and the Arts 



Wednesday, March 1, 2023

A Short History of Anne Bradstreet

Tracing Anne's life from England to North Andover

Anne’s home once stood near the Parson Barnard House, on the other side of present day Osgood Street. 

Anne Dudley Bradstreet was born to Dorothy Yorke Dudley and Thomas Dudley in 1612 in Northamptonshire, England. Her father was a steward at the estate of the Earl of Lincoln. The estate housed a large library to which Bradstreet was given access. Under her father's guidance and that of many tutors, Anne received a comprehensive literary education. At the age of sixteen, she married Simon Bradstreet.

In 1630, the young couple and the Dudley family embarked for America under the leadership of Puritan John Winthrop. The family settled in Massachusetts Bay. Anne and Simon Bradstreet were among the founding families of Boston and Cambridge.

In the early 1640’s  Anne was pregnant with their 6th child. Simon moved the family from Ipswich to Andover, in what is present day North Andover, with the Stevens, Osgood, Johnson, Farnum, and Barker families, and founds a frontier settlement. During the coming years, Simon was often away from Anne in service to the colony’s government, including Simon serving as governor of the colony. Anne gave birth to eight children between 1633 and 1652.

As she attended to her household duties and raised her children, she also found time to write poetry. Her poetry often focused on the themes of family, morality, salvation, nature, love, and religion.

1650  Her book of poems, The Tenth Muse, Lately Sprung Up in America was published in England. Bradstreet's poems garnered considerable success and established her as the first American poet. Although Bradstreet was a prolific writer, The Tenth Muse was the only collection of her poetry published during her lifetime.

1666  The Bradstreet home burned down in a fire. Anne and family escaped with their lives, but lost their possessions. including their library of 800+ books. Anne wrote a poem about it. A side note: The Bradstreets had twice as many books in their library as Rev. John Harvard did when, in 1639, he donated his 400 book library to Harvard.

1672  Anne Bradstreet died of consumption (tuberculosis) at age 60. Details of her illnesses and condition at time of death are recorded by her son, Simon. There is no record of where she was buried. However, based on Simon’s note that his mother was buried 3 days after her death, with no other comment, it is most likely she was buried in the Old Burial Ground on Academy Road at North Andover.

1678  A second edition of her poems and writings titled “Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning” was published in Boston – one of the earliest volumes of poems printed in America. 

It's worth nothing that neither of the original editions of her poems had Anne’s name on the cover page. Credits were given to “a Gentlewoman of Those parts” and “a Gentlewoman in New-England”.  

No portrait of Anne Bradstreet exists. This stained glass is in St. Botolph's Church in Boston, Lincolnshire, England and was created in 1948. The picture  of Anne sitting at her desk (above) is from the19th century, by Edmund H. Garrett.

However her journals, written in her own hand, survive. Those journals are the property of the North Andover Historical Society. 

Her poems and writings still speak to us today.

Anne's Poetry: