Celia Thaxter - Encyclopedia




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CELIA THAXTER (1836-1894), American poet, was born at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on the 29th of June 1836. Her father, Thomas B. Laighton, became offended with some of his associates in state politics, and retired about 1841 to the barren and isolated Isles of Shoals, ten miles off Portsmouth, where for about ten years. he was keeper of the White Island lighthouse; and his daughter's girlhood was therefore spent in marine surroundings, which coloured the best of the verse she afterwards wrote. Her poems, mainly in lyrical form, deal with the beacon-light, the sea-storm, the glint of sails, the sandpiper, the flower among the rocks, &c., in characteristic and sympathetic fidelity. She also wrote prose sketches of life and scenery, Among the Isles of Shoals (1873); stories and poems for children, and letters; besides a book about floriculture, An Island Garden (1894). In 1896 appeared a complete edition of her poems, edited by Sarah Orne Jewett. She married in 1851 Levi L. Thaxter (d. 1884), a devoted student of Robert Browning's poetry, and spent most of her life on Appledore, one of the Isles of Shoals, where she died on the 26th of August 1894. Her son Roland Thaxter (b. 1858), a well-known cryptogamic botanist, became professor of botany at Harvard in 1891.

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