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Complete Writings

3.44  ·  Rating Details ·  109 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
The extraordinary writings of Phillis Wheatley, a slave girl turned published poet

In 1761, a young girl arrived in Boston on a slave ship, sold to the Wheatley family, and given the name Phillis Wheatley. Struck by Phillis' extraordinary precociousness, the Wheatleys provided her with an education that was unusual for a woman of the time and astonishing for a slave. After
Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 1st 2001 by Penguin Classics (first published 2001)
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As a note to start - I read only the introductory material, concluding notes, and "Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral", not the extant poems, variants of published poems, and letters. I'm still considering this done because I don't feel reading every variant of a poem is necessary (and what I read was her only published work).

It's hard to review a collection like this. Phillis Wheatley was kidnapped and enslaved, brought to America around eight years old. She showed an aptitude for l
Sep 04, 2010 Lindsey rated it liked it
(I only read excerpts from this collection) This style of poetry is not my cup of tea, but the woman behind it is inspiring. A black slave is brought over to America and despite all that is pitted against her because of her race and social status, she learns to read and write. Beyond that, she becomes an artist. She often writes in iambic pentameter with an intense understanding for poetic traditions that came long before her (Homeric for example). Her audacity and sheer courage to write to such ...more
Jul 06, 2015 Amy rated it it was amazing
Phillis Wheatley's story is one that any poetry lover or history lover would appreciate. Phillis was brought over to America on a slave ship in 1761 when she was about age 7. She was bought by the Wheatley family as a domestic servant. Unlike most slave owners, the Wheatley's educated their servants. In less that ten years, Phillis proved to be not only a quick learner but a gifted poet. She was the first published woman of African descent. You will be so impressed by her poems and testimony.
Sep 21, 2016 Naomi rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, poetry
preface: i don't know how to read poetry, or a collection of poems ~~

i really like Phillis Wheatley's style of writing! it's very descriptive, using beautiful language to describe the skies, heaven, hell, grief, death, seasons, religion, etc. it's also easy to read (i personally read them out loud like a dork), but i never read poetry so i was apprehensive that it would be difficult and convoluted like required-reading poetry usually s, but it's not! i had to google some words tho, fo sho.

Mar 27, 2015 Greg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If not for the Penguin Classics series, I would not know who Phillis Wheatley was, and that is a shame. She was the first professional African American professional poet. A slave of a family in Massachusetts, by all accounts they encouraged her to learn. Purchased, she had no formal education, and did not speak English. It is frankly stunning that she became a woman of letters with this start to her life. The introductory material is very interesting, and worth the read.

The poems themselves belo
Vanessa (V.C.)
I've always admired Phillis Wheatley, not so much for her poetry, but for what she stood for during her time period. Although technically she isn't the FIRST published African American female writer (that title should go to Lucy Terry), she was the first African American female poet to practically take the world by storm with the power of her words. Her poetry is rather dry and outdated to read these days, but it is worth reading to appreciate one of the first African American authors to ever be ...more
Apr 27, 2015 Juliana rated it really liked it
I read about 30 of the works in this edition.
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Phillis Wheatley (1753 – December 5, 1784?) was the first professional African American poet and the first African-American woman whose writings were published. Born in Gambia, Senegal, she was enslaved at age eight. She was purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write, and helped encourage her poetry.

Born about 1753 in West Africa, she was kidnapped in 1763 and tak
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“Through thickest gloom look back, immortal shade,
On that confusion which thy death has made.”
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