Discipline: Literature – poetry

Anna Branch

Discipline: Literature – poetry
MacDowell Fellowships: 1925
Anna Hempstead Branch (1875–1937) was an American poet. She was regarded as a major poet during her life and William Thomas Stead called her "the Browning of American poetry." Branch was born into New London (CT) society and spent most of her school years in New York and Brooklyn. She graduated from Smith College in 1897 and went on to study dramaturgy at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, graduating in 1900. Branch published in various national magazines and made her reputation with two collections, both heavily influenced by the work of the Pre-Raphaelites, especially Christina Rossetti. The Shoes That Danced (1905) features odd settings and characters. Rose of the Wind (1910) contains "The Wedding Feast," a reworking of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and her most famous single poem, "Nimrod," a blank verse epic about the ancient king. The title work, a dramatic poem, was staged at the Empire Theatre in 1908. Sonnets from a Lock Box (1929) is regarded as her best work. It is a collection of 38 sonnets using the first person, noted for its directness and mystical symbolism. Her final collection of poetry, Last Poems (1944), was published posthumously by Ridgely Torrence. Branch was also the author of A Christmas Miracle and God Bless this House (1925) and Bubble Blower's House (1926). Branch was also known for her philanthropy, mostly centered around Christodora House, a settlement house in New York City. She also created the Poet's Guild, whose members, including Edwin Arlington Robinson, William Rose Benét, Percy MacKaye, and Margaret Widdemer, taught classes at the house. Branch was also vice president of the Poetry Society of America. In 1918 she served as the vice president of the National League for Women's Service and chaired the education and festival committees in the War Camp Community Service.



Anna Branch worked in the Star studio.

Funded by Alpha Chi Omega, a national fraternity founded in 1885, Star Studio — built in 1911–1912 — was the first studio given to the residency by an outside organization. To this day, Alpha Chi sorority pledges learn the story of Star Studio and its role in supporting American arts and letters. Beginning as a nicely proportioned…

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