SARA TEASDALE, American poet, born (d: 1933); It used to be fashionable in speaking of the brevity, the simplicity, the rare musical quality and the technical perfection of her poems, to imply that Sara Teasdale, something of a grown child, “could not adjust to the demands of maturity.”
What was meant by this was that a “healthy” woman was expected to yield completely and utterly to a man, and this Sara Teasdale could not do. Although she married and made a conscious attempt to “surrender herself completely” as she was expected to do, she could not succumb to an “urge” that she could not feel.
The marriage endured, but it did not succeed. When the poet was forty-two, she fell in love with an admiring college student named Margaret Conklin, who became the friend for whom she had been waiting all her life. They two spent summers traveling together, and Teasdale even took rooms at a nearby inn so she could be near Conklin during her last two years in school.
After the poet’s divorce in 1929, they lived together until Teasdale’s death at 49 in 1933. Of her love for Margaret Conklin, she wrote, “There is a quiet at the heart of love, / And I have pierced the pain and come to peace.” As one critic has observed, the simple lyrics of Sara Teasdale are the work of “a Sappho in modest draperies.”