Nancy Luce, Chicken Lady of Martha’s Vineyard

A few years ago, visiting the island of Martha's Vineyard off the Massachusetts coast, I learned of Nancy Luce (1814-1890). An eccentric loner artist who self-published her own poetry--mainly devoted to her beloved pet chickens--and buried the birds with fully engraved headstones, she is the subject of a biography still available on the island at various gift shops: Consider Poor I by Walter Magnes Teller. You can read what The New York Times had to say about the book here. You might even be so moved as to purchase a lovely woodcut print of Luce here.

Perhaps we should commemorate Luce with a sample of her poetry:

Poor little Ada Queetie has departed this life,
Never to be here no more,
No more to love, no more to speak,
No more to be my friend.
O how I long to see her with me alive and well,
Her heart and mine was united,
Love and feelings deeply rooted for each other,
She and I could never part,
I am left broken hearted....

Posted By: Paul - Wed Sep 10, 2008
Category: Animals, Domestic, Eccentrics, Literature, Books, Writers, Regionalism, Nineteenth Century

Big Gary--why is bad poetry so much worse than bad prose?
Posted by Paul on 09/10/08 at 11:02 AM
Big Gary--very valid points! And sometimes bad poetry is actually more fun to read than bad prose.
Posted by Paul on 09/10/08 at 12:36 PM
I disagree, Paul. Bad poetry (which is most of it, in my highly learned and estimable opinion as a world-renowned poetry scholar) is too horrible to be allowed to continue. Have you ever seen a Livejournal page covered in the owner's sloppy attempts at expression? Or the local yutzes at the Starbucks on the corner, trying to revive beatnik-ery?

Just, if you want to be a poet, do try to study a bit of the stuff befor eyou subject some poor soul to your work.
Posted by kingmonkey in Athens, Ontario on 09/10/08 at 12:47 PM
Kingmonkey--upon consideration, I stand corrected!
Posted by Paul on 09/10/08 at 12:49 PM
Big Gary--
Posted by Paul on 09/10/08 at 01:10 PM
"Did you just say yutz?"
"Yeah the two yutz"
"What is a yute?"
"Excuse me, the two yooths"

hehehe smile
Posted by Jules in Connecticut on 09/10/08 at 01:11 PM
Matt--you might've started a new trend: KFC haiku!
Posted by Paul on 09/10/08 at 02:40 PM
Don't plotz when they call you a yutz!
Posted by Paul on 09/10/08 at 04:29 PM
Nick and Becci--while lots of rural folks treat chickens as pets--my own niece, for instance--the minority status of such activities, despite any logical justifications, makes it kinda weird by default.
Posted by Paul on 09/11/08 at 01:29 PM
Big Gary--thanks for the tip! But how will I enjoy KFC afterwards?
Posted by Paul on 09/11/08 at 02:19 PM
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