August 12, 2 pm: Melinda Ponder, “Katharine Lee Bates: From Sea to Shining Sea”

Melinda PonderOn August 12, the birthday of Katharine Lee Bates (1859-1929), poet of “America the Beautiful,” biographer Melinda M. Ponder will talk about her new book, Katharine Lee Bates: From Sea to Shining Sea.

 It tells the story of this brilliant trail-blazing woman—poet, teacher, community builder, and patriot—who challenged Americans to make their country the best it could become in its values and literature.

Drawing on extensive research in Bates family diaries, letters, and memoirs, this biography brings Katharine to life in her journeys from her childhood in Falmouth, where she felt she had been “rock’d in a clamshell,” to Wellesley College, Boston, Oxford, Spain and Egypt. Although her passion was poetry, Katharine’s three alluring suitors (two men and a woman) pulled her into major reform movements in a changing America. She was a dynamic woman with public triumphs, an anti-war activist poet during America’s tumultuous growth into a world power, who suffered personal heartaches as a single woman faced with choosing between marriage and a career. She refused to let an impoverished childhood in a Cape Cod village or the closed doors of the male-only bastions of the ministry, graduate schools, or the Yankee literary establishment prevent her from creating an inspiring life. This book is for those who love her song and those who root for the unlikely triumph of a complicated women “from sea to shining sea.”

Our August lectures sponsored by Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank

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