A Geographical Tour of Literary America

The Grand Tour of Literary Landmarks resulted from my students' success with another project that we called "Poetic License with THE AMAZING RACE." This new journey also begins and ends in my students' hometown. Chosen writers are specific to our curriculum and texts; however, teachers can adapt new selections to their students' needs. Side images are their original work. Photo images at each destination go directly to official sites or to the slideshows of my own travel photos. The main sources of written material here are www.Poets.org and Adventures in American Literature, Heritage Edition and Pegasus Edition.

Boston, Massachusetts

On the literary map, travel from from Plymouth to Boston, Massachusetts.


# _____________ Miles to Boston, Massachusetts

$ _____________ Cost for Gasoline to Boston, Massachusetts

Visit Mrs. Steller's Phillis Wheatley Gallery.

Visit Phillis Wheatley at www.Poets.org and fill-in-the-blanks.

"Phillis Wheatley was the first black poet in America to _________________________. She was born around 1753 in____and brought to New England in 1761, where John Wheatley of Boston purchased her as _______________. Although they brought her into the household as a slave, the Wheatleys took a great interest in Phillis's education. Many biographers have pointed to her precocity; Wheatley learned to read and write English by the age of _____________, and she became familiar with Latin, Greek, the Bible, and selected classics at an early age. She began writing poetry at ____________, modeling her work on the English poets of the time, particularly John Milton, Thomas Gray, and Alexander Pope. Her poem ___________________________was published as a broadside in cities such as Boston, New York, and Philadelphia and garnered Wheatley national acclaim. This poem was also printed in London. Over the next few years, she would print a number of broadsides elegizing prominent English and colonial leaders."

"Wheatley's doctor suggested that a sea voyage might improve her delicate health, so in 1771 she accompanied Nathaniel Wheatley on a trip to London. She was well received in London and wrote to a friend of the 'unexpected and unmerited civility and complaisance with which I was treated by all.' In 1773, thirty-nine of her poems were published in London as ____________________________. The book includes many elegies as well as poems on Christian themes; it also includes poems dealing with race, such as the often-anthologized 'On Being Brought from Africa to America. She returned to America in 1773."

After Mr. and Mrs. Wheatley died, Phillis was left to support herself as a ___________ and __________. It is unclear precisely when Wheatley was freed from slavery, although scholars suggest it occurred between 1774 and 1778. In 1776, Wheatley wrote a letter and poem in support of ___________________; he replied with an invitation to visit him in Cambridge, stating that he would be 'happy to see a person so favored by the muses.' In 1778, she married John Peters, who kept a grocery store. They had three children together, all of whom died young. Because of the war and the poor economy, Wheatley experienced difficulty publishing her poems. She solicited subscribers for a new volume that would include thirty-three new poems and thirteen letters, but _____________________. Phillis Wheatley, who had once been internationally celebrated, _______________________in 1784. She was thirty-one years old. Many of the poems for her proposed second volume disappeared and have never been recovered. "

Read "On Being Brought from Africa to America." Now write the poem in your own words.