Ina Coolbrith

(1841 – 1928 / Nauvoo, Illinois)

Ina Coolbrith
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Ina Donna Coolbrith (March 10, 1841 – February 29, 1928) was an American poet, writer, librarian, and a prominent figure in the San Francisco Bay Area literary community. Called the "Sweet Singer of California", she was the first California Poet Laureate and the first poet laureate of any American state.
Coolbrith, born the niece of Latter Day Saint movement founder Joseph Smith, left the Mormon community as a child to enter her teens in Los Angeles, California, where she began to publish poetry. She terminated a youthful failed marriage to make her home in San Francisco, and met writers Bret Harte and Charles Warren Stoddard with whom she formed the "Golden Gate ... more »

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Best Poem of Ina Coolbrith


On Hearing Kelley's Music to ‘Macbeth'
O melody, what children strange are these
From thy most vast, illimitable realm?
These sounds that seize upon and overwhelm
The soul with shuddering ecstasy! Lo! here
The night is, and the deeds that make night fear;
Wild winds and waters, and the sough of trees
Tossed in the tempest; wail of spirits banned,
Wandering, unhoused of clay, in the dim land;
The incantation of the Sisters Three,
Nameless of deed and name - the mystic chords
Weird repetitions of the mystic words;
The mad,...

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