“Whaling Wife” Poems in Two New Anthologies

October 11, 2012

Fire on Her Tongue: An eBook Anthology of Contemporary Women's Poetry

A series of five persona poems based on journals kept by the wives of New England whalers have now been published together for the first time. Madeline  DeFrees started the series while she was teaching at U. Mass Amherst. In 1985, Nimrod published “Whaling Wives: Jenny Martinson, Whaling Captain’s Widow, Addresses the Historical Society” and “Whaling Wives: Submit Claiborne,” and The Massachusetts Review published “The Whaling Wife Awaits the Captain’s Return Home.” Ms. DeFrees lost faith in the project after a colleague questioned its worth, and she never tried to publish the two remaining poems. They were discovered in her files in 2008.

In 2009, Crab Creek Review published “Whaling Wives: Desire Hathaway 2” and “Whaling Wives: Jenny Martinson Learns Semaphore.” Now, for the first time, all five of the “Whaling Wife” poems appear together in Fire on Her Tongue: An E-book Anthology of Women’s Poetry, edited by Kelli  Russell Agodon and Annette Spaulding-Convy (Two Sylvias Press, 2011). “Whaling Wives: Desire Hathaway 2” also appears in A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry, edited by Stacy Lynn Brown and Oliver de la Paz (University of Akron Press, 2012).