Celebrate National Poetry Month with two extraordinary women who chronicled the American Revolution in verse – County of Union

Union County, New Jersey – April 26, 2022 – To celebrate National Poetry Month, the Union County Board of County Commissioners invites poetry lovers and American history buffs to attend “Women Poets of the Revolution,” a free lecture on the works of Annis Boudinot Stockton and Phillis Wheatly hosted by Dr. Mary McAleer Balkun, professor of English at Seton Hall University, at the New Providence Memorial Library at 377 Elkwood Avenue in New Providence on Tuesday, April 26 at 6:00 p.m.

The event is presented free of charge by the Union County Office of Cultural Affairs and Heritage. Places are limited and pre-registration is required to reserve a place at ucnj.org/cultural.

“National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world, and we are very proud to offer the community of Union County the opportunity to participate and discover the contributions of two important women poets in the American history,” said Commissioner President Rebecca Williams.

Early American poets Annis Boudinot Stockton and Phillis Wheatley came from very different backgrounds to offer their own unique and eyewitness perspectives on the American Revolution, at a time in history when female literary figures were virtually invisible.

Stockton was born into the privileged and elitist social circle of Princeton, New Jersey. Unlike many women of her time, she had both the opportunity and the urge to pursue the art of writing. She was producing sophisticated poetry by the age of 16. At 21, she married lawyer Richard Stockton, signer of the Declaration of Independence. When the Revolutionary War broke out, Annis Stockton supported the Continental Army with funds raised through the publication of her poetry, in which she documented key episodes of the war and commemorated George Washington’s leadership.

Wheatley was kidnapped from her home in Africa and brought to the colonies as a child slave in 1761. By age 14, she was an accomplished student of Greek and Roman classics, as well as literature, astronomy and science. British Geography. By 1770 she was an acclaimed poet. When her first collection of poems was published in 1773, she was one of the first two women in America to have a book of poetry printed, and she was the first black woman to have a book of any kind published. either in America.

Dr. Balkun is Professor of English and Director of Faculty Development at Seton Hall University in South Orange. She got her doctorate. from New York University, and holds an MA from Seton Hall University and a BA from Jersey City University. His accomplishments include the 2017 Steven J. Rosen Mentor Award from the New Jersey College English Association and the 2016 Bernard J. McQuaid Medal for Distinguished Service from Seton Hall University.

National Poetry Month is a project of the Academy of American Poets. Since its inception in April 1996, National Poetry Month has become an annual event celebrated by tens of millions of readers, students, K-12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, curators of literary events, publishers, families and poets, signifying the importance of poetry in human life around the world. For more details, visit poets.org/national-poetry-month.

Women Poets of the Revolution is funded in part by a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a cultural affairs division of the Department of State. For information on other historical events presented by Union County, contact John Prescott, History Program Coordinator in the Union County Office of Cultural Affairs and Heritage at 908-436-2912 or by email [email protected]

The Bureau of Cultural Affairs and Heritage is an office of the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation. For more information on all Office programs, visit ucnj.org/cultural, email [email protected], or call 908-558-2550.

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution, and other emergency services. support, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available from the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

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For all Union County programs and services, visit ucnj.org, call the public information line at 877-424-1234, email [email protected], or use the online contact form .

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