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Phillis Wheatley – Poetic

Poetic – relating to or used in poetry.

Phillis Wheatley was kidnapped from West Africa and enslaved. She became the first African American and one of the first women to publish a book of poems. After being educated by her owners, in 1767, she published her first poem and her first volumes of poems in 1773, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral.

This publishing made Wheatley the first African American and first U.S. slave to publish a book of poems. In 1776, Wheatley wrote a letter and poem in support of George Washington. He later replied with an invitation to visit him.

After the Wheatleys death, Phillis was forced to support herself as a seamstress and poet. She later married John Peters, whom she had three children with that all died young.  Her financial struggles made it hard for her to receive other publication. Many of her poems that would be used in her second volume of poetry disappeared and have yet to be recovered.

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