Pilgrim and poet
Pilgrim and poet
By Faith Cook
Evangelical Press. 168 pages. £7.99
I suspect few of us are familiar with Anne Bradstreet, indeed Faith Cook acknowledges that she only recently became acquainted with her. It is not surprising that she is unknown, as many of us have little time for poetry so the life of a 17th-century poet seems irrelevant. This biography should make us view things differently.
Anne lived in turbulent times. Her family were among the first Puritan refugees to settle in America; she faced an uncertain political and economic situation, disunity and broken fellowships in church, long periods with her husband absent, illness, family bereavements and then she lost everything as her home was consumed by fire.
Faith Cook’s biography is an accessible account of a little known woman during an important historical period. Centred on Anne as a wife and mother, this book explores what life was like in colonial America for the early settlers as they established the laws which are the foundation of modern America. Anne’s was a tough life, but one focused on her heavenly future as expressed through her letters and poetry. It is through these that her heart for her own godliness and her desires for her family are revealed.
Anne’s poetry was popular in her lifetime although her early work is difficult for a 21st-century reader to access. It is her later poems and letters, written through suffering and reflecting her inner struggles with faith, that have the power to resonate today. We often neglect poetry, but Anne’s later poems are like a hand of fellowship reaching across the generations echoing our own inner struggles and desires as we too seek to honour God in our day. In them can be heard the voice of an older woman who has gone before us encouraging us to love our God and serve our families.
Read this book near a computer to explore the poems which are quoted; there are jewels waiting to be found.