Alice Dunbar-Nelson
By: Grace Green
Alice Dunbar-Nelson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on July 19 1875. She was the daughter of Patricia Wright, who was a seamstress, and Joseph Moore, who was a merchant marine. She enjoyed the diverse culture of the city very much. This was because of her middle-class social status ans her racially mixed appearance ("Mckoy"). She attended public school in New Orleans and later attended a teachers training program at Straight University in 1890. She received her degree in 1892, and later began to teach students of her own in New Orleans ("Tim").

In 1895, Dunbar-Nelson published her first collection of short stories and poems, Violets and Other Tales. Since these were one of her first poems and short stories they did not truly show her real talent. "Titee," "A Carnival Jangle," and "Little Miss Sophie " revealed her gift for capturing the language, and setting to her New Orleans life at the turn of the century. Soon after she started writing poems and short stories she married Paul Laurence Dunbar. She continued writing when later her marriage ended in 1902. However, she continued to publish her books under the name of Alice Dunbar-Nelson. In 1918, Alice became a representative for the Women's Committee of the Council of Defense. She died on September 18, 1935 in Philadelphia.


If I Had Known
If I had known
Two years ago how drear this life should be,
And crowd upon itself all strangely sad,
Mayhap another song would burst from out my lips,
Overflowing with the happiness of future hopes;
Mayhap another throb than that of joy.
Have stirred my soul into its inmost depths,
If I had known.

If I had known,
Two years ago the impotence of love,
The vainness of a kiss, how barren a caress,
Mayhap my soul to higher things have soarn,
Nor clung to earthly loves and tender dreams,
But ever up aloft into the blue empyrean,
And there to master all the world of mind,
If I had known.

Analysis: This poem is about a women who wished that she knew what life would be like before she actually had to live through it. You will never know anything until you live through it yourself first. I believe that this person thought that love would be more that what it is. Alice Dunbar-Nelson is trying to say that live is not perfect. Life is not always happy and bright. Life is dreary and sad. Alice is also saying that love might not be what you expect. It might be the best thing in the world at first but after awhile not so much.

Works Cited:
"Alice Dunbar-Nelson - Classic Famous Poet - All Poetry. ." All Poetry - poets publish in a free online community, fun supportive cash contests at allpoetry. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. <http://allpoetry.com/Alice_Dunbar-Nelson>.

genre, title within each, and with the exception of her novels which. "Alice Dunbar-Nelson Papers." University of Delaware Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. <http://www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/findaids/dunbarne.html>.

large, and Dunbar-Nelson's poetry (included in Vol. 2. "About Alice Dunbar-Nelson." Welcome to English « Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. <http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/dunbar-nelson/about.htm>.