Emma Lazarus (1849-1887)
Famous for her poem “The New Colossus,” inscribed at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty, including the famous lines “Give me your tired, your poor,/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/ The wretched refuse of your teeming shore./ Send these, the homeless,tempest-tost to me,/ I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Emma Lazarus was a Jewish-American poet born in New York.
While she published several books in her lifetime, her previously lost poems were recently found and republished by scholar Zachary Turpin. Originally published in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine from 1872-1879, these poems represent a queer eroticism, which had previously only been expressed in the poem “Assurance.” While reading compare her homoerotic tone to Whitman’s. How are they similar? How are they different? What does this say about perceptions of bodies and sexuality in the nineteenth century?