By: Nora May French (1881-1907)
Nora May French was a Californian poet and a member of the bohemian literary circles of the Carmel Arts and Crafts Club, which flourished after the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906. She gained minor recognition, but no financial stability, through local magazines. Published posthumously by friends in 1910, four years after French's suicide, Poems by Nora May French was the first and only compilation of her works until 2009.
Although many of her poems celebrate the serenity of coastal landscape, others are less sanguine. They offer glimpses into the mind of a young woman plagued by heartbreak and torn between pressure to submit to social roles and longing to live creatively. The most famous poem in the collection, The Spanish Girl, reflects on a failed engagement, the first of many.