The New Hope
(1866 - 1912) ~ American Anarchist, Feminist, and Freethinker, With Roots in Individualism and Collectivism : Yet the ascetic also had the soul of a poet. In her poetry and even in her prose, Voltairine eloquently expressed a passionate love of music, of nature, and of Beauty. (From : The Storm!.)
• "What, then, would I have? you ask. I would have men invest themselves with the dignity of an aim higher than the chase for wealth; choose a thing to do in life outside of the making of things, and keep it in mind, --- not for a day, nor a year, but for a life-time." (From : The Dominant Idea.)
• "There is not upon the face of the earth today a government so utterly and shamelessly corrupt as that of the United States of America. There are others more cruel, more tyrannical, more devastating; there is none so utterly venal." (From : Anarchism and American Traditions.)
• "...the doctrine of free-will has raised up fanatics and persecutors, who, assuming that men may be good under all conditions if they merely wish to be so, have sought to persuade other men's wills with threats, fines, imprisonments, torture, the spike, the wheel, the ax, the fagot, in order to make them good and save them against their obdurate will." (From : The Dominant Idea.)
The New Hope
The celebrated anarchist, freethinker, poet, feminist, and public intellectual Voltairine de Cleyre (1866–1912) was twenty-six years old in 1893, living in West Philadelphia and at her best game as a writer and activist. She was then contributing occasional letters, articles, and a few poems to the Boston Investigator, which in its day (1831–1904) was a well-respected and lively forum for liberals, atheists, and dissident religionists.
Until recently there were no on-line databases for 19th century radical newspapers, and it was not so long ago that the internet didn’t exist. Even now in 2013, the database where I found this old gem is for paying customers only. But even before the internet came into its own, the Boston Investigator was not to be found in university libraries. I remember looking for it and having other researchers ask me if I knew where it might be. Now, one can search the full text of the paper’s first 64 years of publication. Thus it seems that in spite of a surge in interest in this author since Paul Avrich’s biography An American Anarchist: The Life Of Voltairine de Cleyre (1978) and three new books by or about her in 2004–05, this poem “The New Hope” evidently has not been mentioned or reprinted in the century since the poet’s death, or perhaps not since it first appeared.
I have uncovered a few other lost pieces by Voltairine de Cleyre that involved a bit of detective work, but the present discovery was merely knowing her work and searching a newly available source. Even so, I am very proud to present this forgotten poem in which the great anarchist declares her independence from superstition.
by V. de Cleyre
From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org
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