Frederick Tuckerman

Image by Engraving from The Sonnets of Frederick Goddard Tuckerman, ed Witter Bynner 1931 (internet archive)

Frederick Tuckerman

b. 1821 d. 1873


Nor can I drop my lids, nor shade my brows, but there he stands beside the lifted sash. - Frederick Tuckerman 'An Upper Chamber In A Darkened House'


About Frederick Tuckerman

Tuckerman’s beloved wife died in childbirth, and a powerful sense of grief and loss permeates many of his poems. He was a poet of the outdoors, spending much time wandering through the woods and fields of New England, and becoming an expert on flora and fauna. Although he had a law degree from Harvard Law School, he abandoned the profession after a year and devoted himself to his other interests and, in particular, to literature and science.

On a trip to Europe, he developed a close friendship with the poet Alfred Tennyson, but whereas Tennyson was phenomenally successful, Tuckerman struggled to find any kind of readership for his sonnets, his lyrics and the now much admired longer poem ‘The Cricket’. His one collection, Poems, of 1860, was a commercial and critical failure, and it was only after his death that the complexity and originality of his work was appreciated.