Phillis Wheatley Bibliography

Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral 1773
The first black poet in English. Her Poems were published in London and consist of conventional verses on didactic themes: “Remember, Christians, Negroes black as Cain,/ May be refin’d, and join the angelic train.” Her best-known poems are “To the University of Cambridge in New England”(1767) and “To the King’s Most Excellent Majesty”(1768). Wheatley also translated Joseph La Vallée’s French novel Le Nègre comme il y a peu des Blancs.

Wheatley was captured by slave traders, probably in Senegal, when she was eight years old and taken to the American colonies and sold to the Wheatley family of Boston. She served as maid-servant to the wife of John Wheatley and married John Peters, a free Negro in 1778. She began writing poetry when she was 13, using as models particularly Pope and Gray. In 1773 she accompanied a member of the Wheatley family to England, where she gained widespread attention in literary circles. She subsequently return to Boston.