Anne Bradstreet was America's first noteworthy poet in spite of the fact that she was a woman. Both the daughter and wife of Massachusetts governors, Bradstreet suffered all of the hardships of colonial life, was a mother, and still found time to write. Her poem, "The Author to Her Book," is an example of Bradstreet's excellent use of literary techniques while expressing genuine emotion and using domestic subject matter.
Because her father was a studious man, Bradstreet was able to receive a good education and was well read. She enjoyed serious and religious writings and admired many of the great poets of the time, among these Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser and John Donne. In fact she admired them so much that she imitated many of the literary devices that they used. " The Author to Her Book", written upon the unauthorized publication of a book of her poems, is a conceit, or extended metaphor. Bradstreet compares her book to a baby, calling it the "ill-formed offspring of [her] feeble brain." She continues this conceit by calling her book her "rambling brat (in print)" and expressing the true "affection" she has for it. Just as a mother would wash and dress an infant before taking it out of the house, Bradstreet would have enjoyed the opportunity to revise her poems before they were put on display before the literary world. Bradstreet did revise her poems for a second edition and compares this revision to cleaning a child; "I washed thy face, but more defects I saw, And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw." Simply, the better she would make her book, the more little mistakes she would notice, just as a mother would notice any speck of dirt that was left on her virtually spotless child.
Bradstreet goes on with her conceit by adding another literary device that was used by the poets she admired—the pun. "I stretched thy joints to make thee even feet." Just as a mother of that time would have stretched her baby's legs to make them equal in length, Bradstreet worked to make the feet of her poem equal, in this case five feet—a pentameter—long, which is similar to the style of other poets during the colonial time. She ends her poem by reminding her...