Markham House - Poetry Center San Jose
The Greek Revival style Markham House was constructed in the 1860s. The mother of poet Edwin Markham purchased the house a decade later, while her son was attending San Joe Normal School. It remained the poet's home until 1889. In 1987, it was moved to History Park and refurbished, and in 2002, Poetry Center San Jose resumed use of the house in its new location, where it serves as a writing resource center, housing reference, children's, and Yuki Teikei Haiku Society libraries; workshops, open readings, and other writing events; an exhibit of Edwin Markham artifacts; and administrative offices. The grounds include a garden which is open to the public during History Park hours, where poetry activities for children are held during the summer.
Backstory and Context
Charles Edwin Anson Markham (1852-1940) was born in Oregon, and his parents divorced soon afterward. Markham, along with his mother and five older siblings, moved to a ranch near San Francisco four years later. Despite his mother's opposition, the young farmhand Charles Edwin pursued his interest in literature, graduating the classical course in 1873. He taught in El Dorado County, where he was elected school superintendent in 1879. After two failed marriages, Edwin was wed to Anna Catherine Murphy in 1898, the same year his most famous poem, "The Man with the Hoe," was published. The poem protested the exploitation of laborers, and gained him such success that he and his wife moved to New York within the year. Once there, Markham became instantly involved in both literary and labor gatherings, published several collections of poetry and edited anthologies, and published the prose Children in Bondage in 1914, protesting child labor. He regularly corresponded with Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jack London, Carl Sandburg, and Amy Lowell. The first poet to receive the Academy Fellowship (1936), and poet laureate of Oregon, Edwin Markham died in Brooklyn in March of 1940.
Poetry Center San
Jose was formed in 1978 by Nils Peterson and his wife Naomi Clark in order to bring
the Bay Area's poets together through readings, workshops, and academic
programs--initially meeting in the garages of various members. Since then, the
organization has enjoyed the participation of renowned poets, including U.S.
Poet Laureate Kay Ryan, and has won Pushcart Prizes for two poems published in
its literary journal, Caesura, with
notable cover art by Caesura designer
2. History San Jose. "Markham House." Accessed February 22, 2017. http://historysanjose.org/wp/plan-your-visit/history-park/markham-house/.
3. Poetry Center San Jose. Official website. Accessed
February 22, 2017. http://www.pcsj.org/.