You think you everything there is know about Christmas poems, and then you find out you don’t.
Until fairly recently, it was believed that the most famous Christmas poem of all – A Visit from St. Nicholas – was written by poet Clement Clark Moore (1779-1863). Later scholarship has suggested the real author to be Henry Livingston Jr. (1748-1828), a farmer, surveyor and justice of the peace in New York who joined the Revolutionary Army in 1775.
What we do know for certain is that Moore read the poem to his children for Christmas in 1822, and it was published anonymously in 1823 in the Troy (NY) Sentinel. The Sentinel editor did not know who the author was, only that it had been sent anonymously to him in the mail. And we know this poem, more than any other account, fixed forever many of the characteristics attributed to Santa Claus. The poem was published in many publications (copyright laws being what they were), until a bound and illustrated version appeared in 1848.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.
Artwork by John A. Hows from Christmas In Art And Song. New York: The Arundel Printing and Publishing Company, 1879.