They invented a whole new persona to bind them together. His name was “Michael Field”.
Writing together through this male voice, Bradley and Cooper forged a collaboration that was both romantic and creative.
Being Field allowed them to express things that, in Bradley’s words “the world will not tolerate from a woman’s lips”. As Field, they published hundreds of poems, many of them strikingly erotic. As they wrote defiantly in one poem:
My Love and I took hands and swore,
Against the world, to be
Poets and lovers evermore.
Bradley and Cooper certainly had reason to feel that the world was against them. Their early works were enthusiastically received: one reviewer suggested that Field be nominated for poet laureate.
But once word got around that this promising writer was two women, rather than one man, their reception took a decidedly dismissive turn – precisely as they had feared.
Dr Sarah Parker, of the School of Social Sciences and Humanities, discusses the fascinating women behind Michael Field in the Conversation. Read the full article here.