Also writes as: Rosa Webster
Born: Established: 19 Dec 1873 Dublin ; Died: 19 May 1941 New York (City)
Rose Emily (Lola) Ridge emigrated with her mother at age five, first to Sydney for about a year, and then to New Zealand where she spent approximately 24 years, mostly in Hokitika. Her first contribution to the Sydney Bulletin was 'A Deserted Diggings, Maoriland', published on 5 October 1901, and her poetry was also published in the Otago Witness, NZ Illustrated Magazine and the Canterbury Times, and later the Australian Town and Country Journal and The Lone Hand.
Ridge married miner Peter Webster in 1895, but the relationship did not last, and she returned to Sydney with her mother and young son on 11 November 1903. Ridge attended Trinity College and studied art under Julian Ashton at the Academie Julienne in Australia, before moving to San Francisco after the death of her mother in 1907. The following year, Ridge moved to the Lower East Side of New York, and from 1908 through 1937 her radical poetry - influenced by Marxism, anarchism and feminism - was published in many periodicals such as Poetry, New Republic, and The Saturday Review of Literature, and in anthologies edited by William Rose Benét and Louis Untermeyer, as well as in the less mainstream Mother Earth, Emma Goldman's anarchist monthly.
Ridge's first collection of poems, The Ghetto (1918), an imagist sequence about the Hester Street Jewish community of the Lower East Side, was very well received, and was followed in 1919 with a groundbreaking feminist lecture 'Woman and the Creative Will'. After World War I, Ridge served as an editor of Broom and reinvigorated Alfred Kreymborg's magazine, Others. She married David Lawson on 22 October 1919 in New York. In 1920, she published Sun-Up, a sequence of poems about her Irish and antipodean childhood. This work consolidated her reputation as a practised and socially aware free-verse poet, and in 1923 she won Poetry magazine's Guarantor's Prize. A Guggenheim fellowship enabled her to travel in the 1930s and she visited Paris, Baghdad, Taos, New Mexico, and parts of Mexico. Her obituary in The Publisher's Weekly deemed her 'one of America's leading poets.'
Ridge's other poetry books published in America (not indexed in AustLit), include The Ghetto and Other Poems (1918) Red Flag (1927), Firehead (1929) and Dance of Fire (1935).