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Six American Poets from Emily Dickinson to the Present

Six American Poets from Emily Dickinson to the Present: An Introduction

Edited by ALLEN TATE
Copyright Date: 1969
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 276
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  • Book Info
    Six American Poets from Emily Dickinson to the Present
    Book Description:

    Six American Poets from Emily Dickinson to the Present was first published in 1969. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions. This volume provides critical introductions to the work of Emily Dickinson, Hart Crane, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Conrad Aiken, Marianne Moore, and E.E. Cummings, six American poets all of whom were born in the nineteenth century and whose various life spans overlap to cover a period of nearly a century and a half, reaching into the present. In his introduction, Allen Tate discusses the significance of this group of poets and their influence on contemporary poetry. He points out that the overlap in their ages gives a somewhat longer perspective to modern American poetry than the rise of modernism around 1912 has led us to look for. “The impressive variety and versatility of contemporary American poetry, including its ‘modernist’ development,” he writes, “has been the achievement of men and women born before 1901.” In discussing the six poets introduced in this volume, Mr. Tate offers interesting comments on the place in literary history of a number of other poets including Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Robert Frost, Phelps Putnam, Mark Van Doren, John Hall Wheelock, and John Crowe Ransom. The introductions to the six poets are based on the material of six of the pamphlets in the series of University of Minnesota Pamphlets on American Writers: Emily Dickinson by Denis Donoghue, Hart Crane by Monroe K. Spears, Edwin Arlington Robinson by Louis Coxe, Conrad Aiken by Reuel Denney, Marianne Moore by Jean Garrigue, and E.E. Cummings by Eve Triem._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-3840-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-2)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 3-8)

    Of the six poets discussed in this volume only two are living, and they are both past eighty: Marianne Moore and Conrad Aiken. Miss Moore and Mr. Aiken are poets of great vitality and staying power, but one can scarcely believe that they still have their most important work to do. Here, in this collection, we begin with Emily Dickinson who died in 1886, a year before Miss Moore was born and three before Mr. Aiken. Robinson was seventeen in 1886; he could have known some of Emily Dickinson’s poems and been influenced by them, though this possible influence is...

  4. Emily Dickinson
    (pp. 9-44)

    On Tuesday, August 16, 1870, Thomas Wentworth Higginson visited Emily Dickinson at her home in Amherst, Massachusetts. It was their first meeting, although they had been in correspondence since April 1862 when the poet addressed herself to the well-known critic “to say if my Verse is alive.” Higginson’s account of this first meeting is given in a letter to his wife. “A step like a pattering child’s in entry,” he reported, “& in glided a little plain woman with two smooth bands of reddish hair & a face a little like Belle Dove’s; not plainer — with no good feature —...

  5. Edwin Arlington Robinson
    (pp. 45-81)

    Granted a real talent and an access to experience, a poet deserves the name and earns it chiefly by his honesty. It is never enough that he be up with or beyond the times; who knows what those are? Technical feats rise, shine, evaporate, and fall, and there are unread poets who could have taught Shakespeare lessons in prosody. The sources from which poets “steal” metaphors and ideas often show the difference between knowing all about poetry and being a poet: it is not a matter of know-how, for if it were, Abraham Cowley would be greater than John Milton...

  6. Marianne Moore
    (pp. 82-121)

    We know this poet by her voice, by her “astonishing invention in a single mode,” by her delicate, taxing technique; we know her for the “relentless accuracy” of her eye.

    This is Marianne Moore, ironist, moralist, fantasist.

    She was born in 1887 in St. Louis, Missouri, and has written of herself that she is a Presbyterian and was brought up in the home of her grandfather, the Reverend John R. Warner, who was for twenty-seven years the pastor of Kirkwood Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, that her brother was a chaplain in the navy for forty and more years, and...

  7. Conrad Aiken
    (pp. 122-158)

    Early in his work Conrad Aiken wrote:

    There are houses hanging above the stars

    And stars hung under a sea.

    These suave, unsettling lines fromSenlin:A Biography(1918) suggest in miniature much of what was to follow. The world of these verses is no other than the round world on which we live. Man’s visual logic, if he tries to extend it very far, is turned upside down by the gravitational logic of the globe. “Can the same be true of all of man’s mental life?” Aiken seems to be asking. In that event our thoughts and feelings are...

  8. E. E. Cummings
    (pp. 159-194)

    Obedient to the world spirit of change, in the early decades of the twentieth century a group of notable poets, by diverging from traditional practices, transformed American poetry. The most thorough “smasher of the logicalities” among them was a transcendentalist: one who views nature as a state of becoming rather than as a stasis and who believes that the imaginative faculty in man can perceive the natural world directly. He was also a troubadour who said: “enters give/ whose lost is his found/ leading love/ whose heart is her mind.” He was not only poet but novelist, playwright, and painter....

  9. Hart Crane
    (pp. 195-232)

    In “Words for Hart Crane” Robert Lowell called Crane “Catullus redivivus” and “the Shelley of my age”; in aParis Reviewinterview he said: “I think Crane is the great poet of that generation . . . Not only is it the tremendous power there, but he somehow got New York City: he was at the center of things in the way that no other poet was. All the chaos of his life missed getting sidetracked the way other poets’ did, and he was less limited than any other poet of his generation. There was a fulness of experience ....

  10. Selected Bibliographies
    (pp. 235-248)
  11. About the Authors
    (pp. 251-252)
  12. Index
    (pp. 255-267)