But this movement which we speak of so glibly, do we really know what it was? Let usobserve it a little. In the first place, it was an effort to free the individual from theexpression of the herd; in the second, it had for its object the breaking down of meretemperamental barriers. This looks like paradox, but it is not. The poetry of the twopreceding decades had been almost entirely concerned with recording personal emotions, butrecording them in a perfectly stereotyped way. The new poetry found that emotions were notconfined to the conjugation of the verb to love, and whether it said 'I love' or 'Beholdthe earth and all that is thereon,' if it followed its natural inclination, it would sayit quite differently from the way its fathers had said it. The truth is that this newpoetry, whether written by men or women, was in essence masculine, virile, very muchalive. Where the nineties had warbled, it was prone to shout. When it concerned itselfwith love, its speech was natural and unrestrained; when not concerned with love, it foundinterests as manifold as the humanity crowding on its eyes from every street corner. Ithad so much to say that it simply could not say it, and so huge a country to speak forthat no one poet could do more than present a little bylane of it. It took the wholehandful of poets which made up the group to give any adequate expression of the movementor the age which produced it; but, taking the work by and large, book after book, here wasa volume of energy, a canvas so wide and sparkling, that something very like the dazzlingtapestry of American life, thought, and activities was obtained.
Upheavals make for art, as is well known. The debacle of the Franco-Prussian war gaveFrance the galaxy of poets and musicians which made the last two decades of the nineteenthcentury so rich a period in her annals. But here, in America, there had been no warsufficiently recent to cause an effect of leaf-turning. The Civil War was too long goneby. (No, the change in poetry seems to have sprung from something far more prosaic. Fromthe great tide of commerce and manufacture, indeed. Prosperity is the mother of art, nomatter how odd such an idea may seem. Look at the Elizabethan age in England. It followedimmediately upon an expansion of the world's markets, did it not? But this expansion wasall bound up with the romance of daring adventure and exploration. Quite so, and was notours? A continent crossed and settled at infinite peril; rivers run into clackingfactories; electricity caught and chained to wires, forcing the very air to obedient echo-- are not such things as these romantic and adventurous? Whether people had the wit tosee them in this light or not, the little devils who rule the psychological currents whichman ignores and invariably obeys found them so. Nemesis is extraordinarily ironical. Whilethe men of the race were making fortunes, and the women were going to concerts andpuzzling their heads over a Browning whom, having invented themselves, they could not inthe least understand, so different was he from dear Mr. Gilderwhile all this wasgoing on, in New England, the Middle West, in Pennsylvania and Arkansas, by one, and one,and one, like beads before they are strung upon a string, the makers of this poeticrenaissance of ours were obscurely working all toward one end and that as various as thestrands in a piece of rope.
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Still, often find that interpreting this revolutionary form of poetry is one of the greatest challenges they face during the course of their And so, this site serves to remove that stress and to steer struggling students in the right direction.
Two award-winning Chicago-area poets, Lennart Lundh and Virginia Bell will be featured readers at Brewed Awakening, 19 West Quincy (across from the METRA station), Westmont, on Sunday, January 28, 2018, 12:30-2:00 p.m. Cover charge of $10.00 includes beverage and snack. There will also be an open mic.
- Life of Edgar Allen Poe essays discuss an paper specification for an autobiography of the writer along with opinions about his writings and what made him select his themes.
The poem (Sleep Among The Stars) stands out as a fanciful, whimsical musing of a poet in search of the mystery of love,one that only the fabled beauty of a Chiem fair maiden of a lost people could kindle in the heart of men.
The outcome of all this is somewhat hazy. It is a fact that, side by side with theyouths, the elders are still writing. Whether the younger group will sweep aside theolder, it is too soon to see. That the far easier poetry of the lyrists will be, and is,immensely popular, is only natural. The question is, how long can it maintain itself inthe face of its wilfully restricted limits? Whether the future will bring a period ofsilence preceding another vigorous dash forward, or whether the present feminine mood willlead directly into the next advance, who shall say? Not I, at any rate. Both possibilitiesare in order, and for the present I think we may be satisfied. The time has been short,and considerable has been done in a variety of ways by the two generations at the momentwriting. As Whitman said, here is 'a lapful of seed, and this is a fine country.'
Where emotion is the chief stock in trade, we should not expect a high degree ofintellectual content, yet in one member of the group we find it. Elinor Wylie, who, unlikeEdna St. Vincent Millay, that delightfully clever exponent of the perennial theme of love,is one of the most intellectual and well equipped of American poets. These two are theacknowledged chiefs of the company. For, while the older movement was innately masculine,the new one is all feminine. It is, indeed, a feminine movement, and remains such even inthe work of its men.
The younger group appears to be composed of two entirely distinct companies. Unlike thepioneers, who had among them the tie of a concerted effort, these two sections arecompletely at variance with one another. To name them: one calls itself the Secessionists;the other we may christen, for purposes of differentiation, the Lyrists. It is not a verygood name, for all poets write lyrics, but as these poets write practically nothing else,it will serve. Of these two groups, the lyrists are unquestionably doing the betterwork. They proclaim no tenets, but confine themselves to writing poetry, and doing ituncommonly well. Their expertness is really amazing. They have profited by the largermovement in finding an audience readymade to their hands, a number of magazines eager towelcome them, and a considerable body Of critical writing bearing on the poetical problemsof the Momentaids to achievement which the older group entirely lacked. Through thepractice of the elders, the younger group has learnt to in slough off the worst faults ofthe nineties, and, in the matter of versification, there is scarcely a fault to be foundwith their work. I refer, of course, to that of the leaders. The strange thing here,however, the crux of the reactionary situation, is its aim. For where the older generationaimed at a major expression, these younger poets are directly forcing themselves to adhereto a minor one. The terms major and minor in poetry have nothing to do with good and bad;a minor poet is often meticulously careful and exceedingly fine. Major and minor refer tooutlook, and it is a fact that this younger group deliberately seeks the narrow, personalnote. It is a symptom, I suppose, a weariness of far horizons, a breath-taking before afinal leap.
As the poets were, so was their work. One gave simple facts; another approached thecentral truth obliquely; a third abandoned America as far as direct allusion went, andpresented it the more clearly in reactions on distant countries and periods viewed throughAmerican eyes. For instance, take Frost and Sandburg and juxtapose them with 'H. D.' Notone of these three could have sprung from any country but America, and yet where Frost andSandburg portray their special countrysides, town and open, 'H. D.' occupies herself withan ancient loveliness alive again through the eager vision of a young race to whichnothing is stale. Wherever posterity may place the group in the role of American poets,one thing it cannot deny them: the endeavour after a major utterance. They may havefailed; they dared the stars. They hitched their wagons to the tails of comets. There wasnothing the matter with their aim; success is another thing, and not for us to gauge.