The Spyglass, Views and Reviews, 1924-1930: Selected and Edited by John Tyree Fain

By Donald Davidson | Go to book overview

biography of Abraham Lincoln. In Good Morning, America it breaks down and the breakdown makes me doubt the validity of much of his previous poetry.

Elinor Wylie


Critic's Almanac April 28, 1929

The day before she died, it happened that Elinor Wylie was arranging for publication a book of poems. This book now appears under the title Angels and Earthly Creatures. Everywhere it reads as if she had the taste of death already on her tongue, so that one is moved to wonder whether Elinor Wylie did not, like Shelley, foresee her fate. However that may be, there is little doubt that Angels and Earthly Creatures is her best book of poetry. It is more or less free from the finical toyings with words for their own sakes that had seemed at times to threaten her poetic art with decadence. This book has a sincere force, a humanity (if still shot through with fantasy and a tentative mysticism), and an open fervor that her poetry did not always have in the past. I am forced to confess myself a false prophet, for I remember that I once remarked that Elinor Wylie, if she had lived to be a centenarian, would have made no material advance in poetry.

What transformed her art, we can only speculate. Some of the poems seem to be highly autobiographical, and suggest a new, passionate experience that gave a fresh stimulus to poetic creation. Another thing is that her style, instead of becoming more modern and experimental, is more definitely shaped into traditional modes, flavoring strongly

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