CliffsNotes on American Poets of the 20th Century

CliffsNotes on American Poets of the 20th Century

CliffsNotes on American Poets of the 20th Century

CliffsNotes on American Poets of the 20th Century

Synopsis

This literary companion carries you into the lives and poetic lines of 41 of America's most admired poets from the last century. From popular favorites such as Robert Frost and Carl Sandburg to the more esoteric T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, this handbook also introduces you to living poets, such as Rita Dove, who are still inscribing their places in literary history. The book opens with an approach to analyzing poetry, and each author-specific chapter includes sections devoted to Chief Works, Discussion and Research Topics, and a Selected Bibliography.

Excerpt

About the Poet

Noted modernist and imagist Amy Lawrence Lowell was a consummate lecturer and conversationalist, as well as a joker and friend-maker among the great literary figures of her day. She enhanced her promotion of imagism as a viable alternative to traditional forms with the composition of over 600 poems. The sheer volume of verse mars her canon by the inclusion of mediocre works among such masterpieces as “Patterns” and “The Sisters,” a defense of female artistry. Until feminist criticism defended her place among early-twentieth-century poets, she was largely neglected, in part because homophobic critics rejected her bisexual and lesbian views on human relationships.

Amy Lowell was one of the prestigious Massachusetts Lowells and was a relative of James Russell Lowell, the first editor of Atlantic Monthly. She was born on February 9, 1874, in Brookline to aristocratic parents, Katherine Bigelow Lawrence and Augustus Lowell. Lowell’s mother tutored and educated her, and she completed a basic education at private schools in Boston and Brookline. Much of her learning derived from selfdirected reading in the family’s vast library. At age 13, to aid a charity, she published a volume of juvenilia, Dream Drops, or Stories from Fairyland (1887), a token of the late-blooming artistry yet to emerge.

Lowell traveled across Europe before settling in the family manor, Sevenels, in 1903. Lowell published her first sonnet, “A Fixed Idea,” in Atlantic Monthly in 1910, followed by three more submissions and the translation of a play by Alfred de Musset, staged at a Boston theater.

Acclaimed for Keatsian verse in A Dome of Many-Colored Glass (1912), Lowell stopped mimicking other poets’ styles in 1914 and developed an independent voice, in part influenced by Ezra Pound, H. D., Robert Frost, D. H. Lawrence, and Harriet Monroe, editor of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse. Following positive reception of her experimental “polyphonic prose,” her term for free verse, in Sword Blades and Poppy Seeds (1914), she published in The Bookman, a respected New York monthly, and edited Some Imagist Poets, 1915–1917 (1917). A landmark work that sets the parameters of imagism, Some Imagist Poets names six requisites for imagism:

To employ common language that is precisely suited to the phrase To search out new rhythms to express new moods To welcome all subjects to the field of topics To quell vagueness with exact images To produce hard, clear verse free of confusion and distortion To compress thought as though distilling the essence of meaning

To employ common language that is precisely suited to the phrase

To search out new rhythms to express new moods

To search out new rhythms to express new moods

To welcome all subjects to the field of topics

To welcome all subjects to the field of topics

To quell vagueness with exact images

To quell vagueness with exact images

To produce hard, clear verse free of confusion and distortion

To produce hard, clear verse free of confusion and distortion

To compress thought as though distilling the essence of meaning . . .

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