The Chicago Anthology: A Collection of Verse from the Work of Chicago Poets

The Chicago Anthology: A Collection of Verse from the Work of Chicago Poets

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The Chicago Anthology: A Collection of Verse from the Work of Chicago Poets

The Chicago Anthology: A Collection of Verse from the Work of Chicago Poets

Read FREE!

Excerpt

A few years ago the title of the present book would have been its sufficient introduction. But recently many people have come to regard poetry as a new industry with Chicago as its most busy distributing center. Five or ten years ago, these people imagine, there was rhymed sentiment but not the poetry to make such an anthology as this possible, and now, they rejoice, we have reached the happy point where we can have a Chicago Anthology. And, they may continue, if its compilers know their business, it will surely open with the magic phrase:

“Hog-butcher of the world,
    Tool-maker, stacker of wheat…”

It is partly to mitigate the disappointment of these people and partly to warn other readers against the one-sided radicalism of this view of poetry as a “slice of life” that this introduction is written. and as I set about the task I am reminded of a most trivial anecdote which clings to memory in virtue of its jingles of words. Ben Jonson and Joshua Sylvester were engaging in a rhyming match:

“I, Sylvester,
    Kissed your sister.”

—remarked Joshua (though there is a more Elizabethan version), and Ben Jonson came back with:

“I, Ben Jonson, kissed your wife.”

“That isn’t rhyme,” said Sylvester. “No, but it’s true,” replied Ben.

Now it is undoubtedly true—we have olfactory and may obtain auditory evidence—that Chicago is the hog-butcher of the world, but whether that fact . . .

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