Vachel Lindsay; a Poet in America

Vachel Lindsay; a Poet in America

Vachel Lindsay; a Poet in America

Vachel Lindsay; a Poet in America

Excerpt

When the friends and admirers of Vachel Lindsay first suggested that I was the one to write his biography and appraise his work, I was reluctant to undertake the task, both because I had other work on hand, and of an absorbing kind, and because I did not at once perceive that anything more than a factual chronicle could be made of his life. His poems, accessible to every one, seemed his own revelation, and an all-sufficient record of what he had lived and felt. However, when Mrs. Vachel Lindsay asked me to write the life of her husband, and when her letters on the subject disclosed such a wealth of material bearing upon the art of poetry, and upon the period of American life in which Vachel Lindsay lived and wrought, the subject took on an aspect so appealing that I felt that I could not decline the responsibility, the duty as it came to look, of writing this biographical study. Moreover, at some time I should have been impelled to write something about the poet who was native to Illinois, as I am in reality, and who knew the same people and the same culture that I do, and who practised the art of poetry, as I have, in the same part of America, and under the same social and political conditions. The Illinois country which he knew I also know, and have known all my life, including his own town of Springfield; and the New Salem and Petersburg neighborhood is mine by nativity, and was his by a life-long devotion to Lincoln. Therefore I understood, perhaps, better than any one, the character of his environment, the quality of the people among whom he lived. I knew the man himself, and saw him frequently from the beginning of his fame in about 1914 to 1926. Our relationship was fostered and then strengthened . . .

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