The Golden Year: The Poetry Society of America Anthology (1910-1960)

The Golden Year: The Poetry Society of America Anthology (1910-1960)

The Golden Year: The Poetry Society of America Anthology (1910-1960)

The Golden Year: The Poetry Society of America Anthology (1910-1960)

Excerpt

On the evening of January 21, 1960 the Poetry Society of America celebrated its 50th Anniversary, a semi-centennial that is being observed in appropriate ways throughout the year, preeminently by the publication of this Anthology.

Anniversaries are occasions for retrospect and prospect. On both fronts, the PSA has reason to be proud. The notable record of its past presages its future. For poets and lovers of poetry, the Society's Golden Year is a year of rejoicing.

The notion that a society of poets is a contradiction in terms is a mischievous half-truth. From time immemorial, poets as priests, prophets and philosophers have, like other professionals, pooled their interests to promote fellowship and to protect their wares (Burns called his "rhyming wares"). Even the late Oliver Gogarty, who took a dim view of "societies" -- he thought the ideal setup was a table of six in the back of a pub -- became and remained to the end an active member. But whether in a pub or a parlor a benevolent and protective order of poets has its uses.

The founders themselves pondered the wisdom of forming a "collective" of rugged individuals, but in 1910 more than two score of the country's leading poets and men of letters enrolled as charter members. And once the Society was a fait accompli, other literary figures, equally distinguished, joined. Today, after half a century of continuous service, with a membership drawn from every section of the country as well . . .

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