Prize Poems, 1913-1929

Prize Poems, 1913-1929

Prize Poems, 1913-1929

Prize Poems, 1913-1929

Excerpt

A person ignorant of the circumstances might give two wrong answers to the question whether such an anthology as this adequately represented the poetry of its period. He might say, for instance, that poems which had won the most prominent prizes offered in their day must be good poems; in which case he would be right enough. But he might go on to say that these must be the best poems; in which case he might, for reasons I will give later, be very wrong indeed. On the other hand this mythical and ignorant person might say with great certainty that these were bound to be bad poems simply because they were prize poems. I know people who talk like that; they give the impression that they would as soon be shot as win a poetry contest. And I have had at various times a degree of sympathy with their point of view. But it does not apply in the present instance--also for reasons which I will give later. This happens to be a very finely representative anthology; it finely represents, that is, the good poetry produced in the United States between the year 1913, when poetry in the United States began once more to be generally good, and the year 1929, or for practical purposes today, when we continue in an excellent and in-

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