The Complete Poems of Richard Aldington

The Complete Poems of Richard Aldington

The Complete Poems of Richard Aldington

The Complete Poems of Richard Aldington

Excerpt

More than thirty-five years have passed since the first three poems in this book were published in Chicago by Miss Harriet Monroe in her magazine Poetry. If anyone is curious to know why the poems of a nineteen-year-old English boy first appeared in Chicago, I can speedily enlighten him. In 1912 no English periodical would publish such writing, and I happened to know Mr Ezra Pound, who was busy inspiring Miss Monroe and founding one of his biannual poetical 'movements'. The numbers of Poetry afforded the columnists of those days a deal of mirth of a good-natured kind, and intentionally or unintentionally they informed the outer world of the existence of what was then called 'the new poetry'. I was annoyed with those columnists at the time, but I see now that they were useful allies.

The beginning of the 'new poetry' or of 'modernist poetry' or whatever you choose to call it is generally placed in that year, 1912. Let me say at once and firmly that I claim no share whatever in the so-called 'revolution of 1912'. It was a mere accident that what I was writing then chanced to meet with the approval of the verse revolutionaries, just as the publication of the poems in America was an accident. I am not ambitious to be known as the introducer or part introducer of some novelty in writing. There are two sorts of originality, the conscious and the unconscious. The former consists in doing for the first time something nobody else has thought of, which anybody can imitate. The latter consists in doing something which nobody else can do, and that is inimitable.

Commentators on verse are usually more interested in discussing what they call 'tendencies' and elaborating their own theories than in studying the work of the individual poet. Moreover, anthologists have the very bad habit of choosing from former anthologies (there are exceptions) instead of . . .

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