The Spyglass, Views and Reviews, 1924-1930: Selected and Edited by John Tyree Fain

By Donald Davidson | Go to book overview

Josephine Pinckney, Sea-Drinking Cities Extra Review January 15, 1928

One of the chief centers of the poetic renaissance in the Southern states has been Charleston, where DuBose Heyward and others organized, shortly after the close of the World War, the Poetry Society of South Carolina, which surely surpasses all other organizations of its sort in the country in wise administration and active encouragement of poetic endeavor. One is inclined to think that there is something naturally poetical in the very air and whole environment of Charleston; it is a fair seed place for poets and writers in various fields, as witness the names of DuBose Heyward, Hervey Allen, Julia Peterkin, Beatrice Ravenel, Herbert Sass, Archibald Rutledge, all of whom have been associated either with Charleston or the Poetry Society of South Carolina.

And now comes a poet who, whether as poet in general or poet of Charleston in particular, promises to outdo her predecessors, or at least make them look very carefully to their laurels. Miss Pinckney's poems have a calm Southern repose, a luxuriance of phrase, a quiet humor controlling deep emotion-qualities which we should naturally expect to find in a Charleston, or a Southern poet, but which the unnatural self-consciousness of the times has often driven out. On the technical side Miss Pinckney is a modern; perhaps she has been guided a little too much by imagism, or whatever influence it is that makes her see things nearly always in pictorial terms, so that her poetry is at times not only in repose, but static. And there is the slight diffidence that one Ends often in the moderns, the shrinking from direct utterance, the finical carefulness. But these faults (if they be faults) are not excessive and will no doubt be absorbed as her work grows and is unified. A poet's first

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