The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English

By Ian Hamilton | Go to book overview

V

VALENTINE, Jean ( 1934- ), was born in Chicago, and educated at Radcliffe College. In 1965 she won the Yale Younger Poets Award for her book Dream Barker. She has taught at several colleges and universities, and is currently on the faculty of Sarah Lawrence College.

Jean Valentine writes a deeply personal poetry that seems to withhold its secrets from us, yet in doing so opens itself to a different kind of attention. Her poems make frequent references to family, lovers, and events that remain obscure, unnarrated; but these bits of experience furnish germs for Valentine's extraordinary, incantatory spells of language. Syntax in her work often seems to dissolve into a series of nouns or namings, as though summoning the presences she desires. Like other poets who came of age in the Fifties, Valentine moved from a carefully worked, somewhat brittle style to a freer, less rational mode, in her case perhaps influenced by Mandelstam, whom she has translated. Her poems can be virtually opaque in the way they pass from image to image; at their best, however, a lucid dream logic makes itself felt in the absence of story or argument. Her work can be sampled in Home Deep Blue: New OW Selected Poems ( Cambridge, Mass., 1988). [ RG

VAN DOREN, Mark ( 1894-1972), was born in Hope, Illinois, grew up there and in Urbana, Illinois, and was educated at the University of Illinois and Columbia University. He taught at Columbia, 1920-59, where he was considered an outstanding educator.

Van Doren, who owned a farm and farmhouse in Connecticut, is best known for his poetry about the people of New England who are depicted with sympathy and understanding. usually in a rural setting which is described with sharp-eyed, loving detail. He was well aware, however, that New England culture was in a state of decline, and hence much of his poetry was elegiac in tone. He wrote in conventional prosody in carefully crafted lines and stanzas and in a style that has been described as autumnal and dry. In his foreword to Good Morning: Last Poems by Mark Van Doren ( New York, 1973), Richard *Howard placed him in the tradition of E. A. *Robinson and * Frost.

Van Doren published more than a thousand poems. Among those praised by critics are 'Most Difficult', 'Private Worship', 'Return to Ritual', 'This Amber Sunstream', and 'Young Woman at a Window'. A long verse narrative of note is The Mayfield Deer ( New York, 1941), derived from an historical account of a nineteenth-century Illinois hunter and his tame deer. Collected and New Poems 1924-1963 ( New York, 1963) is a substantial compilation of his shorter poems. The Autobiography of Mark Van Doren ( New York, 1959) supplies details of his life up to 1957. [ DES

VAN DUYN, Mona ( 1921- ), was born in Waterloo, Iowa, and earned a BA from the University of Northern Iowa in 1942, followed by an MA from the University of Iowa in 1943, the same year she married Jarvis Thurston. Since 1944 she has taught at various universities and (beginning in 1947) edited Perspective. A Quarterly of Literature with her husband.

From the start of her writing career Van Duyn has enjoyed unusual critical acceptance.

-557-

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The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Selection of Anthologies xi
  • Key to Contributors xiv
  • Alphabetical List of Contributors xvii
  • A 1
  • B 28
  • C 80
  • D 113
  • E 143
  • F 156
  • G 179
  • H 206
  • I 247
  • J 251
  • K 266
  • L 284
  • M 318
  • N 375
  • O 393
  • P 407
  • Q 436
  • R 437
  • S 468
  • T 533
  • U 555
  • V 557
  • W 562
  • Y 593
  • Z 599
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