A RASH OF POETRY
THE OFT-REPEATED generalization that frontiers are hostile to poetry is amply refuted in the records of the Pacific Coast. Devoted as the Westerners were to making money as fast as possible, they at the same time displayed a surprisingly strong urge to express themselves in rhyme and an equally violent taste for reading even the worst verse in print. After the morning of April 24, 1847, when young Edward C. Kemble "Blowing up the Wind" appeared in the California Star, the "poets' corner" was accorded the place of honor on the front page of the local news-sheets. Throughout the following three decades the small rural weeklies as well as the large metropolitan dailies continued to print verses composed by aspiring amateurs, many of them grave, practical businessmen, sage financiers, fierce speculators, and plodding traders, never before suspected of poetry.
Like their fellows elsewhere, most of these amateur poets were highly imitative, echoing particularly the moods and strains of Byron, Poe, Hood, and Tom Moore. Moreover, they usually ignored the local scene, assuming that poetry should deal either with a vacuum or with some part of the world more definitely