Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A New American Poet

A SHORT time ago I found on a London bookstall an odd
number of The Poetry Review, with examples of and
comments on "Modern American Poets," — examples which
whetted my curiosity. But the few quotations given appeared to
me literary bric-à-brac, the fruit of light liaisons between
American dilettantism and European models. Such poetry,
aesthetic or sentimental, — reflections of vagrant influences,
lyrical embroideries in the latest designs, with little imaginative
insight into life or nature, — abounds in every generation. If
sufficiently bizarre its pretensions are cried up in small
Bohemian coteries; if sufficiently orthodox in tone and form, it
may impress itself on that public which reads poetry as it looks
idly at pictures, with sentimental appetite or from a vague
respect for "culture." Next I turned to some American
magazines at hand, and was brought to a pause by discovering
some interesting verse by modern American poets, especially
by women whose sincerity in the expression of the inner life of
love compared well with the ambitious flights of some of the
rivals. I learned indeed from a magazine article that the "New
Poetry" was in process of being hatched out by the younger
school; and, no doubt, further researches would have yielded a
harvest, had not a literary friend chanced to place in my hands
a slim green volume, North of Boston, by Robert Frost. I read
it, and reread it. It seemed to me that this poet was destined to
take a permanent place in American literature. I asked myself
why this book was issued by an English and not by an
American publisher. And to this question I have found no
answer. I may add here, in parenthesis, that I know nothing of
Mr. Robert Frost save the three or four particulars I gleaned
from the English friend who sent me North of Boston.

Edward Garnett
THE Atlantic, August, 1915.


Blogger harry k stammer said...

oh, it's just
"Bohemian coteries;"

11:59 AM  

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