Sunday, December 2, 2012

Poetry November 1912

I hope all my readers (so far I haven't gotten a pageview) will forgive a short backtrack to pick up some things from November 1912's PoetryThis was the second issue--the editorial board has created an "Open Door" policy, and H. M. vigorously defends the cause of printing "minor poets" (62)  How far they've come. 

I won't spend too long on this issue because I have so many other things to review and feel like going too far back into November is against the spirit of the project (in my imagination, 1912 Tyler Babbie would be poring over the December issue).  But I've been thinking about Richard Aldington, and might as well blog about him. 

Aldington's Poetry debut is the opening shot of Imagism.  While there are many competing narratives about the beginnings of Imagism, I like Cyrena Pondrom's revisionary "H.D. and the Origins of Imagism," originally published in this issue of Sagetrieb.  I'd like to shout-out to my friends at the National Poetry Foundation for their awesome journals (which I used to work on).  Pondrom's thesis is (as I recall, I don't have it in front of me right now) that Pound was caught aback by the strength of H.D.'s imagist poems, making him the lead theorist rather than the lead practitioner of Imagism.  She compares Aldington unfavorably to H.D. as well.  As an H.D. enthusiast, I mostly agree.  But "To a Greek Marble" has direct address, and "Aux Viex Jardin" gets most of its power through multiple juxtapositions.  They aren't as intense H.D.'s poems, that I'll agree with, but they might be trying to do something different.  That studied elegance I mentioned last post.  I'll be thinking about this.

Had to do some Wikipeding to understand Harriet Monroe's "Nogi" (50).  Creepy.

Last thought: the poetry of Charles Hanson Towne seems pretty indicative of another major trend in poetry that is now mostly forgotten: "cosmic" romantic poetry, sort of starfaring mystical anthrosophic speculations that are charmingly fervant.  I noticed a tendancy to the cosmic in some minor Italian Futurist poets--it seems that in English, or at least in the case of Imagism, the avant garde defined themselves against the cosmic (by being austere), but that might not be the case everywhere.  Will be thinking about this.

1 comment:

  1. Great great great great stuff. I am really looking forward to this journey. I'll say something more particular, sometime, but for now the mindspace between "austere elegance" and "cosmic romanticism" is a lovely space to be in, and I'm grateful.