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This is a terrible little play, tense from start to finish. We come out of it as from a dark tangle of evil foliage, yet there remains to us, after the actual images have faded away, a haunting sense of beauty and fascination. A. F.
Mr. Samuel McChord Crothers, in the October Atlantic, is much concerned over The Gregariousness of the Minor Poets. Not being a poet himself, he knows all about it, and dispenses the following pearls of wisdom: He [The Poet] flourishes in what Milton describes as “a pleasing solitariness.” A poet does not need other poets to bear him company . . . . . He sets his face toward the wilderness which he loves, and is content with the inspiration which may come. There is nothing more delightful than the discovery of a new poet. . . . . . We are eager to hear a fresh, unspoiled voice, and to be cheered by a variation on familiar themes. . . . . . He comes with the dew of the morning upon him. It is a sad day for the new poet when he hears the call of his kind. . . . . . The coöperative effort seems to do little for the production of the kind of poetry which the world does “not willingly let die.” Etcetera. Mr. Crothers, as usual, dispenses with amiable garrulity the familiar platitudes of the stand-patter. We advise him to clip the wings of theory and come down to facts. Did Sophocles “set his face toward the wilderness he loved”? Did Shakespeare? did Molière? Goethe2 Coleridge? Keats? Was their art a product of the wilderness—
a miracle of isolation; or was it in each case merely the Our Contemporaries
highest tree in a forest—a climactic product of “cooperative effort,” of the group spirit, its sympathies and rivalries? Did Dante “love the wilderness”—the spiritual isolation—to which his contemporaries condemned him? did Heine? Burns? Blake? Is there any proof, or indeed any probability, that the art of these great men was improved by such isolation?—an isolation which was indeed, in each case, far from complete, as each one had his few sympathetic admirers. And those Hebrew prophets whom Mr. Crothers knows all about—they may have gone into the wilderness, but did they stay there? They came back hot-footed to shout to the crowd and quarrel with the prophets of Baal.
PoETRY, like all other periodicals and individuals who cherish the right, guaranteed by the Constitution, of free speech and a free press, would enter its emphatic protest against the attempt of the self-styled “Society for the Suppression of Vice” to suppress Theodore Dreiser's novel, The Genius, one of the most powerful—nay, formidable—efforts of modern art to interpret modern American life.
Also, PoETRY would protest with equal emphasis against influences more insidious and less out-spoken which seem to be working for the extinction of The Masses, perhaps the most stimulating of all the periodicals which stand for radical thinking in politics, sociology and art.
A clear path out of all their difficulties to these seekers for truth and beauty, who, unlike some of their opponents, never lack either sincerity or courage.
Basket-ball failed as a drawing-card at Brown University when Alfred Noyes was lecturing there on poetry one afternoon. The time of the two events coincided, and when the manager of the game ran his eyes over the vacant seats he called off the event and went to join the crowd that was listening to Noyes.
This is as it should be. We may have questioned the propriety of giving Mr. Noyes a Princeton professorship, but as a reader of ballads, from Chevy Chase to Kipling, he may be just the man to initiate the sportive undergraduate mind.
Under the auspices of this magazine the Chicago Little Theater will give this winter a series of lectures by poets. Twelve Talks by Poets on Poetry is the general title of the series, which it is to be hoped will stimulate interest in the art through personalities which cannot be exactly conveyed by the written word. Each poet will, in addition to reading from his or her own poems, speak of his method of work and his theories of the art.
In the first lecture, on November 19th, Miss Harriet Monroe presented the historical background of the new movement, besides reading from her own poems. In the second, on November 26th, Vachel Lindsay personally explained and illustrated his Poem Games. Padraic Colum, the Irish poet, will speak on December 3rd, and Witter Bynner on December 10th. Among the other speakers will
be Amy Lowell, Carl Sandburg, Arthur Davison Ficke, Eunice Tietjens, Mary Aldis, Florence Kiper Frank, and later in the season Wilfrid Wilson Gibson, the English poet. The lectures are held at the Little Theater in the Fine Arts Building, on Sunday afternoons at half after four.
Mr. John Gould Fletcher, of Arkansas, now resident in London, was recently awarded one of PoETRY's prizes for his Arizona Poems. Mr. Fletcher's latest book is Goblins and Pagodas, and he is represented in Some Imagist Poets (both Houghton-Mifflin Co.). It will be noted that he has not abandoned the use of rhyme. Miss Edith Wyatt, of Chicago, has contributed verse to PoETRY, of whose Advisory Committee she is a member, and to other magazines; and she is the author of novels and other works. Mrs. Eunice Tietjens, since her recent return from China, has also been on the staff of the magazine. Mr. Joseph Warren Beach, formerly in the faculty of the University of Minnesota and now resident in California, has appeared once or twice before in PoETRY. Also Mr. Howard Mumford Jones, who left Chicago this year to accept an instructorship in the University of Texas. And the Rev. Charles L. O'Donnell is in the faculty of the University of Notre Dame, Ind. Miss Winifred Webb, of Pasadena, has appeared in PoETRY and other magazines. Of the four poets new to our readers: Mrs. Martha Foote Crowe, of New York, has published one or two books of verse and appeared in various periodicals. Marjorie Allen Seiffert (Mrs. Otto S.), of Moline, Ill., is known as a composer of songs, but has not yet published a book of verse. Mr. Isaac Rosenberg, formerly a student of the Slade School of Art in London, is now a member of the British army in France. Mr. T. D. O'Bolger, a native of Kilkenny, Ireland, came to this country at twenty-one, and for the past twelve years has been in the English department of the University of Pennsylvania.
ORIGINAL VERSE : Californians, by Robinson Jeffers. Macmillan Co. Rhythmic Waves, by J. C. Churt. Elkin Mathews, London. Men, Women and Ghosts, by Amy Lowell. Macmillan Co. Completion of Coleridge's Christabel, by Edna Wahlert. Cochrane Pub. Co., New York. A crostic Sonnets and Other Poems, by J. E. O'Connor. Privately printed. The Witch of Endor, by Robert Norwood. George H. Doran Co. My Soldier Boy, by Mrs. John Archibald Morison. Gorham Press. From Dawn to Eve, by Julia Wickham Greenwood. Gorham Press. Smoky Roses, by Lyman Bryson. G. P. Putnam's Sons. Salt-water Poems and Ballads, by John Masefield. Macmillan Co. Green Branches, by James Stephens. Macmillan Co. Loves and Losses of Pierrot, by William Griffith. Robert J. Shores, New York. Friendship and Other Poems, by B. H. Nadal. Robert J. Shores. A mores, by D. H. Lawrence. B. W. Huebsch, New York. The Testament of William Windune and Other Poems, by J. H. Wallis, Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, Conn., and Oxford Univ. Press, London. Swords for Life, by Irene Rutherford McLeod. B. W. Huebsch, New York. Jordan Farms, by Frederick E. Pierce. Yale Univ. Press. The Story of Eleusis, by Louis V. Ledoux. Macmillan Co. The Song of the Plow, by Maurice Hewlett. Macmillan Co. The Complete Poetical Works of John Hay. Houghton-Mifflin Co. Sonnets of My Life, by Nita Pierson. Philopolis Press, San FranCISCO. The Lamp of Poor Souls, by Marjorie L. C. Pickthall. John Lane Co
Mountain Interval, by Robert Frost. Henry Holt & Co.