Monday, 7 November 2011

Adelaide Crapsey-unconscious experimenter

Adelaide Crapsey
Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1914) was an American poet best known for establishing the five-line form known as the cinquain.
She had a deep appreciation for metrics and was an admirer of Japanese Tanka and Haiku. Her Cinquain was developed partly as an American analogue of these forms.

Her poetry was published posthumously in 1915 in a collection titled ,Verse, many poems of which were written in the last year of her life, and in the knowledge that she was dying of tuberculosis. Their publication in the year following her death was met with critical acclaim, particularly for the brevity, poise, and metrical sophistication of those she called Cinquains She is considered one of the first Imagist poets.

Her interest in Japanese poetry has also led some critics to link her to the Imagist movement that became popular shortly after she died and was led by the likes of Ezra Pound, H. D., and Amy Lowell. Louis Untermeyer, editor for many years of Modern American Poetry, for example, called her “an unconscious Imagist.” Although her untimely death precluded any chance for her to collaborate with these poets, Crapsey was undoubtedly influenced by some of the same factors that fomented their movement including a desire to pull back from some of the excesses of the Georgian poets. Like Crapsey’s cinquains, Imagist poetry is characterized by the precise use of imagery and economy of language.

She struggled to assemble the manuscript for Verse (which contains many poems still in draft form) as she neared death and clearly intended the collection to be, as Edward Butscher describes, “a sort of last testament and self-memorial.”4 This perception is underscored to her readers by the decision to offer the following poem at the conclusion of Verse:

Listen . . .
With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp’d, break from the trees
And fall.

I know
Not these my hands
And yet I think there was
A woman like me once had hands
Like these.
Seen on a Night in November
How frail
Above the bulk
Of crashing water hangs,
Autumnal, evanescent, wan,
The moon.
These be
three silent things:
The falling snow . . . the hour
Before the dawn . . . the mouth of one
Just dead.
Just now,
Out of the strange
Still dusk . . . as strange, as still . . .
A white moth flew . . . Why am I grown
So cold?

Milk and Honey.wmv - YouTube

Sunday, 6 November 2011

At Baia

H. D.
On September 10, 1886, Hilda Doolittle was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She attended Bryn Mawr, as a classmate of Marianne Moore and later the University of Pennsylvania where she befriended Ezra Pound and William Carlos William

She traveled to Europe in 1911, intending to spend only a summer, but remained abroad for the rest of her life.

Through Pound, H. D. grew interested in and quickly became a leader of the imagist movement some of her earliest poems gained recognition when they were published by Harriet Monroe in Poetry.

Her work is characterized by the intense strength of her images, economy of language, and use of classical mythology. Her poems did not receive widespread appreciation and acclaim during her lifetime, in part because her name was associated with the Imagist movement even as her voice had outgrown the movement's boundaries, as evidenced by her book-length works, Trilogy and Helen in Egypt.

As Alicia Ostriker said in American Poetry Review, "H.D. by the end of her career became not only the most gifted woman poet of our century, but one of the most original poets—the more I read her the more I think this—in our language."

Neglect of H. D. can also be attributed to her times, as many of her poems spoke to an audience which was unready to respond to the strong feminist principles articulated in her work. She died in 1961.
At Baia
I should have thought

in a dream you would have brought

some lovely, perilous thing,

orchids piled in a great sheath,

as who would say (in a dream),

"I send you this,

who left the blue veins

of your throat unkissed."

Why was it that your hands

(that never took mine),

your hands that I could see

drift over the orchid-heads

so carefully,

your hands, so fragile, sure to lift

so gently, the fragile flower-stuff--

ah, ah, how was it

You never sent (in a dream)

the very form, the very scent,

not heavy, not sensuous,

but perilous--perilous--

of orchids, piled in a great sheath,

and folded underneath on a bright scroll,

some word:

"Flower sent to flower;

for white hands, the lesser white,

less lovely of flower-leaf,"


"Lover to lover, no kiss,

no touch, but forever and ever this."


Helen   by H. D.
All Greece hates
the still eyes in the white face,
the lustre as of olives
where she stands,
and the white hands.

All Greece reviles
the wan face when she smiles,
hating it deeper still
when it grows wan and white,
remembering past enchantments
and past ills.

Greece sees, unmoved,
God's daughter, born of love,
the beauty of cool feet
and slenderest knees,
could love indeed the maid,
only if she were laid,
white ash amid funereal cypresses